The Girl In The Mirror by Stephanie Marino is a novella about a troubled boy confronted by the ghost of a little girl. Rose used to live in Kyle's house, and haunts him through the mirror in his room. He also struggles with bullies at school and an alcoholic mother who has alienated Kyle from his father. As his personal life falls apart, strange things begin happening around the house. Soon Kyle finds himself in the center of a battle between his mother and Rose, as he is being torn apart from the inside out, desperate for help.
I love stories with multiple layers. The Girl In The Mirror is a great example of blending real life trauma with supernatural chills, not to mention the coming-of-age theme. Marino keeps her readers captivated and horrified with a great balance of turmoil and suspense.
One of the reasons literary horror has remained popular through the decades is the use of social issues to propel stories. A monster and a nightmarish setting can only take a reader so far, but incorporating current events gives a story the much needed texture to transform it into something the reader can experience.