Book Title & Alexandra's Review

Nightbooks by J.A. White


Let’s start this marathon of horror with a creepy, spine-tingling thriller!

6th Grade and Up


Alex has loved scary stories his whole life.

He never imagined he’d be trapped in one.

When Alex sneaks out in the middle of the night, he becomes imprisoned by the witch Natacha in her magical apartment. Another child in the apartment, Yasmin, assures Alex that she’s already tried every means of escape. Only Natacha holds the bonekeys that lead back to their world, and she’ll never part from them.

But Natacha likes stories. And Alex’s only chance for survival is to keep Natacha satisfied by reading her one of his own hair-raising tales each night. But Alex is running out of time—and original stories—and he’s desperate for a way out of this twisted place.

Alex has loved scary stories his whole life.

He knows most don’t have a happy ending . . .


A haunting modern spin on the Scheherazade story. For those of you who don’t know the story of Scheherazade, here’s a short summary:

A king, who ruled over a Persian Empire, found out that his first wife was unfaithful to him. He then started marrying a new woman each day as well as beheading the previous day’s wife, so that she wouldn’t have a chance to be unfaithful. Scheherazade, daughter of the vizier (fancy word for the political advisor), volunteered to spend one night with the king. To stay alive, Scheherazade told the king a different story each night and stopped in the middle, so he had to keep her around to find out how it ended. After 1,001 nights and 1,000 stories, the king had fallen in love with Scheherazade. He spared her life and made her his queen. The end.

There’s a shorter summary of this story in the book, but I wanted to give you a more detailed version. Sorry if I’m overexplaining. I just really enjoyed the book’s references to Scheherazade. Anyway . . .


What makes this a great scary story is that everything that Alex goes through is genuinely terrifying. What’s scarier than being captured by a witch and kept as their prisoner? This is why I love middle-school horror stories. They have truly frightening scenarios. Horror movies these days have too much mindless death and gore. That’s not so much scary as it is disturbing.


I hated how Alex kept saying he wanted to be normal because his classmates teased him for liking scary and dark things. Normal people seldom make history. I understand why some adults would be concerned about a child writing scary stories, but as long as those dark, twisted thoughts stay on paper, I think the kid will be fine.


Not only is this an ideal book for readers of scary stories, but it’s also great for budding new writers since it’s about creating stories. For those of you who plan on reading this book but aren’t familiar with the art of story writing, let me give you a little insight. As a blog writer, artist, and published author of a children’s picture book, I know quite a bit about this subject. For one thing, you can’t force brilliance. It doesn’t matter if you are surrounded by distractions or sitting in silence. Sometimes nothing comes to you. I get writer’s block all the time. The best way to get past it is to try to work on something else or take a break from writing altogether.


2022 Update: I was surprised and thrilled when I learned that Netflix was releasing a film based on the book. The special effects were excellent and stayed fairly true to the original source material. I give it two thumbs up.


This week’s Weird but True Fact about Famous Horror-film Director Alfred Hitchcock

Alfred Hitchcock was afraid of eggs.

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