We love reading nonfiction books. A well-told factual account of a historical or personal event can rival even the most inventive fictional story. These are our favorite nonfiction books that we think everyone should read!

15 Noteworthy Nonfiction YA Books!

I Have Something to Tell You—For Young Adults cover image
I Have Something to Tell You—For Young Adults by Chasten Buttigieg

The young adult adaptation of the hopeful and refreshingly candid bestselling memoir by the husband of a former Democratic presidential candidate about growing up gay in his small Midwestern town. Completely rewritten with new stories, including resources for readers, parents, and teachers.


Limitless cover image
Limitless by Leah Tinari

In the spirit of She Persisted, Goodnight Stories for Rebel Girls, and Rad American A-Z, acclaimed artist Leah Tinari offers a spectacular collection of portraits, celebrating iconic, inspirational, and groundbreaking American women.


Period Power cover image
Period Power by Nadya Okamoto

PERIOD founder and Harvard College student Nadya Okamoto offers a manifesto on menstruation and why we can no longer silence those who bleed—and how to engage in youth activism. Period Power aims to explain what menstruation is, shed light on the stigmas and resulting biases, and create a strategy to end the silence and prompt conversation about periods.


I Have the Right To cover image
I Have the Right To by Chessy Prout

The numbers are staggering: nearly one in five girls ages fourteen to seventeen have been the victim of a sexual assault or attempted sexual assault. This is the true story, in the form of a gut-wrenching memoir, of one of those girls.


Obsessed: A Memoir of My Life with OCD cover image
Obsessed: A Memoir of My Life with OCD by Allison Britz

This is the heart wrenching and inspiring story of Allison Britz, a young woman who developed Obsessive Compulsive Disorder after a horrifyingly vivid nightmare that she had brain cancer. Her disorder threatened to derail her life, with everyday tasks becoming impossible to perform until she was able to reach out for help.


Deep Water cover image
Deep Water by Katherine Nichols

The companion book to One Cut for the Simon TRUE release, Deep Water focuses on a group of teens from Coronado, California, in 1971. Under the tutelage of their high school swim coach, they begin running drugs from the US to Mexico. This small operation quickly bloomed into a 100 million dollar empire. Like the other titles in the series, this title is perfect for fans of true crime.


Warriors Don’t Cry cover image
Warriors Don’t Cry by Melba Pattillo Beals

This remarkable book charts 16 year old Melba Patillo’s experience as she finds herself on the front lines of school integration in 1957. One of the first black teenagers to choose to attend the previously all white Central High School in Little Rock, she endures taunting, death threats, and acid attacks. Powerful and moving, Warrior’s Don’t Cry feels even timelier in today’s political environment.


Tweak cover image
Tweak by Nic Sheff

This raw and moving portrait of addiction follows author Nic Sheff, a man who dealt with addiction to a bevy of substances starting from childhood. Though he is consistently able to pull himself out of the clutches of addiction, a destructive relapse convinces him that he cannot continue his destructive lifestyle. Equal parts heartbreaking and hopeful, Tweak is a fantastic read for fans of Go Ask Alice. Tweak is soon to be a major motion picture!


Never Caught, the Story of Ona Judge cover image
Never Caught, the Story of Ona Judge by Erica Armstrong Dunbar

This book reveals a fascinating and heartbreaking behind-the-scenes look at the Washingtons when they were the First Family—and an in-depth look at their slave, Ona Judge, who dared to escape from one of the nation’s Founding Fathers.


When Can We Go Back to America? cover image
When Can We Go Back to America? by Susan H. Kamei

In this dramatic and page-turning narrative history of Japanese Americans before, during, and after their World War II incarceration, Susan H. Kamei weaves the voices of over 130 individuals who lived through this tragic episode, most of them as young adults.


The Other Talk cover image
The Other Talk by Brendan Kiely

Award-winning and New York Times bestselling author Brendan Kiely starts a conversation with white kids about race in this accessible introduction to white privilege and why allyship is so vital.


Spooky season is here! And now that the days are growing shorter, there is nothing better than reading a book that will give you a little scare. So if you’re looking for the perfect book to raise your heart rate, look no further than these reads!

15 Spooky, Scary, & Just Plain Eerie Books to Read for Halloween

1. Through the Woods by Emily Carroll

While this one may appear on a certain other list of not so scary books, I have to respectfully disagree. The lush, striking artwork and stories that deal with murder, sentient parasites, ghost possession, and fratricide, to name a few. This is a fantastically creepy entry, and a must-have for any fan of scary things.


2. The Beast is an Animal by Peternelle Van Arsdale

The deep woods are always a foreboding place. Add in spectral twins, slavery, and an embodiment of the devil, and you have a modern classic of creepiness. This incredibly engrossing story of a young girl who feels a much closer connection to the Soul Eaters, the ghostly twins that wiped out her village. Bringing up questions of humanity and what defines a monster; this is a perfect read for a gloomy autumn night.


3. Diary of a Haunting by M. Verano

The first installment in a horror trilogy, Diary of a Haunting tells the story of Paige, a teen forced to move into a creepy house with her mother and brother following her parent’s divorce. What follows puts the events of films like Paranormal Activity and The Blair Witch Project to shame. Do not read this one at night time – nightmares are borderline guaranteed.


4. Hellworld by Tom Leveen

Abby Booth’s mother disappeared 5 years ago while filming a ghost hunting reality TV show in a supposedly haunted cave in Arizona. Determined to find out what happened to her mother, Abby sets out to explore the same cave with a small group of friends. But will she discover the truth about what happened to her mother? Or will she uncover something far more sinister?


5. Rattled Bones by S.M. Parker

In this wonderful entry, we are introduced to Rilla Brae, a young lobsterwoman on the coast of Maine. After her father’s sudden death, she is haunted by visions of a young girl, who calls Rilla to a mysterious island. With help from an alluring archeology student, Rilla finds herself on the island, and begins to uncover the deep, dark secrets that the people of her hometown have kept for generations


6. Hotel for the Lost by Suzanne Young

Audrey arrive at the Hotel Ruby with her father and brother. They’re exhausted and broken after her mother’s death, and only plan to stay the night. But there’s something intoxicating about the hotel, and suddenly they’re staying an extra day…then a couple extra days…then a week. Nightly fancy affairs in the ballroom are invitation only, and Audrey seems to be the one guest who doesn’t have an invite. Instead, she joins the hotel staff on the rooftop, catching whispers about the hotel’s dark past. The more Audrey learns about the new people she’s met, the more her curiosity grows. But if she’s not careful, her curiosity will bring her to a place from which she can never return.


7. Death & Life of Zebulon Finch by Daniel Kraus

May 7, 1896.

Dusk. A swaggering seventeen-year-old gangster named Zebulon Finch is gunned down by the shores of Lake Michigan. But after mere minutes in the void, he is mysteriously resurrected.

His second life will be nothing like his first.


8. Rot & Ruin by Jonathan Maberry

In the zombie-infested, post-apocalyptic America where Benny Imura lives, every teenager must find a job by the time they turn fifteen or get their rations cut in half. Benny doesn’t want to apprentice as a zombie hunter with his boring older brother Tom, but he has no choice. He expects a tedious job whacking zoms for cash, but what he gets is a vocation that will teach him what it means to be human.


9. The Murmurings by Carly Anne West

The voices in her head are not her own…

Everyone thinks Sophie’s sister, Nell, went crazy. But Sophie doesn’t believe that Nell would take her own life, and she’s convinced that Nell’s doctor knows more than he’s letting on. As Sophie starts to piece together Nell’s last days, every lead ends in a web of lies. And the deeper Sophie digs, the more danger she’s in—because now she’s hearing the same haunting whispers. Sophie’s starting to think she’s going crazy too. Or worse, that maybe she’s not…


10. The House by Christina Lauren

His shirt is black, jeans are black, and shaggy black hair falls into his eyes. And when Gavin looks up at Delilah, the dark eyes shadowed with bluish circles seem to flicker to life. He lives in that house, the one at the edge of town. Spooky and maybe haunted. Something worse than haunted. And Gavin is trapped by its secrets. Delilah and Gavin can’t resist each other. But staying together will exact a price beyond their imagining.


11. The Witch Haven by Sasha Peyton Smith

In 1911 New York City, seventeen-year-old Frances Hallowell spends her days as a seamstress, mourning the mysterious death of her brother months prior. Everything changes when she’s attacked and a man ends up dead at her feet—her scissors in his neck, and she can’t explain how they got there.


12. Vespertine by Margaret Rogerson

The dead of Loraille do not rest. Artemisia is training to be a Gray Sister, a nun who cleanses the bodies of the deceased so that their souls can pass on; otherwise, they will rise as spirits with a ravenous hunger for the living. She would rather deal with the dead than the living, who trade whispers about her scarred hands and troubled past.


13. Blood Like Magic by Liselle Sambury

After years of waiting for her Calling—a trial every witch must pass to come into their powers—the one thing Voya Thomas didn’t expect was to fail. When Voya’s ancestor gives her an unprecedented second chance to complete her Calling, she agrees—and then is horrified when her task is to kill her first love. And this time, failure means every Thomas witch will be stripped of their magic.


14. The Dire Days of Willowweep Manor by Shaenon K. Garrity

One dark and stormy night, Haley sees a stranger drowning in the river. Since her greatest passion is Gothic romance novels, she knows her moment has come. But when Haley leaps into the water to rescue the stranger, she awakens in Willowweep. It certainly looks like the setting of one of her favorite books: A stately manor. A sinister housekeeper. Three brooding brothers. There’s even a ghost.


15. Winterwood by Shea Ernshaw

Be careful of the dark, dark wood…Especially the woods surrounding the town of Fir Haven. Some say these woods are magical. Haunted, even.


Want a creepy book that will still let you sleep at night? We’ve got book recs for you!

Book covers can change for any number of reasons. From transition to paperback printings, market changes to cover trends, or just occasional refreshing, the reasons can go on and on. As fans, sometimes we’re not too keen on the changes, but sometimes we think they’ve absolutely nailed the new looks. Here are some of our favorite cover repackages!

14 Book Cover Makeovers We Can’t Stop Talking About

1. American Panda by Gloria Chao

Ok, well first off just let me say that I love both of these covers. The original is absolutely adorable and has me wishing I could ask Mei, the protagonist, where she got that cup of hot chocolate! But! I just can stop looking at the new paperback cover! The pinks really pop and I love the brick wall in the background.


2. The Red Scrolls of Magic by Cassandra Clare and Wesley Chu

We definitely loved the original cover of The Red Scrolls of Magic but now seeing the new repackage that fits with the look of the rest of the Shadowhunters series, we absolutely OBSESSED. Alec looks great on the cover and will pair perfectly with Magnus on The Lost Book of the White, the second book in the Elder Curses series, which comes out later this year

3. Light as a Feather by Zoe Aarsen

I can’t get over how amazing this new cover for Light as a Feather is. I love the clean precise lines of the black on white plus the accents of red are total *chef’s kiss*. If this new cover is making you feel like you should break out the ouija board, there’s no need, it’ll just tell you to read this book!


4. The Nowhere Girls by Amy Reed

Here’s another cover that has gotten the pink upgrade. Plus the female gender symbol with the hands makes it clear that this is a book filled with some really strong characters that are fighting for what they believe in.


5. City of Bones by Cassandra Clare

City of Bones by Cassandra Clare

I’ll be honest – we could probably write an entire book about the changes that the entire Mortal Instruments series has gone through. From repackages to movie-tie ins and special edition printings, you could fill a whole bookshelf (and let’s be honest, some of us have) with different versions of this blockbuster series. The books have looked fantastic in every iteration, and we can discuss from sun up to sun down which covers were the best.

And no list would be complete without a shout out to the super spec-ed out, cloth bound, foil stamped, 10th Anniversary Edition of City of Bones.


6. Unwind by Neal Shusterman

Unwind by Neal Shusterman

Is there anything Neal Shusterman can’t do? The author of multiple New York Times‘ bestselling series, including the current bestseller Thunderhead, has been a YA powerhouse for years. Before his Arc of a Scythe series was capturing hearts and dropping jaws, his Unwind Dystology was a stellar addition to the dystopian genre. The paperback repackages keep so much of the original covers’ creep factor while adding a cleaner line look.


7. Zeroes by Scott Westerfeld, Margo Lanagan, and Deborah Biancotti

Zeroes by Scott Westerfeld, Margo Lanagan, and Deborah Biancotti

The Uglies isn’t the only fantastic series written by Scott Westerfeld. This action-packed trilogy about super powered teens was just repackaged last year, with a stronger emphasis on the characters. Book three, Nexus, just came out this month, sporting the cool new line look. If you’re a fan of Uglies, check out the completed Zeroes trilogy now!


8. The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han

The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han

Jenny Han’s lovely trilogy of growing up and first love holds a special place in the hearts of many YA readers. First published between 2009 and 2011, they received a gorgeous makeover in 2017 that embodies the colorful, fun, and bright nature of adolescent summers on the beach.

9. Tell Me Something Real by Calla Devlin

Tell Me Something Real by Calla Devlin

Calla Devlin’s amazing debut novel was William C. Morris Award finalist. Telling the story of three sisters and their dying mother, it will tug at your heartstrings from the first chapter. The change from an illustrated cover to a more photographic, limited color palate looks absolutely stunning.

10. The Last Boy and Girl in the World by Siobhan Vivian

The Last Boy and Girl in the World by Siobhan Vivian

Siobhan Vivian’s heartbreaking story of a town on the verge of an aquatic catastrophe and the choices we make as our worlds seem to crumble around us is one of my favorite books. And full disclosure – I love both of these covers. But if I had to pick, the heavy romantic overtones and swoony of the repackaged cover win out for me in the end.


11. Three Truths and a Lie by Brent Hartinger

Three Truths and a Lie by Brent Hartinger

Three Truths and a Lie is a pulse-pounding thriller in the vein of One of Us is Lying–a must-read for fans of mysteries and thrillers alike. While the original cover captures the darkness and foreboding of the book, the repackaged cover really ramps up the eeriness of the novel with the missing cabin and forest setting.

12. The Scorpion Rules by Erin Bow

The Scorpion Rules by Erin Bow

In order to keep peace in the world, the children of world leaders are held captive to maintain that order. The new cover truly gets to the heart of the danger that Greta faces and the risk she has to take in order to break free.


13. The Treatment, The Remedy, and The Epidemic by by Suzanne Young

Not all the books in Suzanne Young’s The Program series got a repackage, but eagle-eyed fans will know that some installments started off with a different look. Good news for book lovers who like all their books in a series to match–the Program novels now feature the same package, including the final book in the series, The Complication.


14. Confessions of a High School Disaster by Emma Chastain

We love the Moleskine vibes of the original cover for Confessions of a High School Disaster by Emma Chastain, but the new paperback cover really gets to the heart of what makes this book great–it’s a funny, sweet contemporary teen story a la Bridget Jones’ Diary, with a relatable main character you’ll love. Not to mention the adorable dog. The Year of Living Awkwardly, book 2 in the series, which chronicles Chloe’s sophomore year, has a matching cover (and yes, the dog is on that one, too, don’t worry).

Looking for more? Check out these completed YA series you can read right now!

We have all been there – you’re reading a new book, and the characters either come across a magical tome, or one of them writes the great American novel, or some other tie-in to an absolutely irresistible fictional book. Of course, being the book people we are, we tend to get a little ravenous about reading these stories – whether or not they actually exist. So whether they are powerful spell books, Necronomicon-esque collections, or alternating stories, here are some of our favorite books within books.

6 Books Within Books We Would Totally Read (If They Were Real)

1. The Book of Eyes, from Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson

Grimoires in Austermeer are alive and incredibly powerful. Some more than others, especially those that were bound with human parts. The Book of Eyes is one such book and since it was outlawed to bind human parts to grimoires, it also makes it incredibly rare. Inside are spells that allow sorcerers to reach into people’s minds to read and even control them.

2. The Book of the White, from City of Bones by Cassandra Clare















One of the most powerful spell books with Shadowhunters universe, the Book of the White is a key plot point in several Mortal Instrument novels. Cassandra Clare fans have long itched for the opportunity to explore all of the secrets of this magical tome.


3. Afterworlds, from Afterworlds by Scott Westerfeld















This is literally a book within a book. Afterworlds (the Scott Westerfeld novel) is the story of Darcy Patel, a young girl who has put college on hold and moved to New York to publish her YA novel, with the text of her dystopian YA novel, also called Afterworlds, presented in alternating chapters. The fun, parallel story angle will keep you glued to the page until the very end.


4. The Scythe Diaries, from Scythe, by Neil Shusterman















Interspersed between chapters in this pulse-pounding dystopian thriller are diary entries from famous “Scythes” – the arbiters of death in this world where natural death has been eliminated. These ruminations on death, power, and the meaning of life when natural death has become extinct will make you wish you could read the diaries in their entirety.


5. Ireland for the Heartbroken: An Unconventional Guide to the Emerald Isle, from Love & Luck, by Jenna Evans Welch















Love & Luck’s chapters are introduced with excerpts from a fictional guidebook called Ireland for the Heartbroken: An Unconventional Guide to the Emerald Isle. These fun, sassy travel suggestions will both whet your appetite for travel, and make you yearn for a complete guide to plan your next jaunt to Ireland.


6. Autoboyography from Autoboyography by Christina Lauren















This touching coming of age novel follows two Mormon teen boys as they meet and fall in love at a prestigious summer writing seminar, during which Tanner is expected to produce a novel in four months. Anyone who knows both the joys and sorrows of writing a lot of words on a very tight deadline (i.e. anyone who’s ever attempted NaNoWriMo) will definitely be able to relate to the experience.

When we fall in love with a book, we’re never satisfied with experiencing it in just one format. We’ve got to have the hardcovers, of course–our shelves would be sad and empty without them! But we also need the e-book because what if we’re stranded on the train with only a phone and a desperate need to read?! And you know we need the audiobook, because there’s definitely something special about being told a story by someone else. Bonus points when the storyteller is someone we already know and love, like with these Shadowhunters audiobooks.

9 Shadowhunters Audiobooks Narrated by Celebrities You Love

1. James Marsters – Lord of Shadows/Queen of Air and Darkness

Beginning with the book of the hour, James Marsters is the latest star to read one of Cassie’s audio books. While he is perhaps best known for his role as Spike in Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel, he has also shown up in incredibly popular shows like Torchwood as Captain John Hart, and in Smallville as the supervillain Braniac.

Get it on audible or iTunes!


2. B.D Wong – The Red Scrolls Of Magic

If you’re wondering why B.D. Wong’s voice sounds so familiar, that’s because he is the voice of  Captain Li Shang from Disney’s Mulan. I think there was a small part of me that hoped Magnus and Alec would sing a duet of “I’ll Make a Man Out of You”. He’s also a series regular on Mr. Robot and had the recurring character of Dr. Huang on Law & Order: SVU. We couldn’t be more excited to have him narrating this amazing Shadowhunters book!

Get Red Scrolls of Magic on audible now!

3. Morena Baccarin—Lady Midnight

Firefly did not run anywhere as long as it should have (Serenity was a poor conclusion). If it had, I’m positive Morena would have broken out even bigger than she has — her role as Inara was one of the. Despite that show’s incredibly unjust cancellation, she has had successful turns in popular network shows like Stargate SG-1, Homeland, Gotham, and the V remake. She also played Wade Wilson’s love interest, Vanessa, in 2016’s Deadpool. Fun fact – she also appeared in the original pilot for It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia as Carmen, the role that would ultimately be played by Brittany Daniel.

Get it on audible or iTunes!


4. Sam Heughan–The Fiery Trial 

Sam Heughan of Outlander fame reads The Fiery Trial audio book. He stole our hearts as the Scottish highlander Jamie Fraser and we couldn’t be more excited to listen to his voice read this Shadowhunter Academy book!

Get The Fiery Trial on audible!


5. Sophie Turner – City of Heavenly Fire

One of the most popular young actors on this list, Sophie Turner has earned rave reviews as Sansa Stark on the epic HBO series Game of Thrones. She has also joined the X-Men universe as Jean Grey in X-Men: Apocalypse, guaranteeing that she will continue to be part of geek culture for the foreseeable future.

Get it on audible or iTunes!


6. Daniel SharmanClockwork Princess

Who doesn’t love Teen Wolf? Daniel Sharman is best known for his role as Isaac Lahey!

Get it on audible or iTunes!


7. Jennifer Ehle –Clockwork Angel

Perhaps one of the less well-known stars on this list, this BAFTA winning actress most recognizable credit is Elizabeth Bennet in the stellar 1995 Pride and Prejudice miniseries.  In my humble opinion, this is the ultimate film version of the classic book.

Get it on audible or iTunes!


8. Mae Whitman- City of Bones

 Mae Whitman read for this movie tie in of the City of Bones audio. Whitman is a fantastic character actress, with memorable turns in films like Scott Pilgrim vs The World and Perks of Being a Wallflower. However, she’s probably best known as the voice of Katara from the nearly perfect Avatar: The Last Airbender animated series.

Get it on audible or iTunes!


9. Heather Lind— Clockwork Prince 

Heather Lind plays Anna Strong in AMC’s Turn: Washington’s Spies, which was recently renewed for a 4th season, starting July 26th!

Get it on audible or iTunes!


Don’t forget to check out Queen of Air and Darkness (whether you’re reading or listening), on sale now!

Zero Repeat Forever by G.S. Prendergast is on sale now and YOU HAVE TO READ IT! This incredible book takes place during an alien invasion of Earth by a species known as the Nahx, and centers on the relationship between Raven and Eighth, a human and alien invader. I’m obsessed with this book and am excited for this dystopian sci-fi story to finally invade the world! I need more people to talk to me about this book, so I’ve decided to put together a list of reasons why you need to pick it up immediately!

1. Dual Perspective Storytelling

Told in alternating chapters from the perspectives of Raven and Eighth, Zero Repeat Forever creates a fully immersive universe for the reader. To add in another wrinkle, Eighth is a non verbal character, communicating completely through alien sign language. The fantastic writing style really brings through this unique element of the character.

2. Unique Male Protagonist

Eighth brings to mind such classic characters as John Merrick in The Elephant Man, and Frankenstein’s Monster. Sensitive, confused, misunderstood, and filled with more existential angst than a high school freshman,  he will be a favorite for YA fans for years to come.

3. Tough, Heartfelt, Female Protagonist

Raven is no wilting flower. When the Nahx invasion begins, she is all for taking up arms against the invaders. Tough, smart, and trained in martial arts, Raven is a force to be reckoned with. Her fierce loyalty to the people that she loves is evident from the start of the book, and the impotent rage that she feels being away from those she loves as the alien invasion begins is both heart wrenching and realistic. 

4. Beauty and the Beast Meets The Fifth Wave

The tight blend of sci-fi action with the budding relationship between Raven and Eighth will appeal to fans of varied genres!

5. Edgar Allen Poe

Edgar Allen Poe’s stories are heavily referenced throughout the book, even within the title. Searching for them as you work through the book is a fun scavenger hunt for any Edgar Allen Poe fan!

6. Tender Love Story

Eighth and Raven are incredibly different characters. The tenderness that develops between the two of them is  both touching and surprisingly relatable. The pitfalls of intimacy are laid bare with an ultimate opposites story – you can’t get much different than an alien invader and one of the humans he was hunting. I dare you to try to get through this book without getting just a little bit misty eyed.

7. The Cover


 Now, I’m usually not one to look at a book’s style over its substance, but we have GOT to talk about that cover. Blending slick metallic foil with matte black and depicting the dual organic and bionic nature of the protagonists, it’s sure to catch your eye even without all these other reasons to read. 

8. Invaders

Earth is being invaded! The world is falling apart! This book is essentially the perfect recipe for adventure and excitement.


This is just a small sampler of the smorgasbord of reasons why you should read this book. A stellar combination of romance and sci-fi action, it is sure to be a hit with readers everywhere. So check out Zero Repeat Forever by G.S. Prendergast!

Is there any better way to beat the dog days of summer than with a chilling story? Personally, I don’t think so. To that end, I’m over the moon excited to read The Rattled Bones, by S.M. Parker. This eerie book follows Rilla Brae, a tough-as-nails young woman embroiled in an eerie mystery surrounding an island off the coast of Maine whose inhabitants were forcibly evicted almost a century ago. This now mostly uninhabited island draws in Rilla with ghostly visions, which lead her to realize that her past and the island’s history are deeply intertwined. In preparation for this fantastic new title, and since this book is based on true events that occurred in Maine, I thought I’d put together a list of my favorite spooky ghost stories, folk tales, and locations!

The Headless Horseman

1 – The Headless Horseman The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, written by Washington Irving in 1820 and brought to the screen by Disney in 1949, has woven itself tightly into American pop culture. Telling the story of a headless Hessian horseman who died during the Revolutionary War and now haunts the village of Sleepy Hollow, searching for his lost head and chasing travelers. Though the story was fabricated by Irving using elements of traditional European folklore, I dare you to visit the woods surrounding Sleepy Hollow and not feel a little more sensitive to the sounds of horse hooves.


 La Llorona

2 – La Llorona  – Originating in Northern Mexico and the American southwest, La Llorona is a tragic spectral being. While many stories exist surrounding the origins of La Llorona, most focus on a woman who drowns her children in a river to spite her husband after he leaves her for another woman. Shocked at what she had done, she then drowned herself. Now, her spirit roams the earth, searching for her lost children. She approaches travelers, wailing, and asking them if they know where her children are, before vanishing.


Boo Hag

3 – Boo Hag – This creature comes from Gullah culture in the Carolina low country. Similar to the the vampire myth, boo hags feed on the living, with in important distinction — they feast on a victim’s breath, not their blood. The Boo Hag gains access to its victims by slipping through a crick in the wall or an open window, and then cap Perhaps their most Boo Hags have no skin, existing as a red mass of muscle and sinew. If a victim struggles while their breath is being taken, the Boo Hag may skin them, wearing the hide until it is used up and the Boo Hag is forced to find a new skin. **Shudder**


The Wendigo

4 – The Wendigo  – The Algonquin-speaking tribes of North America feared this mythical creature. Often described as a gaunt, rotting corpse, this violent entity strongly tied to winter, coldness, famine and starvation. It is an embodiment of greed, never satisfied with eating just one human. The legend of the Wendigo can vary greatly, with some portrayals seeing it as a giant, growing with each human that it eats. Regardless, this is a terrifying legend, and it makes each snowy winter day a little more unsettling.


The Jersey Devil

5 – The Jersey Devil  – This tale goes back to 1735, and centers on the Leeds family. The legend states that Mrs. Leeds, giving birth to her 13th child, cried out that her child would be born a devil. Though the child was born normal, it quickly became monster, with thee head of a goat, bat like wings, horns, claws, cloven hooves and a forked tail. Since then, sightings of the Jersey Devil have included people like Commodore Stephen Decatur, and Joseph Bonaparte, brother of the one-time French emperor. Thought signings of the Jersey Devil have slowed in the last century, the size and creepiness of the New Jersey Pine Barrens do make you wonder if there might be something hiding there.

Have I missed any of your favorite spooky tales or legends? Let us know in the comments below, and don’t forget to check out The Rattled Bones, on sale now!

The Bronx. This is the only borough that is preceded by “The,” an assertion that it is one of a kind. When people think about New York City, they often forget this massive section of it – popular culture has written it off as little more than a den of crime and poverty, frankly not a very nice place to live. I, for one, can’t stand the generalizations of New York City’s only mainland section. I should say right off the bat that I love the Bronx. I lived there for the better part of the last decade, and despite its many problems, it is a beautiful and exciting part of the city. Its diverse and rich immigrant neighborhoods, its place in American history as the birthplace of hip hop, and its immense importance to the region as the main hub of food distribution for the city make it impossible to pigeon hole. I was inspired to jot down some of the Bronx’s best sites (in no particular order) by The Education of Margot Sanchez, by Lilliam Rivera. Our protagonist, Margot Sanchez, is a born and bred Bronx girl, and where she grew up is central to the character. I hope you’ll check these places out, and maybe they’ll provide a different perspective on a part of the city so often overlooked.

Loeser's Deli

1) Loeser’s Kosher Delicatessen: 214 W 231st Street, Bronx, NY, 10463 – Now, the title of “Best Pastrami/Corned Beef in New York City” is highly contested, with dozens of deli heavyweights around the city vying for the honor. I’m not going to wade into that melee. What I will say is that this is my favorite place to get a classic pastrami on rye in the whole of New York City. This traditional Jewish deli is still run by owner Fredy Loeser, and the experience is absolutely worth the trek up to the north Bronx.


2) The Bronx Zoo: 2300 Southern Blvd, Bronx, NY, 10460 – One of the finest zoos in the world can also be found within the borough’s borders. The Bronx Zoo has an impressive menagerie, with large exhibits devoted to little seen creatures such as tree kangaroos, snow leopards, and even red pandas. Keep an eye out for the peacocks, which are allowed to roam free among zoo visitors. There’s even a zip line for those of you more adventurously inclined!

Botanical Gardens

3) The New York Botanical Gardens: 2900 Southern Blvd, Bronx, NY, 10458 – While the botanical gardens at a slightly more hip borough may get more attention because of the location, this Bronx Jewel is bigger and, at least in my humble opinion, better. The grounds are filled with public art and sculptures, and rotating exhibits of exotic plants and famous garden recreations fill the numerous greenhouses and conservation halls. And after you finish checking out the beautiful greenery, you can head over to our next item…

Arthur Avenue Market

5) Arthur Avenue – Now, there may be a little section of downtown Manhattan that has been dubbed as “Little Italy”, but Arthur Avenue in the Bronx is more than a worthy challenger for the title. Located off of Fordham road i the Belmont section of the Bronx, this street and the surrounding area are packed with delicious Italian restaurants. Even more impressive is the Arthur Avenue Italian Market, where you can sample delicious preserved meats, fresh cheeses, unbelievable produce and imported goods.

Yankee Stadium

6) Yankee Stadium: 1 E 161st Street, Bronx, NY, 10451  — Whether or not you are a sports fan, you can’t deny that you’ve heard of the New York Yankees (aka, the Bronx Bombers). More than just a sports stadium, this is a cathedral to baseball, a living monument to the sport and to the most celebrated team in the history of baseball. Catch a game in the stands and make sure to get some garlic fries!

Edgar Allen Poe Cottage

7) Poe Cottage: 2640 Grand Concourse at East Kingsbridge Road, Bronx, NY, 10458   – Did you know that Edgar Allen Poe lived out the last few years of his life in the Bronx? In fact, he wrote some of his most famous stories here, including “The Bells”, “Annabel Lee,” and the horrific “The Cast of Amontillado.” Still standing inside of a small park (appropriately named Poe Park) off of the Grand Concourse, the Poe house is open to the public every day except Monday, and is a must see for all fans of the Master of Macabre.

Pelham Bay Park

8) Pelham Bay Park – Some people will say that this is just a park. To those people, I’d like to point out that this park is three times the size of Manhattan’s Central Park, and is the largest park in New York City. With a beach on the Long Island Sound, hiking, a wildlife sanctuary, golf courses and dozens of other activities, this is a fantastic place for spring picnics and summer day trips.

La Morada NYC

9) La Morada Oaxacan Restaurant: 308 Willis Avenue, Bronx, NY, 10454 – I love all things Mexican, especially Mexican food. And of all the regional cuisines, Oaxacan is my absolute favorite. You will be hard pressed to find a more authentic Oaxacan restaurant in the Northeast. Explore every single variety of mole (a rich, thick sauce often including chocolate and chilies) on the menu, they’re all delicious. La Morada is also incredibly involved in the local community, featuring a lending library, and the owners are very politically active, often expressing the need to fight gentrification in the Bronx. I can’t recommend this place enough.


This list is by no means comprehensive – there are far more reasons to visit The Bronx than the ones I’ve listed above. But this is definitely a good place to start. Do you have any favorites I’ve forgotten to list? Let us know in the comments below, and don’t forget to check out The Education of Margot Sanchez, available as a free read until August 14th!

As a regular, well-adjusted adult, I have the social and emotional skills to be able to deal with break ups. That being said, sometimes you go through a particularly nasty rupture, and it becomes a fixture in your interactions with your friends and in your bi-weekly therapy meetings. Okay, maybe that’s just me. Let me just start at the beginning.

Karen Spinoza.

She was a rock cellist that I met in Kansas City last October while traveling cross country to review hot dog stands. The connection was instantaneous; it was a classic meet-cute waiting for frankfurters and root beer. 3 months later we rented apartments in the same neighborhood. Now,  8 months later, I’m thinking I should have found a cheaper place.

In the search for some kind of salve to lessen the blow, I’ve searched for all kinds of media to binge, and I stumbled across Meg Leder’s Museum of Heartbreak. Our protagonist, Penelope Marx, takes to the creation of a “museum” housing all the knickknacks, odds, and ends that remind her of heartbreak during a pivotal year in her life. After some light prodding from literally everyone in my life (especially my coworkers who have read this book), I’ve decided to create one in the hopes that it’ll serve as therapy to my shattered soul.


Museum of HeartBreak

Let’s examine these relics:

Flower Pen

  • Flower Pen-Plastic and fabric, October 18th, 2016: How could I not keep the pen that she wrote her email address down with the night we met. Definitely ignored some warning signs with this one. First of all, she definitely did not pay for this pen before snatching it out of the restaurant gift shop. Secondly, she may have tried to stab me with said pen when I finished my food before hers. I may still have the scar. In other words, flower pen — or funeral bouquet?

Wrong #2

  • Mix Tape – Audio, November 20th, 2016: Okay, burned CD, mix tape, whatever. I’m a firm believer that when you get a mix tape from someone, things are getting pretty serious. Sure, I hadn’t heard from her in over a month, but I decided to throw caution to the wind and really swing with the fences with this mix. She called me after receiving it and told me between giggle fits that this was the funniest collection of garbage she’d ever received, and that she liked someone with a sense of humor. But make no mistake, this CD was fire.  A sophisticated collection of whale songs, bag pipe music, and a little country was all brought together by the greatest band of the last ten years — Nickleback. Her choice to label this “Wrong #2” when she left it at my apartment cut pretty deep.


  • Compass Necklace – Metal and Rubber, December 31st, 2016: Landing a permanent gig as a cello player for an upscale doggie day care, she decided to move into the city. Fearing that a distance more than a few square blocks would kill any chances of us becoming an item, we decided to look for places in the same general area. After renting ridiculously expensive apartments in a a neighborhood I definitely can’t afford, we decided to have a nice dinner which I also could not afford. Realizing that I’d be paying off my recent credit card bills for the next decade, I snuck out to a quarter machine and purchased this little item for a cool 50 cents. Sher smile said she loved but her eyes were screaming.

3D Printed Robot

  • Robot – Plastic, 3D printed. February 18th, 2016: The one is kind of a funny story. She gave me this is a birthday present. It was not my birthday and I hate the color green. She told me it was a fidget spinner. I still try to use it for that purpose, one that it was clearly not made for. I’m currently trying to spin it in front of some coworkers. I’m not sure if their faces are those of disgust or pity. Maybe a mix of both.


  • Origami Crane – Paper, March 8th, 2017 – I am not an artistic person, so any sort of handicraft that I dedicate myself to has to be for a special occasion. I mean, in my world, making this origami crane was as big as dropping THE “L” word. And by “L” world I clearly mean “really, really like.” Love is for the weak. I may have prefaced giving her the crane with that little rant. Maybe that’s why she crumpled up the first one I made. I tried my best, Karen sob.

Terra Cotta Skull

  • Terra Cotta Skull – Terra Cotta, Epoxy. May 25th, 2017: You know that moment when things are going really badly with a significant other, and you decide to do the reasonable thing and break up? Yeah, we didn’t do that. Instead, we planned a vacation. To San Antonio. Kids, don’t plan a vacation with the person you should be breaking up with. San Antonio was where it all came crashing down. I mean, what was that halibut doing in her carryon? And why was she so defensive when I asked? The conversation may have ended with me getting slapped with said halibut. Anyway, we spent 3 days in an air conditioned motel room watching Netflix on my laptop and eating take-out pizza. I didn’t get a single puffy taco or a picture with the Alamo. I think she felt bad and bought me this skull before we boarded our flight home. Despair.

Break Up Note 1

  • The Card – Paper and Ink, June 8th, 2017: After San Antonio, the writing was on the wall. Quite literally. I came home from work one day to find she’d mostly moved out, and found this note taped to the kitchen wall. You could say it was pretty unambiguous.




And that’s it. Less than a year in my life compressed into a cardboard diorama. You know, everyone was right. Laying everything out has really helped me dig at the core of what was really bothering me. I feel so much better af – OH MY GOSH KAREN PLEASE COME BACK I’M A WRECK WITHOUT YOU WHY DID YOU HAVE TO HURT ME SO BAD OH I’M ALONE SO SO ALONE

(Editor’s Note: At this point, our contributor fell to the floor in a fetal position. We could not make out his words through the sobbing and snot bubbles. He has since been granted a sabbatical to work on some self-exploration and self-discovery. We wish him the best. Don’t forget to check out The Museum of Heartbreak by Meg Leder, available as an extended excerpt until July 31st, and be sure to check out the other fantastic books in our Summer of Self-Discovery line up!)

Disclaimer: This story is completely fabricated, but the benefits of reading The Museum of Heartbreak are not.


We’re sorry, you are not eligible to register for this site.
Return to home page.