“Unlike his ‘normal’ sports-loving brother, Alex has always loved monsters and scary stories. His favorite movie? Night of the Living Dead. His favorite hobby? Writing spooky stories. When things at school push him to make a change—to act more ‘normal’—things take a turn toward the unexpected. Because apartment 4E is not what it seems. Alex finds himself in the middle of a story, and a spooky one at that. Can he escape with the help of some new friends, or will he run out of stories first? Dark magic, fairy tales, and witches swirl together in a spellbinding new mystery from J.A. White.”
— Clarissa Murphy, Papercuts J.P., Boston, MA
A boy is imprisoned by a witch and must tell her a new scary story each night to stay alive. This thrilling contemporary fantasy from J. A. White, the acclaimed author of the Thickety series, brings to life the magic and craft of storytelling. This middle grade novel is an excellent choice for tween readers in grades 5 to 6, especially during homeschooling. It’s a fun way to keep your child entertained and engaged while not in the classroom.
Alex’s original hair-raising tales are the only thing keeping the witch Natacha happy, but soon he’ll run out of pages to read from and be trapped forever. He’s loved scary stories his whole life, and he knows most don’t have a happily ever after. Now that Alex is trapped in a true terrifying tale, he’s desperate for a different ending—and a way out of this twisted place.
This modern spin on the Scheherazade story is perfect for fans of Coraline and A Tale Dark and Grimm. With interwoven tips on writing with suspense, adding in plot twists, hooks, interior logic, and dealing with writer’s block, this is the ideal book for budding writers and all readers of delightfully just-dark-enough tales.
* Summer 2018 Kids' Indie Next List * YALSA Best Fiction for Young Adults Nomination * 2019-2020 Florida Sunshine State Young Readers Award * 2020 Rhode Island Children's Book Award Nominee * Bank Street Best Children's Book of the Year 2019 (9-12) * 2020-2021 Missouri Association of School Librarians Truman Readers Award Preliminary Nominee * Texas Bluebonnet Award List 2020-2021 *
About the Author
J. A. White is the author of The Thickety: A Path Begins. He lives in New Jersey with his wife, three sons, and a hamster named Ophelia that doesn't like him very much. When he's not making up stories, he teaches a bunch of kids how to make up stories (along with math and science and other important stuff). He wishes dragons were real because it would be a much cooler way to get to work.
“A story that is as spine-tingling as it is well written. In these Grimm-infused pages, Mr. White combines folklore, freakiness and fortitude to celebrate the art and enthrallment of storytelling.” — Wall Street Journal
“A spine-tingling dark fantasy about the power of facing down fears and choosing your own fate. White has crafted a chilling fractured fairy tale. Fans of gloomy fare such as Lemony Snicket, Adam Gidwitz, or Neil Gaiman will find an equally twisting and terrifying tale here.” — School Library Journal (starred review)
“In this clever synthesis of One Thousand and One Nights and ‘Hansel and Gretel,’ a boy captured by a witch must tell a different spooky story every night. The blend of folk and fairy tale elements works extremely well. Despite the dark premise, the narrative never crosses the line into horror, making it a safe bet for younger readers.” — Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“White presents an engrossing and creepy tale that explores the storytelling craft, and addresses perceptions of normalcy. Interwoven tales will thrill middle-grade horror fans. A thrilling tale of magic that is just scary enough.” — Kirkus Reviews
“Nightbooks is another winner from J.A. White. A creepy, thrilling reinvention of Hansel and Gretel that leaves us both frightened for our hero and also impressed by his resourcefulness. J.A. White is a fantastic writer and spins a dark fairy tale that will keep kids up all night.” — Soman Chainani, author of The School for Good and Evil
“Fast-paced, deliciously creepy, and a loving tribute to the power of storytelling, NIGHTBOOKS is sure to delight fans of fairy tales, nail-biting adventures, and things that go bump in the night.” — Claire Legrand, author of The Cavendish Home for Boys and Girls
“The rewards are huge: a thrilling plot, with strong messages of self-acceptance, being who you are, being a good friend, and problem-solving--as well as quite a few short, creepy stories and much discussion of the writer’s craft and how to make storytelling work for you.” — Common Sense Media
“Alex must tell a scary story each night, and these stories provide an extra layer of fun and thrills, while never [becoming] too intense. Nightbooks is sure to please almost any reader, and it might even give them tips on how to craft their own stories along the way.” — BookPage
Praise for THE THICKETY #4: The Last Spell “White’s fanciful world building is as rich as ever...series fans will surely be satisfied by this empowering final installment.” — Booklist
“This long-anticipated finale to the Thickety fantasy series will provide readers with as much excitement, monsters, evil characters, and constant change as they need to stay glued to the page. Magic, suspense, and close calls-what could be better?” — Kirkus Reviews
Praise for THE THICKETY #3: WELL OF WITCHES: “For fans, this is a sharp, moving, intense dive into a lushly described world that seems to be headed for a good versus evil showdown in a future volume.” — Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books
Praise for THE THICKETY #2: THE WHISPERING TREES: “With a plot that coils like a tangle of brambles and an ending no less twisty than that of its predecessor, this sequel will keep readers invested in Kara and Taff’s adventures in this dangerous and imaginative world.” — Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“The twisted plot is perfectly matched by the twisted atmosphere. . . . Spine-tingling.” — Booklist (starred review)
“An exceptionally well-written and compelling sequel.” — Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books (starred review)
“This title has all the ingredients—a doughty heroine and her admirable younger brother, an unreliable guide who can’t stay the same age for long, and a heavy “ick” factor-to keep readers glued to it. The unexpected climax and ending guarantee another book to enjoy.” — Kirkus Reviews
“This title will appeal to fans of the first volume in the series, as well as to those who enjoy their fantasy a little on the scary side. This is a good series to suggest to fans of Joseph Delaney’s Last Apprentice series.” — Voice of Youth Advocates (VOYA)
“The nail-biting suspense will keep readers turning the pages late into the night, and in Kara, readers will find a protagonist to root for. Readers who enjoyed the spine-chilling first installment will be eager to get their hands on this sequel.” — School Library Journal
Praise for THE THICKETY: A PATH BEGINS: “The spellbinding story, lashings of suspense and stalwart heroine will draw in fantasy fans and keep them reading until the bitter ending.” — Kirkus Reviews
“White’s debut novel is darkly bewitching. The well-crafted characters operate beautifully within the fantastical world he has created. Readers will devour each twist and turn of the plot, right up to the startling conclusion.” — School Library Journal
“A startling plot twist at the end will have readers urgently waiting for a sequel, and it may lead them right back into the book to see if they missed earlier clues.” — Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books