Masque of the Red Death: Edgar Allan Poe in YA

Posted May 4, 2012 by 3 Comments

Masque of the Read Death by Bethany Griffin may be the newest YA title to pay homage to Edgar Allan Poe, but it’s not the only one.

In 2010, Nevermore by Kelly Creagh was released and Poe fans, teachers, and YA readers rejoiced. Okay, that may be a stretch, but it was well-received (read our review) and fans have been salivating for the long-awaited sequel, Enshadowed, which drops August 28.

Here’s the synopsis of Nevermore:

Cheerleader Isobel Lanley is horrified when she is paired with Varen Nethers for an English project, which is due—so unfair—on the day of the rival game. Cold and aloof, sardonic and sharp-tongued, Varen makes it clear he’d rather not have anything to do with her either. But when Isobel discovers strange writing in his journal, she can’t help but give this enigmatic boy with the piercing eyes another look.

Soon, Isobel finds herself making excuses to be with Varen. Steadily pulled away from her friends and her possessive boyfriend, Isobel ventures deeper and deeper into the dream world Varen has created through the pages of his notebook, a realm where the terrifying stories of Edgar Allan Poe come to life.

As her world begins to unravel around her, Isobel discovers that dreams, like words, hold more power than she ever imagined, and that the most frightening realities are those of the mind. Now she must find a way to reach Varen before he is consumed by the shadows of his own nightmares.

His life depends on it.

And here’s the tantalizing teaser for Enshadowed:

 While Varen remains a prisoner in a perilous dream world where the terrifying stories of Edgar Allan Poe come to life, Isobel travels to Baltimore to confront the dark figure known throughout the world as the Poe Toaster. This man, the same man who once appeared to Isobel in her dreams and abandoned her in Varen’s nightmare world, holds the key to saving Varen.

But when Isobel discovers a way to return to this dream world, she finds herself swept up in a realm that not only holds remnants of Edgar Allan Poe’s presence, but has also now taken on the characteristics of Varen’s innermost self. It is a dark world of fear, terror, and anger.

Varen is changed. And now Isobel must face a new adversary—one who also happens to be her greatest love.

And last year, the following appeared in Publishers Weekly:

SHATTERED SOULS author Mary Lindsey’s ANNABEL, pitched as a dark retelling of Poe’s final poem Annabel Lee, pitting a pair of star-crossed lovers in a doomed struggle with forces of ancient malice and evil …

And in an interview, Lindsay had this to say:
Annabel is a modern gothic YA based on Edgar Allan Poe’s last poem, “Annabel Lee.” There are elements from Celtic mythology thrown into the mix, but I’ve stayed true to the voice, tone, and storyline of the poem, with nods to other Poe works throughout the story. Annabel is what some folks would call a “book of the heart.” I’m passionate about it. It has it all for me: murder mystery, gothic elements, horror, a painfully intelligent protagonist trapped by his past, and an impossible love affair. It’s not a typical YA romance and writing it is a thrill.

So it looks like we’ll have another YA/Poe homage to look forward to in 2013.

Do you know of any other YA books that reference Poe and his works? Let us know in the comments.

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3 responses to “Masque of the Red Death: Edgar Allan Poe in YA

  1. I LOVE Kelly Creagh. We live 15 minutes from one another, and are in a critique group together (I did not critique Nevermore or Enshadowed, and she didn’t critique Masque, though she has seen chapters of book 2). Love her books, bewildered by the coincidence of the two of us living in Louisville!

    And I’m also very excited for Mary’s book, it sounds fantastic, and she is so nice!

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