One of the things that I have to thank Twilightmania for, as a commentor pointed out to me on a long-ago post, is that Goth and vampire-inspired products are now more readily available and accessible for those of us who are unemployed, cannot order online and/or are on a very tight budget. I was reminded of this yesterday when I was in the bookstore, as I stumbled across the kids' section - which was absolutely full-to-the-brim with Gothy goodies, perfect for young babybats seeking to bury their noses in dark culture. When I was 12, the average Goth reference I was likely to discover in a bookstore was that snide comment about 'death cult zombie chicks' in the Mates, Dates series.
As a death cult zombie chick (and proud) who loves to read, it is my pleasure to share with you the gems I have unearthed in the '9-12 years fiction' section of the bookstore, and beyond...
The Whitby Witches by Robin Jarvis. In fact, anything by Robin Jarvis that you can get your fishnet-gloved mitts on is probably a safe bet. (My other favourites being The Wyrd Sisters and Thorn Ogres of Hagwood.) Robin Jarvis is the undisputed king of things that go bump in the night, although babybats of a nervous disposition (yup, like me) would do well not to read these before bedtime.
Castle Twilight and Other Stories by Colin Thompson and Korky Paul. I used to re-read this over and over - it's a collection of twelve ghastly stories about the occupants of Castle Twilight, including the beautiful, intelligent, slightly odd and largely ignored Princess Chocolate, Creepeasy the butler, and Headache the dog.
Holy Moley, I'm a Dead Dude by C.M Hopkins (yup, the same Cathy Hopkins of Mates, Dates...) is a strange but funny story about teen rock star Dude, tragically dead after a crowd-surfing accident. Dude and his gang of ghosts (including Goth girl Bella) still have a few lessons to learn about life - despite being dead. Body-swapping, ghostbusters and general mayhem ensue.
The Edge Chronicles by Paul Stewart and Chris Riddell. I absolutely love these books - darkly comic young adult fantasy at its very best. Fantastic illustrations, too. Cannot recommend these highly enough.
The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis. These books are considered an ageless classic for a reason (although, pet peeve - The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe is NOT the first book in the series, it is the SECOND. The Magician's Nephew is the first book) - they have enough dreamlike fantasy to appeal to faerie-lovers and those who love folklore and myths; with enough dark moments to keep even the spookiest of Gothlings enthralled. My favourites are The Lion..., and The Silver Chair.
Cirque Du Freak by Darren Shan. Like Robin Jarvis, Darren Shan is a monster master, and it's hard to choose between his Vampire's Assistant series (don't be put off if you didn't like the movie, the books are better) and the Demonata. Actually, I think the Demonata series edges it for me, but Cirque Du Freak has vampires... take your pick.
Night World by L.J. Smith. I started buying the Night World books in early secondary school... my friends and I were all really into these vampire romances and are STILL waiting to get our hands on the last book in the series.
Wicca or Sweep by Cate Tiernan (same series, different names). A fascinating series about witchcraft, magick, romance, betrayal - and a token Goth girl named Raven. Of course.
Death: At Death's Door by Jill Thompson is a manga spin-off from Neil Gaiman's classic Sandman series of graphic novels, (eternal favourites in the Goth scene) aimed specifically at younger readers. Gorgeous artwork, and an unusually light-hearted introduction to Neil Gaiman's very dark world.
I also used to enjoy the Goosebumps, Shivers and Point Horror collections - even if they did give me nightmares (yes, I was a big wuss. Still am, actually).
Nowadays, my favourite young adult books include:
The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
Coraline by Neil Gaiman
Vampire Kisses by Ellen Schrieber
Kimmie66 by Aaron Alexovich
Emily the Strange: The Lost Days by Rob Reger
Clubbing by Andi Watson and Josh Howard
Missing Abby by Lee Weatherly
I am a great fan of books which feature a 'token Goth' character, which nowadays is about 98% of what's lurking on the Young Adult shelves. However, token Goths can be divided into three categories - the good, the bad, and the seriously 2D... probably my favourite token Goth that I have recently come across is Sylv in An Urgent Message of Wowness by Karen McCrombie, who is a very sweet, smart, and exceptionally believeable perkygoth. I loved reading about her, and I'm supposed to be an adult...
Changeling by Steve Feasey features a very average Goth girl whose name I have forgotten, but is still worth a read if you're into werewolves, vampires, djinns or sorcery.
The Adventures of Fan Boy and Goth Girl by Barry Lyga is an infinitely popular comic, but I am highly dubious about it due to the suicidal tendencies of its main Goth character, Kyra. Can we move on from these stereotypes, please, people?
For dark fantasy lovers and those who like their fairy tales served with a side of spooky, I recommend:
Heretic by Sarah Singleton
The Spiderwick Chronicles by Holly Black
Poison by Chris Wooding
Verdigris Deep by Frances Hardinge
Wondrous Strange by Leslie Livingston
I have not read any of the following, but I am sure that many of them will appeal to a young Goth audience:
My Sister The Vampire by Sienna Mercer
Eyetooth by Frank Rodgers
Blood Sinister by Celia Rees
Gothic Goddess by Carrie Bright
Skulduggery Pleasant by Derek Landy.
Uncle Montague's Tales of Terror by Chris Priestley
Nightmare Academy by Dean Lorey
The Bone Magician by F.E. Higgins
Crow Girl by Kate Cann
Shadowmancer by G.P. Taylor
The Thornethwaite Inheritance by Gareth P. Jones
Mortlock by John Mayhew
Ghostgirl by Tonya Hurley
Monster High by Lisi Harrison
The Ghost and the Goth by Stacey Kade
Diary of a Wimpy Vampire by Tim Collins
The Raven Mysteries by Marcus Sedgwick