Buzz buzz buzz! The tv show Yellowjackets aired on Showtime late last year, providing us with a heavy dose of folk horror and '90s nostalgia. Loosely inspired by the book Lord of the Flies, Yellowjackets follows a high school girls soccer team, stranded in the wilderness after their plane crashes on the way to a tournament. The show also flashes forward in time, following four of the survivors of the crash in present-day. Complete with a stacked cast and a killer soundtrack, Yellowjackets is a twisty horror thriller that will keep you guessing until the very last minute. Can't wait for season 2? Then pick up one of these books!
The year is 1989 and the Danvers (MA) High School field hockey team is on a losing streak. The players decide to call on their ancestors of the region, which is the same area as the Salem Witch Trials, to turn their luck around. When they start winning, the team must confront the question: is magic real or is it just placebo? Packed with '80s references, humor and teen angst, We Ride Upon Sticks by Quan Barry explores surprisingly complex topics of identity and belonging.
Alma Katsu re-tells the story of the Donner Party with a supernatural twist. The Donner/Reed Parties are heading to California in 1846 through an uncharted path. Food is running out and bad weather looms before them, but is there something else lurking out in those plains? Based heavily on the sad history of the Donner Party, The Hunger is an inventive re-imagining filled with suspense and dread.
Being a new mother is hard, and the pressure to make it all look easy is even harder. But what if being a new mother means shapeshifting into something else, something no one is actually talking about? In Nightbitch, a stay-at-home-mom gives up her job as an artist and begins to believe that she's turning into a dog. Rachel Yoder's debut novel is more of an odd and funny read than some of the scarier picks on this list, but it uses magical realism in both a dark and feminist way.
In The Return, Rachel Harrison's debut novel, four best friends from college discover that one of them, Julie, has disappeared on a hike through Acadia National Park without a trace. Elise knows that Julie can’t just be gone forever, and she’s right. Julie shows up two years later with no memory of the incident, but she’s... different. When they decide to reconnect on girl’s trip to a hotel in the Catskills, things get even weirder.
Considered highly acclaimed in Australian literature, Picnic at Hanging Rock follows classmates from the Appleyard School on a field trip to Hanging Rock near Melbourne on Valentine’s Day, 1900. When a few of the girls and a teacher go missing, the school is forever changed. Picnic at Hanging Rock focuses on the aftermath of the disappearance and the impact of living with an unresolved tragedy.
What are your book recommendations for folks who liked Yellowjackets?