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Thread: Southern Gothic YA Books

  1. #1
    Bless Your Heart southbel's Avatar
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    Southern Gothic YA Books

    Still working on new ideas for next WIP. Being Southern (born and raised!), I have a great interest in Southern Gothic. Problem is that most of the SG I've read is not contemporary (I've read all the classics, yes). I figure it's best to read as much as I can on the genre before I attempt writing it.

    Yes, I know about the Beautiful Creatures books and have read them. Did not care for them as they were not even remotely authentic for the area the authors were trying to portray. Nonetheless, I am looking for other Southern Gothic YA books.

    Anyone have any recommendations?

  2. #2
    practical experience, FTW MrsBrommers's Avatar
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    Blood Magic by Tessa Gratton, The Monstrumologist by Rick Yancey (though more classical Gothic), Texas Gothic by Rosemary Clement-Moore, and Shadowed Summer all haves some Southern Gothic elements, though there are still paranormal elements in them. Which is fine since a fair number of classical Southern Gothics contain the paranormal. If you're looking for Gothics without the paranormal or otherwise fantastic edge, you're going to be hard-pressed since the supernatural is a key element of the genre.
    A MURDER OF MAGPIES (YA Gothic; coming September 2014 from Month9Books)
    YA Gothic Murder Mystery/Horror: 30/70K
    YA Gothic Horror (rewrite hell per editorial feedback)
    Magical realism (off with awesome agent)

    http://www.sarah-bromley.com
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  3. #3
    we're gonna make it out of the fire The_Ink_Goddess's Avatar
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    Not YA, sadly, but SHARP OBJECTS & DARK PLACES by Gillian Flynn
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  4. #4
    practical experience, FTW JBuck's Avatar
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    Shrapnel by Stephanie Lawton.

  5. #5
    Bless Your Heart southbel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MrsBrommers View Post
    Blood Magic by Tessa Gratton, The Monstrumologist by Rick Yancey (though more classical Gothic), Texas Gothic by Rosemary Clement-Moore, and Shadowed Summer all haves some Southern Gothic elements, though there are still paranormal elements in them. Which is fine since a fair number of classical Southern Gothics contain the paranormal. If you're looking for Gothics without the paranormal or otherwise fantastic edge, you're going to be hard-pressed since the supernatural is a key element of the genre.
    Do you think all modern Southern Gothic needs a supernatural element? I ask because the idea I have in mind just has good old-fashioned craziness, murder, and mystery. It would be hard to add a supernatural element to the story.

  6. #6
    Shooting stars. lolchemist's Avatar
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    I FREAKING LOVE Southern Gothic and would love to see it played well in YA. Beautiful Creatures sucked! I would also love to see a BLACK GIRL MC in a Southern Gothic novel.

    Anyway, I'm no agent so who cares what I want? Have you seen Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil and The Skeleton Key? The former is a book too.

    The only YA book I remember reading is this one. I remember liking it (about 4-stars worth) but can't remember much about it.

    http://www.amazon.com/Ruined-A-Novel...pr_product_top

    Current WIP (YA Contemporary) - Book 1: 32,958 of 90,000 X Book 2: 40,359 of 90,000
    Current WIP (YA Fantasy) - Book 1: 68,055 of 75,000 x Book 2:
    10,512 of 75,000
    x Book 3:
    09,962 of 75,000 x Book 4:
    12,490 of 75,000

  7. #7
    Bless Your Heart southbel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lolchemist View Post
    I FREAKING LOVE Southern Gothic and would love to see it played well in YA. Beautiful Creatures sucked! I would also love to see a BLACK GIRL MC in a Southern Gothic novel.

    Anyway, I'm no agent so who cares what I want? Have you seen Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil and The Skeleton Key? The former is a book too.

    The only YA book I remember reading is this one. I remember liking it (about 4-stars worth) but can't remember much about it.

    http://www.amazon.com/Ruined-A-Novel...pr_product_top
    Yes, very familiar with Midnight. Funny enough, even though I live WAY up north here in Charleston now, I hail from South Georgia. I knew some of those characters in that book and the best I can say - they were represented accurately and perhaps a bit tamer than in real life even.

    So glad to see someone else hated Beautiful Creatures. I really do detest the book - was full of stereotypical garbage. Sounded more like Hollywood's version of the South rather than the real thing.

    Haven't read Skeleton Key but saw the movie. Have to put that one on the list too.

  8. #8
    Always lurking, never posting... LadyA's Avatar
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    I was going to suggest TEXAS GOTHIC but it's already been said. I love gothic, so long as it's contemp/contemp with ghosts. Not really a fan of BEAUTIFUL CREATURES.

    Does anyone know of any Gothic YA set in southern England? Like, as rural and traditional as the South in the US, but with British characters and folklore, and older houses?

    If not, would anyone be interested in it if someone wrote it? *seriously tempted*
    Amy x

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  9. #9
    Shooting stars. lolchemist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LadyA View Post
    I was going to suggest TEXAS GOTHIC but it's already been said. I love gothic, so long as it's contemp/contemp with ghosts. Not really a fan of BEAUTIFUL CREATURES.

    Does anyone know of any Gothic YA set in southern England? Like, as rural and traditional as the South in the US, but with British characters and folklore, and older houses?

    If not, would anyone be interested in it if someone wrote it? *seriously tempted*
    YES DO IT PLZ!!!!

    I kind of want to see Gothic be the next *vampires* - not Hot Topic mall-goth, obviously but the Edgar Allen Poe-ish, Southern Gothicky kind! Done right, it would sell like crazy! I have an MG one that I'm kicking around in the back of my head but I have so many other projects working that it has to wait. Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events was very well received so I think we all have a good chance of making it happen either in YA or MG!

    Current WIP (YA Contemporary) - Book 1: 32,958 of 90,000 X Book 2: 40,359 of 90,000
    Current WIP (YA Fantasy) - Book 1: 68,055 of 75,000 x Book 2:
    10,512 of 75,000
    x Book 3:
    09,962 of 75,000 x Book 4:
    12,490 of 75,000

  10. #10
    Bless Your Heart southbel's Avatar
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    Maybe we should have the AW YA Gothic Society?

    I do LOVE some Southern Gothic but I cut my teeth on late 19th century English Gothics. So, either one would be a great fit into YA. Genuinely, I would love for gothic to be the next big thing. I worry that I have the chops to write it because I have a tendency to be happy, smiley in my writing. But, lord I would definitely read it if someone wrote some!

  11. #11
    practical experience, FTW MrsBrommers's Avatar
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    Another book I forgot to mention was FROST by Marianna Baer. I very much enjoyed that one. Creepy without being overtly supernatural.

    Quote Originally Posted by southbel View Post
    Do you think all modern Southern Gothic needs a supernatural element? I ask because the idea I have in mind just has good old-fashioned craziness, murder, and mystery. It would be hard to add a supernatural element to the story.
    What you're talking about is more grotesque than Gothic, though the grotesque is certainly an element of Southern Gothicism. No, you don't need to have supernatural elements, just be aware that supernaturalism is part of Gothicism in general. For instance, several of Poe's stories aren't supernatural at all. The difference between Southern Gothicism and classical Gothicism is that in traditional, the supernatural is just there and designed to elicit the reader's emotional response. In Southern Gothicism, the supernatural is used as a commentary on social issues. If you don't want to put in a supernatural element because it would be shoe-horned into the story, by all means don't do it. As long as the other Southern Gothic elements are in place, you'd be all right. I'd read some Shirley Jackson and Flannery O'Connor for reference points.

    Someone asked if there are any Gothics set in rural England. I haven't read many YA ones set in rural England. Most occur on a large manor or boarding school. IMMORTAL by Gillian Shields is one such book. A non-YA example would be JAMAICA INN by Daphne du Maurier.

    My editor and I joke that my book is a northern Gothic, many of the hallmarks of Southern Gothicism but set about as far north in Wisconsin as you can get during a bitter, cold winter. That one is a Gothic paranormal romance and deals heavily in societal outcasts. The current book I'm writing is non-paranormal but very much a Southern Gothic horror. My agent and I agreed that the story can give the illusion than something supernatural may be going on but isn't. It's brought out in the characters' beliefs and superstitions.
    A MURDER OF MAGPIES (YA Gothic; coming September 2014 from Month9Books)
    YA Gothic Murder Mystery/Horror: 30/70K
    YA Gothic Horror (rewrite hell per editorial feedback)
    Magical realism (off with awesome agent)

    http://www.sarah-bromley.com
    http://www.twitter.com/Sarah_Bromley
    http://www.facebook.com/authorsarahbromley

  12. #12
    Moonshade lauralam's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LadyA View Post
    I was going to suggest TEXAS GOTHIC but it's already been said. I love gothic, so long as it's contemp/contemp with ghosts. Not really a fan of BEAUTIFUL CREATURES.

    Does anyone know of any Gothic YA set in southern England? Like, as rural and traditional as the South in the US, but with British characters and folklore, and older houses?

    If not, would anyone be interested in it if someone wrote it? *seriously tempted*
    I'm writing a Gothic YA set in the Scottish highlands.
    False Hearts (2016, Macmillan/Tor)
    Shattered Minds (2017, Macmillan/Tor)

    Micah Grey:
    Pantomime (2015/2016, Tor UK)
    Shadowplay (2015/2016, Tor UK)
    Masquerade (2017, Tor UK)
    Vestigial Tales (2014, self-published)

    Website / Twitter / Goodreads

  13. #13
    Always lurking, never posting... LadyA's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lauralam View Post
    I'm writing a Gothic YA set in the Scottish highlands.
    Awesome! *mentally adds lauralam's WIP to TBR pile*.

    I love writing books set in the countryside, in tiny rural villages or in towns surrounded by woodland, or like my WIP which is set on a tiny island. I feel like if I did get published, people would get bored of reading about rural kids and the countryside. But there's something so all-encompassing, haunting, about the isolation of the countryside, and the way everyone knows everyone else and their secrets.
    If I did a gothic YA, it would have to be set somewhere rural, so I'm torn!!
    Amy x

    DEC - YA Contemp

    H&Y&NM - YA Contemp

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  14. #14
    Bless Your Heart southbel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MrsBrommers View Post
    Another book I forgot to mention was FROST by Marianna Baer. I very much enjoyed that one. Creepy without being overtly supernatural.



    What you're talking about is more grotesque than Gothic, though the grotesque is certainly an element of Southern Gothicism. No, you don't need to have supernatural elements, just be aware that supernaturalism is part of Gothicism in general. For instance, several of Poe's stories aren't supernatural at all. The difference between Southern Gothicism and classical Gothicism is that in traditional, the supernatural is just there and designed to elicit the reader's emotional response. In Southern Gothicism, the supernatural is used as a commentary on social issues. If you don't want to put in a supernatural element because it would be shoe-horned into the story, by all means don't do it. As long as the other Southern Gothic elements are in place, you'd be all right. I'd read some Shirley Jackson and Flannery O'Connor for reference points.

    Someone asked if there are any Gothics set in rural England. I haven't read many YA ones set in rural England. Most occur on a large manor or boarding school. IMMORTAL by Gillian Shields is one such book. A non-YA example would be JAMAICA INN by Daphne du Maurier.

    My editor and I joke that my book is a northern Gothic, many of the hallmarks of Southern Gothicism but set about as far north in Wisconsin as you can get during a bitter, cold winter. That one is a Gothic paranormal romance and deals heavily in societal outcasts. The current book I'm writing is non-paranormal but very much a Southern Gothic horror. My agent and I agreed that the story can give the illusion than something supernatural may be going on but isn't. It's brought out in the characters' beliefs and superstitions.
    So the idea I have is there is this house with a very dark past. New people move to town and odd things start to happen. The reader questions whether it is a ghost, etc but in reality, it's a person manipulating the MC's perceptions.

    Thus, I think this falls into the Southern Gothic realm (small Southern town, crumbling house with dark history, questionable and at times crazy characters). However, there is no paranormal element even though the reader may at times think there is one.

    Does that fall into grotesque or gothic then? I've understood grotesque to be more in line with Poe and gothic to be more in line with O'Connor stylistically.

  15. #15
    practical experience, FTW MrsBrommers's Avatar
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    You'd fall into Southern Gothic for sure, and that is how you would present it in a query. Some of the characters and setting would be grotesque. The grotesque is a symptom of the Gothic, so yeah, Poe's a Gothic but characters are frequently grotesque. I personally thing O'Connor does grotesque characters better, particularly in "A Good Man is Hard to Find." Grotesque characters are those that make you uneasy and yet still strike some chord of sympathy in the reader. Grotesque as a setting is the decayed and crumbling world that disturbs the characters and reader while still evoking a sadness if it were to disappear, ie the House of Usher.
    A MURDER OF MAGPIES (YA Gothic; coming September 2014 from Month9Books)
    YA Gothic Murder Mystery/Horror: 30/70K
    YA Gothic Horror (rewrite hell per editorial feedback)
    Magical realism (off with awesome agent)

    http://www.sarah-bromley.com
    http://www.twitter.com/Sarah_Bromley
    http://www.facebook.com/authorsarahbromley

  16. #16
    Moonshade lauralam's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LadyA View Post
    Awesome! *mentally adds lauralam's WIP to TBR pile*.

    I love writing books set in the countryside, in tiny rural villages or in towns surrounded by woodland, or like my WIP which is set on a tiny island. I feel like if I did get published, people would get bored of reading about rural kids and the countryside. But there's something so all-encompassing, haunting, about the isolation of the countryside, and the way everyone knows everyone else and their secrets.
    If I did a gothic YA, it would have to be set somewhere rural, so I'm torn!!
    I think having that sense of being removed from the bustle of a city can make the story timeless. And someone can't come for help as easily, and the isolation really adds to the spookiness. Write it!
    False Hearts (2016, Macmillan/Tor)
    Shattered Minds (2017, Macmillan/Tor)

    Micah Grey:
    Pantomime (2015/2016, Tor UK)
    Shadowplay (2015/2016, Tor UK)
    Masquerade (2017, Tor UK)
    Vestigial Tales (2014, self-published)

    Website / Twitter / Goodreads

  17. #17
    Benefactor Member TaintedBoo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MrsBrommers View Post
    I personally thing O'Connor does grotesque characters better, particularly in "A Good Man is Hard to Find." Grotesque characters are those that make you uneasy and yet still strike some chord of sympathy in the reader. Grotesque as a setting is the decayed and crumbling world that disturbs the characters and reader while still evoking a sadness if it were to disappear, ie the House of Usher.
    I did a rewrite of A Good Man is Hard to Find for an English Lit project back in college. It's still one of my favorite short stories. I thought the characters in Good Country People were a perfect example of this as well.

    I love Gothic novels, and would love to see them become a trend in YA.

  18. #18
    Moonshade lauralam's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TaintedBoo View Post
    I did a rewrite of A Good Man is Hard to Find for an English Lit project back in college. It's still one of my favorite short stories. I thought the characters in Good Country People were a perfect example of this as well.

    I love Gothic novels, and would love to see them become a trend in YA.
    Those were some of my favourite stories I studied in uni.

    I also took a Gothic class and we studied:
    Grimm fairy tales (as precursors)
    The Castle of Otranto
    Elizabeth Glaskell short stories
    Frankenstein
    Northanger Abbey
    False Hearts (2016, Macmillan/Tor)
    Shattered Minds (2017, Macmillan/Tor)

    Micah Grey:
    Pantomime (2015/2016, Tor UK)
    Shadowplay (2015/2016, Tor UK)
    Masquerade (2017, Tor UK)
    Vestigial Tales (2014, self-published)

    Website / Twitter / Goodreads

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