Giveaways Inspirations and Influences

The Poison Diaries: A Book Smuggler on Location (& a Giveaway)

A few weeks ago, our UK HQ received what can only be described as the coolest book-related invitation ever. To celebrate the release of Nightshade, the sequel to The Poison Diaries, I was to be whisked away to Alnwick Castle in the North of England and take part in a two-day event visiting the locations featured in the books. I had visited Alnwick Castle before on a trip to Northumberland but the opportunity to actually stay on the Castle was too good to pass so I thought HELL YES, gracefully (read: as fast as I could press “send”) accepted the invitation and embarked on this journey. I was not prepared for how awesome it would be.

But first, a bit of background. The first book, The Poison Diaries was released in 2010 and was written by Maryrose Wood based on a concept by the Duchess of Northumberland. I actually have had the book on my TBR for ages and I read it a few days ago as preparation for the trip. The book follows the story of Jessamine Luxton, a young woman who lives with her father in a cottage within the grounds of Alnwick Castle and the story is set towards the end of the 18th century. Jessamine’s father is a respected apothecary obsessed with plants and their curative (or killing) powers. His most prized possession is his poison garden which he keeps locked – much to Jessamine’s discontent as ever since she was little she has wanted to visit the garden and see for herself this side of her father’s life. The two live in isolation until one day they are joined by an orphaned boy called Weed. Weed has a very special gift – he can communicate with any living plant and Jessamine’s father becomes obsessed with this extraordinary power.

The book is pretty good. Its main theme is the uneasy dichotomy between the power to cure and to kill (which all the characters to one extension or another have) as well as the examination of how far one person would go for love (love for another person or love of knowledge). It almost reads like a fairytale and is probably one of the darkest examples of YA I ever read – the ending is absolutely shocking.

I am really glad I was able to read the book before the event because visiting the places that inspired the story was super cool. The first book-related stop was at the ruins of Hulne Abbey, the ruins of a medieval Carmelite monastery. In the middle of the abbey grounds stands a cottage, converted from the abbey’s church – this is where Jessamine and her father live in the book:

We were joined at this point by the Duchess who talked about how she has always been fascinated by the power of plants – it was a very interesting intro to the proceedings. We also got to talk to a couple of historians who work at the Castle who told us all about the history of the Abbey and the monks who lived there. History geek that I am, I was in heaven and took the opportunity to ask as many questions as I could (the conservation work that they do there is AMAZING).

Over the course of that afternoon and evening we visited the grounds of the Castle as well as the Castle’s library – where Jessamine’s father usually goes to research about plants. This is one of the books that he might have come across in one of those visits:

The Compleat Herbal: or, The Botanical Institutions of Mr Tournefort, 1730.

And of course, the event would not be complete without a visit to the Poison Garden – created by the Duchess, part of the awesome Alnwick Garden and the main inspiration for the story.

Behind its locked gates are many deadly plants, including Oleander, the Prince of Poisons (and one of the Villains of the book). It is so deadly, it is kept in a cage:

As a book-related event, this rocked my world. It is not always that one has the opportunity to visit the places that inspire a story and I had a really wonderful time – not only because of the sightseeing and the opportunity to spend the night at an Actual.Medieval.Castle but also because of all the cool bloggers that attended the event. One of the highlights was definitely chatting about books with a bunch of awesome people in the courtyard of the Castle till midnight.

Giveaway Details:

And because this was so awesome and the book is so good and deserving of more spotlight than it ever got, I am going to give away TWO copies of The Poison Diaries (you can read more about the book HERE) to two lucky winners.

To enter, leave a comment telling us which is your favourite Dark YA novel. Contest is open to EVERYBODY, ANYWHERE and runs till Saturday August 6th, 11:59 PM (PST). Only one entry per person, please! Multiple comments will be disqualified. Good luck!


  • brendaC
    July 30, 2011 at 12:33 am

    I haven’t read very many YA so I haven’t got a favourite, but this one sounds intriguing.

  • Lenore
    July 30, 2011 at 12:41 am

    Can’t be darker than Bleeding Violet can it?

  • Carol Thompson
    July 30, 2011 at 12:43 am

    I book I consider dark and that I enjoyed is Sister Light, Sister Dark, by Jane Yolen

    THanks for the giveaway.

    Carol T

  • Rachel
    July 30, 2011 at 1:48 am

    I’m not sure if it is YA but the Gentlemen Bastards series is dark, extremely imaginative and well-written.

  • Vivienne
    July 30, 2011 at 1:55 am

    It looks like you had a fabulous time.

  • Beth F
    July 30, 2011 at 2:57 am

    I am just about to start Bleeding Violet and I’m told that’s pretty much going to be my darkest YA. I love that garden. I used to have an extensive herb garden (including medicinal herbs, not just cooking herbs). I love that oleander cage.

  • Martha M.
    July 30, 2011 at 3:04 am

    What I consider to be the darkest YA I’ve ever read was Flowers In the Attic. I read it as a teenager and it still makes me shudder when I think about it. lol

  • Birgit
    July 30, 2011 at 3:23 am

    I haven’t read that many YA novels myself, but the darkest aka scariest must have been “The Long Weekend” by Savita Kalhan.

  • Lucybird
    July 30, 2011 at 3:31 am

    I’m not a big reader of YA but this one sounds really good.

  • Claudia K
    July 30, 2011 at 3:56 am

    So interesting! My favourite Dark YA is definitely Bleeding Violet.

  • Gerd D.
    July 30, 2011 at 4:05 am

    Night Calls , by Katherine Eliska Kimbriel.
    Loved that book.

  • Stephanie
    July 30, 2011 at 4:07 am

    Hi, thanks for the giveaway! 🙂
    It sounds great!

  • Yiota
    July 30, 2011 at 4:16 am

    Hmmm…i don’t think i have read one. Not that i know how to recognize all those genres :/


  • parris
    July 30, 2011 at 4:20 am

    Bleeding violet. Just an amazing dark YA book

  • Parris
    July 30, 2011 at 4:20 am

    Bleeding violet. Just an amazing dark YA book.

  • kara-karina
    July 30, 2011 at 5:18 am

    I’m not sure. I loved Numbers 2: Chaos by Rachel Ward, Angel’s Fury by Bryony Pearce, Infinity Days by Rebecca Maizel… they are all darker YA.

  • Katie
    July 30, 2011 at 6:08 am

    Maybe Mr. Monster? That got kind of dark near the end for a YA novel.

  • Lindsay Elizabeth
    July 30, 2011 at 6:35 am

    Hands down, The Demon’s Lexicon by Sarah Rees Brennan. It’s the only book where I doubted a twist was coming because I thought she just wouldn’t go there.

  • Lilith
    July 30, 2011 at 7:14 am

    Have you ever read Delirium by Lauren Oliver?

  • Rachel R
    July 30, 2011 at 7:25 am

    I would have to slay “Slice of Cherry” has been one of the darkest I’ve ever read. Sounds like an awesome trip! Thanks for sharing!

  • Maria Clara
    July 30, 2011 at 8:00 am

    I just adore Libba Bray´s A Great and Terrible Beauty and the following novels.
    I am really excited to win The Poison Diaries!!!

  • Sabrina
    July 30, 2011 at 8:10 am

    I did enjoy Bleeding Violet as well. I can’t say it is my favorite because I haven’t read enough dark YA yet. I’m working to correct that though 🙂

  • Lexi
    July 30, 2011 at 8:12 am

    I love books on herbs. I grew all sorts of strange plants growing up that I found in a book of herb lore. My favorite dark fantasy would be Chronicles of Elantra series (does that count as YA?)

  • curiousnomad
    July 30, 2011 at 8:16 am

    the original POISON DIARIES (picture book) by the duchess.
    other than that — the WIKKELING comes to mind.

  • April
    July 30, 2011 at 8:23 am

    What an awesome experience and cool giveaway. I love the picture of the poison garden and I really am going to have to read this book ASAP.

    In terms of dark YA fiction, I think I’d go with A Monster Calls or Wither.

  • Becci
    July 30, 2011 at 8:30 am

    My definition of dark may not be the same as everyone else’s but the darkest book I’ve ever read would probably be The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton. It’s ruthlessly realistic, violent and honest about the hardships sweet Ponyboy is forced to go through. It makes me cry every time.

  • Kristen
    July 30, 2011 at 8:44 am

    I’d probably go with the Monstrumologist series. Very dark. Can’t wait to read this one!

    dragonzgoil at gmail dot com

  • MarieC
    July 30, 2011 at 8:50 am

    I loved Numbers and Room (though I’m not sure if it was YA). Great giveaway!

  • Kah_Cherub
    July 30, 2011 at 9:08 am

    My favorite ‘dark YA author’ is Lauren DeStefano (I think Wither qualifies as dark because of the themes, right? 🙂 ).
    thank you for the chance!

  • Shellie
    July 30, 2011 at 9:21 am

    This is a great idea for a contest. After reading everyones comments I added three books to my “to-read” list!

    I really liked Unwind by Neal Shusterman It’s set in a world where adults can have troubled children “unwound” between their 13th and 18th birthdays and their body parts recycled. According the the authors web site it’s being made into a movie. It’s definitely a dark and disturbing YA book

  • ThisViewOfMine
    July 30, 2011 at 9:22 am

    Huh.. I haven’t read much YA but I LOVE ’13 Reasons Why’… I think the subject of that book is dark.

  • Josephine
    July 30, 2011 at 9:54 am

    Poison by Chris Wooding

  • hannah mariska
    July 30, 2011 at 10:24 am

    tough question…not sure which of the YA books I’ve read would be classed as dark, so I’ll go with The Left Hand of God.

  • Nafiza Azad
    July 30, 2011 at 10:31 am

    Oooh, I’d like to read this one. The darkest YA novel I’ve read in terms of it scaring the heck out of me might be Del-Del by Victor Kelleher but that might just be because it’s a horror novel and I read it when I was young. But if you were to define a dark novel as one that examines reality through tinted lenses, it would definitely be Tabitha Suzuma. As in the themes it deals with. Or The Hunger Games trilogy, which was a sobering reminder of just how horrible things can be. Or Birthmarked by Caragh. I could go on forever. Heh.

  • Alexandra
    July 30, 2011 at 10:53 am

    Tithe by Holly Black (That entire series really).

  • Deb B.
    July 30, 2011 at 11:04 am

    I adore the Monstrumologist series by Rick Yancey – darkness and violence and all.

  • Maya S
    July 30, 2011 at 11:22 am

    Definitely the “A Great and Terrible Beauty” books by Libba Bray. I sobbed my way through the last one.

  • Michelle
    July 30, 2011 at 11:36 am

    I would probably have to say The Queen of Attolia. Not to go into spoilers, but the way Megan Whalen Turner turned a barbaric act into something understandable, and redeemed the perpertrator, was simply magical.

  • Mary@The Sweet Bookshelf
    July 30, 2011 at 12:38 pm

    I live just 2 hrs from there! I wish I’d been invited! Sounds like you had a fab time. Looks amazing.

    I can’t say I’ve read much dark YA, but I’ll say that The Hunger Games was the most real and shocking book I’ve ever read. I think something like that could really happen. It was also very descriptive in the killings. I’d never read anything like that before.

    Crossing my fingers to win!

  • HollyG
    July 30, 2011 at 12:42 pm

    I’m going to go with the classic Sally Lockhart series by Philip Pullman. Nobody can transport you to the terrifying seedy underbelly of Victorian London quite like him. The baddies are actually pee-your-pants scary not to mention that moment in The Shadow in the North that actually made me cry.

  • Michelle
    July 30, 2011 at 12:44 pm

    THAT. IS SO. COOL!! Seriously, what an amazing event!! I’m so jealous that you got to stay in a castle!! The book also sounds quite good. I’ve seen it at the book store I work at and have always been kind of intrigued. I’m quite sold on it now.

    As for my favorite Dark YA book? Hmm, probably “We All Fall Down” by Robert Cormier. That book gave me the chills.

    Thank you for the wonderful contest! (:

  • Jennifer K.
    July 30, 2011 at 1:42 pm

    What an awesome opportunity! It sounds like it was a wonderful time.

    In terms of dark YA, I can think of two. The Hunger Games series, which was just…wow, dark. But also The Seven Deadly Sins series, by Robin Wasserman. While not everything was dark in that series, there were some dark gritty moments, made all the more dark because the series is set in the here and now, not some dystopian future, or historic past.

  • mazz @ words on the shelf
    July 30, 2011 at 1:45 pm

    Dark YA… Hmm does Starcrossed Josephine Angelini count? because thats my all time favourite YA at the moment.

  • Alli
    July 30, 2011 at 2:27 pm

    I’m not really sure what my favorite dark ya book is but I loved the Golden Compass series when I was a kid and I think that has some dark themes in it. Thanks for hosting the giveaway the book sounds really interesting!

  • Scattered Laura
    July 30, 2011 at 3:37 pm

    Entangled, by Cat Clarke was really dark in how realistically it dealt with depression, self harm and suicide. Great question and a fab giveaway. New follower here! 😀

  • Amy C
    July 30, 2011 at 5:09 pm

    Probably the Marbury Lens. That book was really creepy, and the whole thing had the possibility of having not existed, as the main character could’ve been hallucinating.

  • Victoria Zumbrum
    July 30, 2011 at 5:10 pm

    I love the Twilight series. Please enter me in contest. I would love to read this series. It sounds very good.

  • Ellie
    July 30, 2011 at 5:22 pm

    Mmmm, Dark YA… I’ll go with Infinite Days, by Rebecca Maizel. The parts where she remembers her life as a vampire are pretty dark.

    But, personally, the darkest (and sadest) book I ever read is Living Dead Girl, by Elisabeth Scott… I swear it gave me nightmares 😥

  • Ashleigh
    July 30, 2011 at 5:25 pm

    That sounds like such an amazing trip! I wish I could see the Poison Garden myself the way you did.

    My favorite dark YA… Oh, I don’t know how to choose between Slice of Cherry by Dia Reeves and Shine by Lauren Myracle! I think I’ll go with Shine. Yeah. That book was the kind of dark where I couldn’t sotp reading; Slice of Cherry was so dark that I got uncomfortable and I had to put it down multiple times, effectively disrupting my reading experience. And I’m not that sqeamish.

  • Scribe Kira
    July 30, 2011 at 5:42 pm

    hmmm…i have so many! coming to mine, i can think of his dark matrials trilogy, the monstrumologust series, the chaos walking trilogy, and the hunger games. all of these series are amazing and pretty dark! i just can’t pick a favorite! thanks so much fpr the awesome giveaway!!!=o)

  • Lisa B.
    July 30, 2011 at 5:53 pm

    Bleeding Violet was quite dark! I am intrigued by this new book, so please enter me in the contest! (BTW, there’s lots of oleander where I live, and it is definitely “cage-free”! haha!)

  • Chris Bails
    July 30, 2011 at 5:55 pm

    I don’t think I have read many dark ya novel. I quess it would have to be Dragons Oath by PC & Kristin Cast.
    This book sounds great and would love to read it. Thanks for the giveaway and the chance to win.

  • Mary Preston
    July 30, 2011 at 6:01 pm

    “Thirteen Reasons Why” by Jay Asher. Not a book for everyone.


  • Breanne M.
    July 30, 2011 at 6:51 pm

    A lot of people have mentioned Bleeding Violet, which is on my TBR shelf, so once that’s read that’ll probably be the darkest. Looking forward to it now, and to The Poison Diaries.

  • Laura D.
    July 30, 2011 at 7:03 pm

    Yay! I haven’t read a ton of YA but I’d say The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan would be my pick.

  • Deserae McGlothen
    July 30, 2011 at 7:08 pm

    My favorite dark YA novel? I’m such a scary reader I sometimes jump when reading the Hardy Boys… I think the darkest thing I’ve ever read was WHITE CAT by Holly Black, and I never expected wanting to go any darker than that. But THE POISON DIARIES sounds good– it sounds different– and I’m glad to hear good things about it from The Book Smugglers because it sounds like something I ought to take a crack at.

    Thanks for the opportunity and recommendation,
    Deserae McGlothen

  • Llehn
    July 30, 2011 at 7:52 pm

    Bleeding Violet – Dia Reeves.

  • Thais Pampado
    July 30, 2011 at 8:26 pm

    My favorite dark YA novel is Cryer’s Cross by Lisa McMann.

  • SaraC
    July 30, 2011 at 8:37 pm

    Does Wicked Lovely by Melissa Marr count?

  • Stephanie K.
    July 30, 2011 at 8:52 pm

    Bleeding Violet

  • Brooke
    July 30, 2011 at 9:06 pm

    Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

  • Jill
    July 30, 2011 at 9:06 pm

    This book sounds awesome! I think my favorite dark ya is Sabriel by Garth Nix. Is that dark enough?

  • Bethie
    July 30, 2011 at 9:07 pm

    I think my fav dark YA novel was City of Bones. Thanks for the giveaway.

  • vvb
    July 30, 2011 at 9:15 pm

    sooo awesome — your book-related trip! next best would be to read this book ;-D
    dark ya novel pick for me would be Willow by Julia Hoban

  • Kimberly B.
    July 30, 2011 at 9:44 pm

    Oh, it’s hard to pick one, especially when there are so many different definitions of dark! But I think I’ll go with Peeps by Scott Westerfeld.
    Thanks for the great giveaway!

  • Kate & Zena
    July 30, 2011 at 9:48 pm

    I love the Gemma Doyle trilogy by Libba Bray. I consider it a dark Victorian fantasy YA novel.

  • Justine
    July 30, 2011 at 9:52 pm

    To me, Nothing by Janne Teller and Lord of the Flies by William Golding are dark YA. After reading this post, though, I’m definitely intrigued by dark fantasy! The Poison Diaries sounds like a perfect introduction to dark fantasy YA.

  • Janhvi Jagtap
    July 30, 2011 at 10:26 pm

    thanks for the giveaway and for making it international!!

    my favourite dark ya novel was bleeding voilet.

    Janhvi Jagtap

    justjanhvi at gmail dot com

  • Cristina
    July 30, 2011 at 10:38 pm

    I think the darkest book I have ever read is “Ghostwalk” by Rebbeca Stott, my boyfriend found it left behind at the airport (he works there) and thought I would like it. Its awesome! don’t really know if it qualifies as young adult though… it would be that or “Speaker for the Dead” by Orson Scott Card (one of my fave authors)

  • Bree Jordan
    July 30, 2011 at 11:04 pm

    Let’s see I guess my favorite YA book would be Wither by L Destefano(might have spelled that wrong, but my cuz is sleeping in the floor and I can’t get up to see my bookshelf lol) anyways the book has some crazy, gutwrenching, nerve wrecking things going on. It put me through the emotional gamete. I really hope I win this book!

  • ZoeRainDasher
    July 31, 2011 at 12:25 am

    My favourite ‘dark’ YA novel …Forbidden by Tabitha Suzuma. That book is so full of grief and lust and bittersweet love.


  • Sofia
    July 31, 2011 at 12:43 am

    I think my favorite dark YA is Bleeding Violet.Thanks for great contest!

  • Smugglers’ Stash: Middle Grade Appreciation Week | The Book Smugglers
    July 31, 2011 at 12:53 am

    […] The Poison Diaries: A Book Smuggler on Location (& a Giveaway) […]

  • The Book Memoirs (Elle)
    July 31, 2011 at 1:01 am

    I remain so completely jealous but I loved seeing the Twitter pictures and the comments from all of you guys who got the chance to go. I want to know what it felt like to be in Hogwarts, though! Did you get a chance to walk some of the famous corridors?

    I’d love a chance to win. I (shamefully) had actually not heard a thing about these books until you guys were spirited away! Glad to see you back and unpoisoned, however… 😈

  • The Book Memoirs (Elle)
    July 31, 2011 at 1:04 am

    Sigh. I pressed send without answering the question. I’m getting good at that this week. I blame it on Fred the new Arm Brace.

    My favourite dark YA title would probably have to be The Replacement. I know that we slightly disagree about the execution of this one but I loved Mackie so much that no lack of plot made a difference to me!

    (*posts again le sigh*) 😯

  • Bethany
    July 31, 2011 at 1:17 am

    Going to go with Unwind. Is that sufficiently dark? Maybe not, but it definitely had its moments.

  • Melliane
    July 31, 2011 at 3:28 am

    Oh this book seems really great ! I don’t know if it’s really a dark YA novel because i think i havn’t read some yet, but i would choose Numbers by Rachel Ward.

  • Jill
    July 31, 2011 at 3:52 am

    Bleeding Violet:))

  • debbie
    July 31, 2011 at 4:17 am

    I would say bleeding violet.

  • Audra Holtwick
    July 31, 2011 at 5:02 am

    Bleeding Violet

  • Lenka Gozorova
    July 31, 2011 at 5:09 am

    Bleeding Violet – Dia Reeves

  • Dovile
    July 31, 2011 at 6:42 am

    My favorite dark YA was Hunger by Jackie Morse Kessler. Thanks!

    spamscape [at] gmail [dot] com

  • Nicole Ramcharan
    July 31, 2011 at 6:52 am

    Yay, I love that so many people have read Bleeding Violet because I’m halfway through it right now (based on thebooksmugglers’ rec last year!) and want to just rave to everyone I know about how superbly written and fascinating it is. So I’m thinking it’s my pick too 🙂

    And that seems like an awesome event — thanks for the giveaway!

  • soc_puppet
    July 31, 2011 at 7:35 am

    I’d have to say Lord of the Flies

  • Dottie Taylor
    July 31, 2011 at 8:02 am

    I would have to say, Enclave by Ann Aguirre is my favorite dark YA read. I’m sure I’ve read others, but I loved Enclave.
    Hope you have a great and exciting time!

    Dottie 🙂

  • Maryam
    July 31, 2011 at 8:03 am

    I definitely have to go with The Replacement by Brenna Yovanoff

  • heather
    July 31, 2011 at 8:53 am

    I’ll have to go with “Ink Exchange” by Melissa Marr!

  • Jess (The Cozy Reader)
    July 31, 2011 at 11:45 am

    I tend to steer clear of the darkness but I’d have to say that ENCLAVE and THE FOREST OF HANDS AND TEETH were pretty dark for my tastes. Both were great reads but had me cringing in parts.

    Thanks for the giveaway!

    thecozyreader @

  • Rosie Nguy
    July 31, 2011 at 2:18 pm

    Wow…what an awesome opportunity you got! Reading about your visit has made me quite interested in the book. Please enter me in the giveaway. One of my favorite dark YA novels is The Dark Angel by Meredith Ann Pierce.

  • Julie Witt
    July 31, 2011 at 2:22 pm

    I just read Enclave and it was the best dark YA I’ve read to date (excluding the Lord of Flies, which was without a doubt the darkest book ever!) 🙂

  • mimz
    July 31, 2011 at 4:17 pm

    Hmmmm… I think I’d say Bleeding Violet.
    Thanks for the giveaway, The Poison Diaries sounds amazing.

  • Carly Waid
    July 31, 2011 at 4:28 pm

    Bleeding Violet? I think that would be my favorite!
    Thanks for the giveaway.
    -Carly Waid

  • Kay-Kay-Bay
    July 31, 2011 at 4:36 pm

    Does the Gone series count as dark? Considering how many people die, are tortured, etc., I would guess so.

  • Bigfoot24
    July 31, 2011 at 5:45 pm

    My favorite Dark YA novel would have to be Plague by Michael Grant, the newest book in the Gone series. The books get successively more gruesome and dark! 😯

  • FaniGR
    July 31, 2011 at 9:58 pm

    My favorite dark YA would have to be Nevermore by Kelly Creagh.

  • Rabiah
    July 31, 2011 at 11:09 pm

    The darkest YA I’ve read would have to be Gone by Lisa McMann. Love the series! Thanks so much for the amazing giveaway 😀
    iliveforreading AT hotmail DOT com

  • HollyG
    July 31, 2011 at 11:58 pm

    Right the votes speak for themselves, I’m just going to have to buy myself a copy of Bleeding Violet as soon as possible!

  • Enchantedbooks
    August 1, 2011 at 3:14 am

    I would say the Splendour falls, I thought it was quite deep for a young adult.
    Thanks for t his awesome giveaway.😀

  • Jeanne
    August 1, 2011 at 5:47 am

    I love trilogy The Mortal Instruments? Thank you so much for this awesome giveaway!

  • Katy
    August 1, 2011 at 6:08 am

    Bleeding Violet by Dia Reeves!

  • Hannah
    August 1, 2011 at 8:50 am

    My favourite dark YA novel is probably The Moth Diaries by Rachel Klein. I read it when I was about 15 or 16 and it still sticks in my mind as being a brilliant and shocking read!

    Thank you for the giveaway!

  • Nat Cleary
    August 1, 2011 at 9:42 am

    Thanks so much for the chance. My favorite dark YA is Gone by Micheal Grant. Id say all four of his are my favorite. 😕

  • Jenn
    August 1, 2011 at 10:08 am

    My favourite dark YA is Sabriel by Garth Nix, though it has recently been challenged by The Replacement by Brenna Yovanoff.

  • Kaethe
    August 1, 2011 at 10:15 am

    I think Living Dead Girl by Elizabeth Scott is the darkest book imaginable, but I give Bleeding Violet a close runner up.

  • Rin
    August 1, 2011 at 11:36 am

    Ohh.. Does Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson count? Otherwise, I’d have to agree with the poster who mentioned Sabriel.

  • Katie
    August 1, 2011 at 12:11 pm

    Well, I don’t read too many “dark” YA novels, so The Poison Diaries would definitely be my number one choice as it had a huge impact in my mind and how I view the plants in my everyday life. In addition, I loved that this book intertwined fairy tale romance (which are books more so in my comfort zone) with deeper and more powerful meanings!

  • Carol M
    August 1, 2011 at 12:40 pm

    Bleeding Violet

    Thank you!
    mittens0831 at aol dot com

  • Amanda Lee
    August 1, 2011 at 12:47 pm

    Hmm, that’s a hard choice… but I’d have to agree with a large portion of the comment folk and go with Bleeding Violet by Dia Reeves. Brilliant book.

  • nicanicnix
    August 1, 2011 at 7:36 pm

    Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher is one of those books you don’t easily forget.

  • Tasha Shahirah
    August 1, 2011 at 9:31 pm

    Thank you for the giveaway. Mine is Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher.

  • Lurv Looks Back: July 2011 | Lurv a la Mode
    August 2, 2011 at 5:15 am

    […] Some lucky ducks got to go to Hogwarts! Check it out over at Floor to Ceiling Books. Ana of The Book Smugglrs got to go as well, here’s her breakdown of the event. […]

  • sarah
    August 2, 2011 at 9:24 am

    hmm..i’m not sure if it’s considered YA or middle-grade but “love curse of the rumbaughs” by jack gantos is one of my absolute favorite dark reads. it’s so disturbing but so beautifully written that i just fell totally in love with it. “boy toy” by barry lyga is another favorite dark YA read for me. another incredibly disturbing but powerful and important read.

    this book sounds amazing! i’ve been looking forward to it for a while. and i’m super jealous of the getaway you got to go on!

  • Lissette Martinez
    August 2, 2011 at 10:32 am

    I love The Maze Runner by James Dashner. Thanks for the giveaway. 😀

  • Helena
    August 2, 2011 at 12:59 pm

    That would be “Thirteen Reasons Why” by Jay Asher, an amazing and unforgettable novel that I keep recommending to my students. I also really liked Kimberly Derting’s “The Body Finder”.

  • Nicole
    August 2, 2011 at 1:36 pm

    I don’t know what qualifies as a dark book so I can’t say what’s my favorite, but after scrolling through some of the comments i’ve just added Bleeding Violets to my TBR list! 🙂

    Thanks for the giveaway!

  • TJ Mathews
    August 2, 2011 at 1:53 pm

    My favorites by far are Jonathan Stroud’s Bartimaeius books

  • Marie
    August 2, 2011 at 4:13 pm

    As a fellow history geek, this event sounds AMAZING! Thanks for sharing, complete with pictures.

    As for favorite dark YA book, I read Laura Whitcomb’s A Certain Slant of Light a few years ago and thought it was wonderfully dark. Ghosts romantically involved that interact by possessing other people’s bodies, death, drug abuse, sex, domestic violence – but not a bit of it gratuitous. Great read.

  • Vanessa
    August 2, 2011 at 6:46 pm

    I love, love, love The Haunting of Alaziabel Cray by Chris Wooding. Did I say love? Because, yeah, love.

  • Samantha
    August 2, 2011 at 7:02 pm

    My fav dark YA would be Bliss or Revoultion 🙂
    But Poison Dairies looks really good; it may surpass both Bliss and Rev.

  • jenny
    August 2, 2011 at 7:04 pm

    Slice of Cherry by Dia Reeves! Hands down! Best dark ya ive read so far! XD When i was reading it I though I was starting to go insane!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! AAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH

  • Stephanie T.
    August 2, 2011 at 8:49 pm

    I haven’t read Slice of Cherry yet but I do love Dia Reeves so I’m gonna say Bleeding Violet 🙂

  • Jacky R.
    August 3, 2011 at 2:50 am

    Well my favorite dark YA book would have to be Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher. After reading that book a few months ago, I can’t seem to forget it.Also, so jealous of those who saw Hogwarts, but no worries, I will visit Hogwarts and the poison garden soon 😀

  • Baggins
    August 3, 2011 at 4:26 am

    I think I need to catch up on reading some Dark YA!! I’d have to go with Living Dead Girl by Elizabeth Scott. It has stayed with me even years after reading it. It’s just, wow.

    I love your photos, thanks for sharing! And thanks for such a great giveaway!


  • Tasnim Sheikh
    August 3, 2011 at 8:52 am

    My favourite dark YA novel is probably A Touch Mortal by Leah Clifford!

    thanks for the giveaway!


  • Amanda
    August 3, 2011 at 9:51 am

    A Slice of Cherry by Dia Reeves made me love it madly this year.

  • Shveta
    August 3, 2011 at 2:27 pm

    Hmm, one of Holly Black’s Modern Faery Tale series. If I have to pick one, then Tithe.

    This book–and your adventure–sound amazing! What a great way to do promotion.

  • Laura
    August 3, 2011 at 2:34 pm

    Hmm. Definitely Living Dead Girl by Elizabeth Scott. Very dark!

  • Judy
    August 3, 2011 at 8:12 pm

    I’m love many dark YA novels, especially the ones with vampires, but my favourite is definitely Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead. BEST SERIES EVER. <3

  • Karina
    August 4, 2011 at 4:31 am

    The darkest YA I remember reading when I was a teenager was Darkangel by Meredith Ann Pierce. I can only vaguely recall the plot, but I remember how enthralled I was by the writing, and the relationship between the two main characters.

  • Archee
    August 4, 2011 at 6:26 am

    Hmmm, I’d have to go with the Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan. I’m not a Zombie person, but the way she wrote it was so unusual, enigmatic- hinting at gruesome.I just couldn’t look away!

    On another note, obviously the Hunger Games is terribly well known, but there’s something about it – the way that everyone’s so detached and completely lack empathy – that sends a chill down my spine that a lot of YA horror novels can’t compete with. And, naturally, that’s always a favourite.

  • jenmitch
    August 4, 2011 at 12:39 pm

    i would say much of the YA i end up reading is fairly dark. recent favorites include the chaos walking trilogy by patrick ness — todd and viola have to face some very heavy stuff. those books are dark and intense. so good!

  • Chris Bails
    August 4, 2011 at 6:30 pm

    not sure if have read any dark ya novels. I have read some of ya novel but not many. i read a few ya novels that have loved like Charlie Bone series by Jinny Nimmo and loved them.

  • Debora B
    August 4, 2011 at 8:26 pm

    Hum… That’s a hard choice! I wish I could say Bleeding Violet, but I haven’t read that yet! So… I’m gonna go with A Certain Slant of Light by Laura Whitcomb!


  • Kulsuma
    August 5, 2011 at 9:20 am

    I think Speak is rather dark which I liked.

  • SaraO @ TheLibrarianReads
    August 5, 2011 at 9:38 am

    I think the book You by Charles Benoit was dark. The whole read was foreboding due to it’s opening. And the ending is a twist…that leans toward the dark side. Its a book that gives insight into a lost teen, and though the reader eventually understands it remains dark till the end.

    P.S. I just have to say I am so jealous of your bookish experience I almost hate you a little bit…haha…just a titch. Sounded so awesome!

  • Rachel
    August 5, 2011 at 12:00 pm

    Bleeding Violet is my favorite dark YA novel, I believe.

  • Aydrea
    August 5, 2011 at 7:29 pm

    Oh gosh that is hard, but I loved Forbidden. I don’t how dark that is, but it was disturbing to me a la Flowers in the Attic.

  • whitewolfreads
    August 6, 2011 at 10:13 am

    Hmmm for dark YA I think I would have to go with what a lot of people already mentioned Bleeding Violet. Thanks for the giveaway!

  • Paige
    August 6, 2011 at 11:03 am

    I’m a fan of Plain Kate by Erin Bow.

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