Monday's Muse, 40th edition.

Current Theme Song (aka what's playing on my ipod right now): Hollow by Submersed.

The idea of Monday's Muse is to introduce you to unknown, forgotten, or overlooked fiction that has been lost from regular radar. I am WriterGirl. I am in the business of saving lives, one book at a time.

What I do is go to amazon, narrow it down to a YA field and type in a random word, any word that comes to mind. I then take a sampling of some I have never heard of before, or only vaguely heard of (and hopefully you as well). No infringement is intended for any description I take for the books. It's purely for promotional reasons. I will try and cover as many genres as possible that are fitting for the random word. Simple but it really uncovers some incredible gems. I will be doing this every other Monday. If there are any words you want to prompt me with, go ahead and fire away.

Today's random word:

Scary Mary by S.A. Hunter.

Mary just wants to be left alone, but the cheerleaders, jocks, guidance counselors, and ghosts won't stop harrassing her. When a new boy starts school, he surprises Mary by befriending her. That's a rare thing for the school freak, but her unusual abilities put a rift in their budding friendship when Mary has to tell Cy that his home is haunted and not by Casper, the friendly ghost.

Roald Dahl's Book of Ghost Stories by Roald Dahl.

Who better to investigate the literary spirit world than that supreme connoisseur of the unexpected, Roald Dahl? Of the many permutations of the macabre or bizarre, Dahl was always especially fascinated by the classic ghost story. As he realtes in the erudite introduction to this volume, he read some 749 supernatural tales at the British Museum Library before selecting the 14 that comprise this anthology. "Spookiness is, after all, the real purpose of the ghost story," Dahl writes. "It should give you the creeps and disturb your thoughts." For this superbly disquieting collection, Dahl offers favorite tales by such masterful storytellers as E. F. Benson, J. Sheridan Le Fanu, Rosemary Timperley, and Edith Wharton.

Ashes by Ilsa J. Bick.

It could happen tomorrow . . .

An electromagnetic pulse flashes across the sky, destroying every electronic device, wiping out every computerized system, and killing billions.
Alex hiked into the woods to say good-bye to her dead parents and her personal demons. Now desperate to find out what happened after the pulse crushes her to the ground, Alex meets up with Tom—a young soldier—and Ellie, a girl whose grandfather was killed by the EMP.

For this improvised family and the others who are spared, it’s now a question of who can be trusted and who is no longer human.

Author Ilsa J. Bick crafts a terrifying and thrilling novel about a world that could be ours at any moment, where those left standing must learn what it means not just to survive, but to live amidst the devastation.

A Scary Scene in a Scary Movie by Matt Blackstone.

Fourteen-year-old Rene is a high school freshman living in a scary movie. He smells his left hand when nervous, cannot pick up a face-down coin, and will not move if the time adds up to thirteen. If he does, something terrible will happen to him or someone close to him. Rene tells his mom he is in between each of the groups at school, trying to find where he fits; but Rene does not fit with the Devilblackcoats, the Cutters, the Bigbulletholes, the Smartypants, or the Angels. He does not fit with anyone until he meets Giovanni. Giovanni tries to help Rene become cool, but they both end up in a jam when they run off to New York City after Rene's estranged father returns unexpectedly. The book is written in Rene's voice. Blackstone shows real insight into the thoughts of a teen with obsessive-compulsive disorder. Through his friendship with Gio and with the help and understanding of his mother, Rene eventually gains some control over his thoughts and actions, enough to be able to walk and talk and sleep in his own skin comfortably. Many teens will recognize someone they know in Rene and gain some understanding of the kid who does not fit in.--Deborah L. Dubois, VOYA.

The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan.

In Mary's world there are simple truths. The Sisterhood always knows best. The Guardians will protect and serve. The Unconsecrated will never relent. And you must always mind the fence that surrounds the village; the fence that protects the village from the Forest of Hands and Teeth. But, slowly, Mary’s truths are failing her. She’s learning things she never wanted to know about the Sisterhood and its secrets, and the Guardians and their power, and about the Unconsecrated and their relentlessness. When the fence is breached and her world is thrown into chaos, she must choose between her village and her future—between the one she loves and the one who loves her. And she must face the truth about the Forest of Hands and Teeth. Could there be life outside a world surrounded in so much death?

We Have Always Lived in the Castle
by Shirley Jackson.

Taking readers deep into a labyrinth of dark neurosis, We Have Always Lived in the Castle is a deliciously unsettling novel about a perverse, isolated, and possibly murderous family and the struggle that ensues when a cousin arrives at their estate.