Nightbooks by J. A. White is a modern day Hansel and Gretel meets The Arabian Nights with a twist.
Alex feels like a weirdo because he writes scary stories in journals he calls his nightbooks. One night, he sneaks out in the middle of the night, determined to get rid of them once and for all. But the sound of his favorite horror movie lures him into a strange apartment, and he finds himself trapped by a real-life witch. This witch likes scary stories, and she’ll keep him alive as long as he comes up with a new one each night.
Some of the things I liked best about this book are:
- The stories Alex tells the witch. Deliciously creepy.
- The insights into Alex’s writing process, including his spark of inspiration, his understanding of interior logic, and his tips for overcoming writer’s block.
- The witch’s magical apartment with doors that lead back into the same room, a black light nursery for exotic plants, and an enormous library with a spiral staircase!
- Lenore, the witch’s cat, who can make herself invisible.
- The growing friendship between Alex and the witch’s other prisoner, Yasmin.
Blaine would have loved this book when he was younger. Larrabee found it a bit too creepy. I would recommend it to kids who crave scary books, such as Adam Gidwitz’s A Tale Dark and Grimm, R. L. Stine’s Goosebumps series, or Alvin Schwartz’s Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark.
12 thoughts on “Book Review: Nightbooks”
Great review! I have a soft spot for creepy stories, as well as ones that explore a little of what it is to be a writer. I’ll have to check this out. 🙂
Welcome to MMGM!
Thanks! I’ve been enjoying all the great MMGM book recommendations for a little while, and I’m excited to participate.
I’m not really into creepy stories, but this one sounds good. I love the idea that he gets trapped in an apartment vs. goes into a different world. And what an interesting apartment!
Yes, the apartment is very cool–and it’s a nice twist on the candy house in the woods.
I enjoyed your review. Thank you for sharing this book for MMGM. I’d love to have a library filled with books like the one on the cover! :0}
Wouldn’t that be amazing? And in addition to all those books and the spiral staircase, that library also has a little writing desk.
Perfect timing on this one as October looms in the near future. I’m good with a little bit of creepiness and this one sounds just right. I’ll be looking for a copy both for myself and to share. Thanks for the review!
Yes! This book is a good one to recommend to kids who are getting excited about Halloween.
Such a great, scary book for Halloween. Great gift idea. This has a different twist to it that I really love. Excellent review!
Hansel and Gretel meets the Arabian Nights: now that’s an original premise! I like how meta this one seems.
Right! A kid who likes to write scary stories trapped in a scary story…
This sounds like a book my granddaughter would love. Thanks for the review.
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