Tag: Supernatural Fiction

Bridge of Souls (Cassidy Blake #3) by Victoria Schwab

It’s no secret that Ms. Schwab is one of my absolute favorite authors. One thing that I’m super jealous about is her ability to pivot her mindset to better address her audience. It’s practically a superpower.

Bridge of Souls is the third book in the Cassidy Blake series about young Cassidy Blake, her ghostly best friend Jacob, and the scary situations the two of them get into as a result of Cass’ parents being on-air ghost investigators.

This particular tome takes us to the famously haunted city of New Orleans, and starts to address a bit of the insanity that happened to Cassidy in Paris at the end of Tunnel of Bones.

I really really want to delve into the story elements of this book, but it gets very spoilery very fast, and that’s just unfair to anyone totally engrossed in this series. This series is aimed towards eight to twelve year-olds, so I was super surprised that Ms. Schwab chose to tackle the LaLurie Mansion (look it up, it’s a total shocker), but did so very deftly.

Again, not getting too spoilery, the second half of this quick read gets very emotional very quickly. I would say that I was surprised that “kid lit” almost brought me to tears, but I’m very familiar with Ms. Schwab’s body of work, and her masterful skill at building up emotion. It’s masterful.

At the end of the day, one of the best things about Bridge of Souls as well as all of the Cassidy Blake books is that this is reading material you can definitely read along with your kids. I find it incredibly smart and engaging for all ages, and there is never any point in which the plot or situations are dumbed down — a trend I despise — to avoid “hard questions.” Hell, this entire series is basically about death and dying.

Read this book, and read the entire series. They go rather quickly, but are an absolute delight. Ms. Schwab has said that this may be the last in the series for a while, and I can understand that with her busy docket of current work, but I really hope that she revisits these characters some day. They are absolutely delightful.

The Dead and the Dark by Courtney Gould

** This book was provided to me by NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review **

There are books that I read that absolutely hit all of the right buttons for me. The Dead and the Dark is definitely that kind of book.

Logan Ortiz-Woodley is a recent high school graduate living with her dads; waiting patiently to turn eighteen so she can set out into the world to discover herself and where she belongs. At the start of the story, Logan, along with her dad Alejo Ortiz are packing up for a short-term move to Snakebite, Oregon — where her dads grew up — to meet up with Logan’s other dad, Brandon Woodley. Adding a little twist to the mix, Alejo and Brandon are TV’s ParaSpectors, ghost hunters with a pretty opinionated following.

Things in Snakebite are weird. While Alejo and Brandon grew up there, and eventually left (under semi-weird circumstances that is poked at through the entire novel), not much else has changed over the years. Of note, though, is a malevolent shadowy evil called the Dark that seems to be involved in the disappearance of at least one local teen. There is definitely something going on in Snakebite that involves the history of Alejo and Brandon, and Logan is going to get to the bottom of it.

Supernatural YA mysteries are my absolute bread and butter, and The Dead and The Dark does not disappoint. Yes, there are a couple of plot points that are a touch clichéd, but, for me, that is what locks it right into the genre. You have to have these signposts in order to say “Welcome to this familiar ride. Just wait until you reach the twists.” And boy howdy, there are some twists.

Ms. Gould really nailed this one in regards to little town attitude, teen angst and a whole lot of institutional hate and mistrust. Most of the way through the book I found myself questioning why the Ortiz-Woodleys would ever put up with what they are going through, and why they wouldn’t, rather, just find another location to scout. It is painfully obvious that Snakebite is not a place anyone should be. It seems to be an absolutely awful place, but it sure makes for some compelling reading.

Bottom line: if you like spooky queer YA, then do not sleep on this one. The Dead and the Dark is Ms. Gould’s debut, and I could not be more excited about what she puts out next.