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Gothic Literature for children...recommendations please

(15 Posts)
Sensimilla Sat 21-Oct-17 17:39:43

Please can you recommend a Gothic Novel (and explain what Gothic Literature is!) for my 12 year old to read and review, for homework

She is Year 8, aged 12. The book has to be 70+ pages. Dd is dyslexic though, so we are after something easy to read (preferably with a film version, she can watch beforehand!)

A quick Google tells me that Wuthering Heights and Jane Ayer are both gothic? So is Frankenstein and Dracula?

LoisSangersVoice Sat 21-Oct-17 17:48:51

Would Northanger Abbey count? It is a parody of a gothic novel, but shorter and probably a bit easier to get through than WH/ JE. Although it is, frankly, a bit irritating!

Woodifer Sat 21-Oct-17 17:58:33


Or even treasure island?

CatACombs Sat 21-Oct-17 18:09:01

Jekyll and Hyde would be over 70 pages but much shorter than Wuthering Heights, Dracula etc.(Although they are great books.)

Redsrule Sat 21-Oct-17 18:10:12

Coraline by Neil Gaiman, great gothic childrens novel with a very good film adaptation. Enjoy!

onceandneveragain Sat 21-Oct-17 18:11:14

The ones you've mentioned, while they are the 'classic' gothic novels, are a lot longer than 70 pages and not the easiest reads for a 12 year old, even without dyslexia. Particularly Frankenstein! I did an Eng degree and found that hard going.

There have been films of Northanger Abbey, Jane Eyre, and Wuthering Heights pretty recently.

'Rebecca' is considered a reimagining of Jane Eyre and fits the gothic trope - might be easier to read than one of the Victorian classics as the language is more modern.

Other than that, does it have to be a novel? Would they accept some of Edgar Allen Poe's short stories? It's easier to read 2/3 of those to get up to 70 pages.
If it doesn't have to be a classic/literature, something like the Lemony Snicket books are basically gothic lit for children.

TheGreaterGoodTheGreaterGood Sat 21-Oct-17 18:13:59

Goth Girl - Chris Riddell's illustrations add a lot to the story. Might suit a child with dyslexia?

Gothic literature is usually set in big crumbling stately piles, often have a supernatural element, often have a damsel in distress.

TheGreaterGoodTheGreaterGood Sat 21-Oct-17 18:15:04

And by the illustrations suiting a child with dyslexia, I mean they break the text up on the page, not that dyslexics can't read!

OwlKiss Sat 21-Oct-17 18:15:28

I would think Dracula is the most accessible of those, it is fairly short.

The Turn of the Screw might be a possibility - it has had a few film adaptations, including one with Nicole Kidman not that long ago (The Others, I think it was called).

I would characterise The Hound of the Baskervilles as gothic - would that be long enough?

Basically anything melodramatic, ghostly/supernatural, macabre, ideally set in a bit of a strange, unnatural setting as well (so a spooky, isolated country house, a wild moor, a mysterious foggy land etc etc.), and including a bit of horror.
I think it should also have been written at the end of the 18th through to the 19th Century - but you might be able to find something more modern that still has gothic themes (Sarah Waters, for example, I would say is a modern writer who often uses Gothic themes - Affinity is a good example) Francis Hardinge is a young adult modern writer, who also has some very gothic style themes in her writing.

Mhw02 Sat 21-Oct-17 18:48:56

Not "The Turn of the Screw"! I really can't see Henry James' writing style appealing to a 12 year old with dyslexia! He's very much of the "why say in 5 words what you can say in 500" school of writing. It's not even extraneous detail, it's just extraneous words that do nothing to drive the plot forward and add no detail or interest to the story whatsoever. Sorry, rant over!

FourEyesGood Sat 21-Oct-17 18:55:16

A nice easy read book that could fit into the category is ‘Room 13’ by Robert Swindells. It’s aimed at a young audience (10-13, I’d say). It’s about a girl who goes to Whitby on a school trip and encounters a vampire.

sadeyedladyofthelowlands63 Sat 21-Oct-17 19:17:43

I second the Lemony Snicket books, they're great (and there is a film). I wouldn't recommend Frankenstein for a 12 year old - it's very heavy going in places.

This is quite a thorough (and not too heavy) explanation of the Gothic genre:!/media/1971821/lifting-the-lid-on-gothic-literature

TheOnlyLivingBoyInNewCross Sat 21-Oct-17 19:22:26

The Woman in Black is very accessible for Year 8s - I've taught it at Yr 9 level before.

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is short but quite challenging in its language.

Sensimilla Sun 22-Oct-17 08:28:18

Thank you for all these suggestions. I'll start having a look at them. I watched Wuthering Heights last night....I don't think that is something she would get into.

Is Heathcliffe being Black, a modern addition to the tale; or was he Black in the book?

TheOnlyLivingBoyInNewCross Sun 22-Oct-17 10:06:41

Heathcliff's precise ethnicity is left undefined by Bronte, although she does describe him as "a dark-skinned gypsy in aspect".

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