For years, scientists have asked the question: can a gothic novel where the protagonist dies on the first page still manage to be funny, lively, and affecting? O Caledonia is here to say — the answer is yes.Recommended by Nicole S
Hawk Mountain is a queer horror story as tender as a caress to the cheek before the snapping of a neck. It begins when two classmates, Todd and Jack, victim and bully, meet again after fifteen years. Todd, now a single father, is less than thrilled about this reunion — especially as "can we catch up" turns into "can I stay the week" and Jack begins to worm his way into Todd and his son's life. What happens next is as unexpected as it is... (read more)Recommended by Nicole S
Maurice is groundbreaking for its earnest and heartfelt depiction of a gay man who gets a happy ending — something that was essentially forbidden and almost unheard of in its time. Written 100 years ago (but only published after his death in 1971), Forster dedicated this book to a happier year: it's a touching glimpse at how far we've come and how far we still need to go. Recommended by Nicole S
This Thing Between Us is a horror novel with a bleeding heart. Simultaneously eerie and affecting, it warns how grief can corrupt and let evil into our lives, despite our best intentions. I was struck by how timely and urgent this book was, too: Moreno manages to blend his supernatural scares with the horrors of our contemporary lives. The result becomes something unsettling and deeply honest.Recommended by Nicole S
This is a strange book. Luckily for me, I love strange books and was absolutely captivated with this one from the start. It opens as our eponymous protagonist, a 17-year-old gangster, is killed. Mysteriously, he comes back after only a few minutes of being dead, and that's where the real story begins: he tries to find out who his killer is and find a space for himself in the ever-changing world. Zebulon is an incredibly fun character to get to... (read more)Recommended by Nicole S
Disorienting and disquieting, Fever Dream reads exactly like how its title suggests. Amanda is dying in a hospital bed, accompanied only by a small boy who is not her son. Together, they try to figure out what exactly happened to bring them to this moment. Told almost entirely through dialogue, this incredibly well-crafted little novel slowly unravels its mysteries until the moment when you least expect it and the fever breaks, and... (read more)Recommended by Nicole S
A haunted house, a doctor trapped by the shame of his past, a determined and headstrong heroine, gothic romance, all sprinkled with blood, gore and fantasy elements — literally what is there not to love? This book had everything I could have possibly wanted — and I can't wait to dive into the rest of Caitlin Starling's books now, too.Recommended by Nicole S.
Mexican Gothic is such a relief: it breathes fresh air into an old genre with a vibrancy and lushness of atmosphere that is so easy to get lost in. I fell in love with the courageous, fiery protagonist Noemí and found myself glued to every page, desperate to see her succeed. Moreno-Garcia does such a fantastic job weaving the Gothic tropes we all know and love into something timely, jarring, and downright chilling.Recommended by Nicole S.
Nick Cutter has a gift — and that gift is the ability to write a book so brutal and spine-chilling that it left me breathless and weak in the knees. Five boy scouts and their scoutmaster leave for their annual trip to a remote island when an impossibly thin (and impossibly hungry) stranger unexpectedly enters their midst. And that's the least of their problems. What happens from there is the breakdown of absolutely everything as they know it.... (read more)Recommended by Nicole S
If you like Terry Pratchett, you are going to adore Patrick Weekes. The Palace Job is an epic heist novel that starts off when a woman by the name of Isafesira de Lochenville, nicknamed Loch, is falsely accused of a crime and sentenced to a lifetime in prison. This, along with her precious family heirloom being stolen by her accuser, motivates her to escape the prison and take back what's hers to clear her name. But no one can go on such... (read more)Recommended by Nicole S.