My Swordhand is Singing by Marcus Sedgwick

Recommended by Jennifer Webb (@FunkyPedagogy)

Form and genre: gothic novel

Length: 224 pages

Summary: Pacey gothic novel set in a remote woodland village in Eastern Europe. The village is beset by a plague of vampires and a young man discovers the truth about his father’s past.

Age recommendation and challenging content: Some imagery of suicide (in the story it is actually a murder made to look like suicide, but still graphic). Includes forced marriage. Depiction of gypsies/travellers which requires consideration in how to approach with an appropriate critical lens and cultural sensitivity. Would recommend for Y9.

Notable reasons for recommending this book: Really great text – thoroughly engaging, challenging language and an excellent introduction to thriller/mystery and The Gothic.

Other helpful information: This is the first in a series, and Sedgwick has written some other really excellent YA novels which would be good additions to a school library.