Teen-Focused Tuesday: Folklore

Happy Tuesday! If you love young adult (YA) books, you have come to the right post! Every Tuesday I feature a new YA theme that features five books that you should check out! Explore different YA genres including Romance, Fantasy, Science Fiction, Mystery, Thriller, Horror, Non-Fiction, and more.

This week’s Teen Focused Feature Theme is Folklore! In celebration of the wondrous album released by Taylor Swift, pick up a book that pairs well with the songs or pick up a book featuring classic folktales if T. Swift is just not your jam.

The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert

Summary: Seventeen-year-old Alice and her mother have spent most of Alice’s life on the road, always a step ahead of the uncanny bad luck biting at their heels. But when Alice’s grandmother, the reclusive author of a cult-classic book of pitch-dark fairy tales, dies alone on her estate, the Hazel Wood, Alice learns how bad her luck can really get: her mother is stolen away-by a figure who claims to come from the Hinterland, the cruel supernatural world where her grandmother’s stories are set. Alice’s only lead is the message her mother left behind: “Stay away from the Hazel Wood.”

Alice has long steered clear of her grandmother’s cultish fans. But now she has no choice but to ally with classmate Ellery Finch, a Hinterland superfan who may have his own reasons for wanting to help her. To retrieve her mother, Alice must venture first to the Hazel Wood, then into the world where her grandmother’s tales began―and where she might find out how her own story went so wrong.

My Thoughts: Talk about a twisted tale. Most would love for the stories we read to come to life, but what if those stories are not so nice? Enjoy The Hazel Woods creepy setting and check out its’ recently released sequel, The Night Country for more creepy tales come to life.

Ghost Wood Song by Erica Waters

Summary: Shady Grove inherited her father’s ability to call ghosts from the grave with his fiddle, but she also knows the fiddle’s tunes bring nothing but trouble and darkness.

But when her brother is accused of murder, she can’t let the dead keep their secrets.

In order to clear his name, she’s going to have to make those ghosts sing.

My Thoughts: A Magical fiddle, talking to ghost, LGBTQ love triangle, and a murder mystery story all wrapped into one book. Enough said! Even any of those points interest you, pick up this book today!

A Curse So Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer

Summary: Cursed by a powerful enchantress to repeat the autumn of his eighteenth year, Prince Rhen, the heir of Emberfall, thought he could be saved easily if a girl fell for him. But that was before he turned into a vicious beast hell-bent on destruction. Before he destroyed his castle, his family, and every last shred of hope.

Nothing has ever been easy for Harper. With her father long gone, her mother dying, and her brother constantly underestimating her because of her cerebral palsy, Harper learned to be tough enough to survive. When she tries to save a stranger on the streets of Washington, DC, she’s pulled into a magical world.

Break the curse, save the kingdom.

Harper doesn’t know where she is or what to believe. A prince? A curse? A monster? As she spends time with Rhen in this enchanted land, she begins to understand what’s at stake. And as Rhen realizes Harper is not just another girl to charm, his hope comes flooding back. But powerful forces are standing against Emberfall . . . and it will take more than a broken curse to save Harper, Rhen, and his people from utter ruin.

My Thoughts: This is more than just a twist of Beauty and the Beast, this is the tale of a disabled character who is not magical healed when traveling to a magical land. This is tale shows that characters who are disabled are not weak, do not need to be cured, and can still defeat anything including an evil curse. Wonderful representation as well as a twist on my favorite fairy tale. If you have already read this tale, don’t forget to check out the sequel, A Heart So Fierce and Broken.

Seven Deadly Shadows by Courtney Alameda & Valynne E. Maetani

Summary: Kira Fujikawa has always been a girl on the fringe. Bullied by her peers and ignored by her parents, the only place Kira’s ever felt at home is at her grandfather’s Shinto shrine, where she trains to be a priestess.

But Kira’s life is shattered on the night her family’s shrine is attacked by a vicious band of yokai demons. With the help of Shiro—the shrine’s gorgeous half-fox, half-boy kitsune—Kira discovers that her shrine harbors an ancient artifact of great power . . . one the yokai and their demon lord, Shuten-doji, will use to bring down an everlasting darkness upon the world.

Unable to face the Shuten-doji and his minions on her own, Kira enlists the aid of seven ruthless shinigami—or death gods—to help stop the brutal destruction of humankind. But some of the death gods aren’t everything they initially seemed, nor as loyal to Kira’s cause as they first appeared.

With war drawing nearer by the day, Kira realizes that if this unlikely band of heroes is going to survive, they’re going to have to learn to work together, confront their demons, and rise as one to face an army of unimaginable evil.

My Thoughts: Fans of anime and eastern culture will love this tale that focuses on Japanese folklore. Learn more about Yokai, Shinigami, and other aspects of Japanese folklore in this fun novel.

Piper by Jay Asher & Jessica Freeburg

Summary: Long ago, in a small village in the middle of a deep, dark forest, there lived a lonely, deaf girl named Maggie. Shunned by her village because of her disability, her only comfort comes from her vivid imagination. Maggie has a gift for inventing stories and dreams of one day finding her fairy-tale love.

When Maggie meets the mysterious Piper, it seems that all her wishes are coming true. Spellbound, Maggie falls hard for him and plunges headfirst into his magical world. But as she grows closer to the Piper, Maggie discovers that he has a dark side.

The boy of Maggie’s dreams might just turn out to be her worst nightmare.

My Thoughts: This is a graphic novel, so if you are not a big reader, but still want to enjoy some folklore this is the book for you. It has lovely artwork and a twist on the classic tale of the Pied Piper.

Let me know in the comments below which books interested you, what books should be on this list, and what themes I should do next!

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