A world in which trolls are a real thing, and a dangerous thing: wouldn’t you be intrigued by the very idea? The book is called Shapeshifters, by Stefan Spjut, and the trolls in this book aren’t the cute toys with long hair you remember from childhood. These are the scary giant creatures that lurk on the outskirts of the civilized world in Scandinavian folklore, and the premise of the book is that they’re still around, and there are people who are protecting them even now, as children mysteriously disappear. One woman, Susso Myren, has a photograph, and is determined to prove that the trolls are real and are taking children in the north of Sweden, though the trolls’ protectors are equally determined to keep her from bringing their secrets to light. Be warned, this book is set in Sweden and the names are Swedish, but the writing is so clear and vivid, bringing this world to life, that after a while you won’t notice the unusual names.
On a lighter note, there’s Letters to Zell, by Camille Griep, which takes fairy tale characters Cinderella, Snow White, Sleeping Beauty and Repunzel and considers what happened to them after their “happy ever afters”. When Zell (Rapunzel) skips out of Grimmland to pursue her dreams without regard to her fairy tale, the others are left a bit nonplussed and wondering about their own lives. Should CeCi (Cinderella) become a professional chef? Is there some way Bianca (Snow White, of course) could escape her engagement to a platonic friend? And what about Rory (Sleeping Beauty)? Can she make her boorish husband love her? The book is written in the form of letters each character’s writing to Zell, in funny, modern, wise-guy language (worth reading just for their take on Disney versions of their fairy tales), and is the perfect light reading for long hot summer days.
Or we could go to the world of 1970’s New York City, home to punks, stuntpeople and, apparently, tar monsters living in the sewers, and angels and demons interfering with human behavior in The Unnoticeables by Robert Brockway. Kaitlyn, a stuntwoman, is driven to investigate what’s going on when one of her friends disappears, a former teen heartthrob tries to eat her, and an angel appears outside her apartment. She teams up with Carey, a punk whose friends are being abducted by strange kids with unnoticeable faces and whose interest in drinking and asskickings is being interrupted by tar monsters and demons, and the two of them fight to save the human race. With these guys as the defenders of humanity, we may well be in deeper trouble than we know.