100 books like Tamsin

By Peter S. Beagle,

Here are 100 books that Tamsin fans have personally recommended if you like Tamsin. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Sabriel

D.P. Vaughan Author Of Ethereal Malignance

From my list on complex identities.

Why am I passionate about this?

From a young age, I've been engrossed by the complexities of identity, a theme I explore as an Australian speculative fiction writer. My own identity comes with its quirks—I hold a Bachelor of Music in Composition, spent a decade in admin roles, and the better part of another decade teaching English to adult migrants, refugees, and asylum seekers. This eclectic background enriches my narratives, which blend supernatural elements with grounded realism and diverse representation. Whether it's exploring loneliness or delving into the lives of victims of bullying, my unique lens makes me well-suited to recommend books that tackle intricate themes of identity.

D.P.'s book list on complex identities

D.P. Vaughan Why did D.P. love this book?

Sabriel by Australian author Garth Nix is a YA dark fantasy that captivated me with its visceral descriptions of Charter magic and the brutal realism of life in the Old Kingdom—where the dead do walk.

The protagonist, Sabriel, is raised in a mundane, magic-less world beyond the Wall but is thrust into a realm teeming with dark magic as she searches for her missing father. This journey forces her to grapple with her identity as she navigates the expectations of others who see her only as her father's successor while she remains steadfast in her determination to find and rescue him.

This struggle for self-definition amidst external pressures is a theme that resonates deeply, making Sabriel a must-read for those who appreciate immersive worlds.

By Garth Nix,

Why should I read it?

11 authors picked Sabriel as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 12, 13, 14, and 15.

What is this book about?

A stunning anniversary gift edition of the second in the bestselling Old Kingdom fantasy series.

Sabriel has spent most of her young life far away from the magical realm of the Old Kingdom, and the Dead that roam it. But then a creature from across the Wall arrives at her all-girls boarding school with a message from her father, the Abhorsen - the magical protector of the realm whose task it is to bind and send back to Death those that won't stay Dead. Sabriel's father has been trapped in Death by a dangerous Free Magic creature.

Armed with her…


Book cover of The Lives of Christopher Chant

Brita Sandstrom Author Of Hollow Chest

From my list on a cat sidekick who is secretly the main character.

Why am I passionate about this?

All the best books have a cat sidekick. Over and over, when people talk to me about my book, they pause in the middle of whatever they were about to say and go, “Oh my gosh, Biscuits,” and then launch into a list of things Biscuits the cat does, and how they are similar to things their cats have done, presumably up to and including throwing hands (paws?) with horrifying monsters that want to eat your heart. Biscuits is the latest in a long and proud tradition of literary feline companions, an essential element of many of my favorite and formative texts growing up. 

Brita's book list on a cat sidekick who is secretly the main character

Brita Sandstrom Why did Brita love this book?

Diana Wynne Jones understands fundamentally that cats rule and they are also little jerks. Throgmorten is a sacred cat from a temple in another world, which is a very cat lifestyle, and he spends the whole book spitting and scratching and biting people, which is the singularity of focus that I strive for in my life. Diana Wynne Jones is also not afraid to directly transcribe cat noises, by which I mean Throgmorten says “WONG” a lot, which is such an objectively weird way to describe a cat’s yowl until you actually hear a cat make that sound and realize, “Oh wow, yeah, it does sound like he’s saying ‘WONG.’” I’m not saying authors who exclusively say that cats “meow” are cowards, but. I’m not not saying that.

By Diana Wynne Jones,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Lives of Christopher Chant as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 8, 9, 10, and 11.

What is this book about?

Glorious new rejacket of a Diana Wynne Jones favourite, exploring the childhood of Chrestmanci - now a book with extra bits!

Discovering that he has nine lives and is destined to be the next 'Chrestomanci' is not part of Christopher's plans for the future: he'd much rather play cricket and wander around his secret dream worlds. But he soon finds that destiny is difficult to avoid, and that having more than the usual number of lives is pretty inconvenient - especially when you lose them as easily as he does!

Then an evil smuggler, known only as The Wraith, threatens…


Book cover of In the Hand of the Goddess

Brita Sandstrom Author Of Hollow Chest

From my list on a cat sidekick who is secretly the main character.

Why am I passionate about this?

All the best books have a cat sidekick. Over and over, when people talk to me about my book, they pause in the middle of whatever they were about to say and go, “Oh my gosh, Biscuits,” and then launch into a list of things Biscuits the cat does, and how they are similar to things their cats have done, presumably up to and including throwing hands (paws?) with horrifying monsters that want to eat your heart. Biscuits is the latest in a long and proud tradition of literary feline companions, an essential element of many of my favorite and formative texts growing up. 

Brita's book list on a cat sidekick who is secretly the main character

Brita Sandstrom Why did Brita love this book?

The thing about a pet finding its way into your life at exactly the right time is that it does kind of feel like a divinity sent you a little helper to keep your life from completely falling apart while you are pretending to be a boy so you can become a knight or while you are on a writing deadline and very stressed out, which are two challenges that are equally difficult and noble.

By Tamora Pierce,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked In the Hand of the Goddess as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 12, 13, 14, and 15.

What is this book about?

From Tamora Pierce, the second book in the Song of the Lioness Quartet, honored with the Margaret A. Edwards Award.

Alanna, disguised as a boy, becomes a squire to none other than the heir to the throne. Prince Jonathan is not only Alanna’s liege lord, he is also her best friend—and one of the few who knows the secret of her true identity. But when a vicious sorcerer threatens the prince’s life, it will take all of Alanna’s skill, strength, and magical power to protect him, even at the risk of surrendering her dreams…


Book cover of No One Noticed the Cat

Stephen Leather Author Of Killing Time

From my list on featuring talking cats.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have written more than sixty novels, and during the writing of most of them I had a cat by my side. I have three—Mousefur, Firefur, and Peanut Butter. They are rescue cats and my daughter named them. I talk to them, but they only reply with meows. I’ve always fantasised about what it would be like to live with a talking cat, and how those conversations would go. I actually did write a science fiction story many years agoDreamer’s Catabout a man whose sanity is guarded by an imaginary bobcat. I have asked my cats if I should write a sequel, but they just say ‘meow’. 

Stephen's book list on featuring talking cats

Stephen Leather Why did Stephen love this book?

Niffy is a beautiful smoky grey cat, just the right colour to hide in dim and dark places. Niffy guides a young prince through the perils of ruling and loving in this award-winning author’s enchanting and sophisticated fairy tale for adults and intelligent children alike. I first read this book twenty years ago and have reread it several times. I love it. It’s a great story to read with your children.

By Anne McCaffrey,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked No One Noticed the Cat as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

After the death of wise old Mangan, the Regent of Esphania, many of the regent's skills and qualities seem to have been transferred to his beautiful and intelligent cat, Niffy, who at once attaches herself to the new ruler, Prince Jamas. When the king of a neighboring kingdom seems keen to forge an alliance with Jamas by allowing the prince to marry his niece, the real danger is Yasmin, the wicked queen wife, who poisons everyone she dislikes or suspects of interfering with her ambitions. Now, Niffy must guide Jamas through a thicket of difficulties to save the Prince Jamas…


Book cover of Ghosts

Kevin Brockmeier Author Of The Ghost Variations: One Hundred Stories

From my list on ghosts.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve written and published one hundred very short ghost stories, plus a handful of longer ones, and have spent a lifetime reading and watching and thinking about stories of ghosts and the afterlife. My expertise, such as it is, involves ghosts as beings of narrative and metaphor. I’ve encountered great numbers of them on the page and on the screen—nowhere else—but I confess that I would love someday (though don’t expect) to encounter them in the flesh. My flesh, that is to say; their fleshlessness.

Kevin's book list on ghosts

Kevin Brockmeier Why did Kevin love this book?

Aira is one of the most interesting novelists alive today, a writer whose wit, energy, and unfailingly restless imagination ensure that his books never follow a straightforward path, and thus always surprise you. Ghosts, my favorite of those books, presents the story of a half-constructed luxury apartment complex, the ghosts who wander its beams and its floors, and the adolescent girl to whom they call. Recommended if you like your ghosts circumambulating and avant-garde.

By César Aira, Chris Andrews (translator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Ghosts as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"On a building site of a new, luxury apartment building, visitors looked up at the strange, irregular form of the water tank that crowned the edifice, and the big parabolic dish that would supply television images to all the floors. On the edge of the dish, a sharp metallic edge on which no bird would have dared to perch, three completely naked men were sitting, with their faces turned up to the midday sun; no one saw them, of course." - from Ghosts

Ghosts is about a construction worker's family squatting on a building site. They all see large and…


Book cover of The Apparition Phase

Daisy Pearce Author Of The Silence

From my list on provoking a sense of dread.

Why am I passionate about this?

Ever since I can remember, I wanted to be a ghostbuster. I was the kid with the stack of ghost books and horror film obsession, sparked full of adrenaline and excitement. I knew about ouija boards and poltergeists before I knew my times tables and even now - older, more cynical, less drawn to graveyards - I still feel that same thrill when I am holding a horror novel in my hands. I write about discomfort, about fear. I’m well-acquainted with it. I like the feeling of being unnerved and want to evoke that in the stories I tell and the ones I read, like the books below. Hope you enjoy! 

Daisy's book list on provoking a sense of dread

Daisy Pearce Why did Daisy love this book?

So good! A ghost story rich in texture, set in Britain during the seventies. Twins Tim and Abi live in an insular world, obsessed with the paranormal. After they prank a school friend with a fake ghost photograph events start to spiral out of control. Nostalgic without being syrupy, this book felt like stepping back into my own ghost-obsessed childhood. It’s that familiarity, as well as the slow burn of the strange and unnerving events, that kept me absolutely hooked.

By Will Maclean,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Apparition Phase as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

SHORTLISTED FOR THE MCKITTERICK PRIZE 2021

'A delight for both the expert and the uninitiated, this creepy tale is a carapace of cosy nostalgia wrapped round a solid thread of dread ... A page turner that keeps you in dreaded suspense of what you are about to be shown ... A claustrophobic and entertaining read that left me breathless ... Horror for the connoisseur.' ALICE LOWE

'Hallucinatory brilliance ... The Apparition Phase may be the perfect novel for our phantom present.' GUARDIAN
___________________________________
Tim and Abi have always been different from their peers. Precociously bright, they spend their evenings in…


Book cover of Threading the Labryinth

Neil Williamson Author Of Queen of Clouds

From my list on fantasy whose location is the heart of the story.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m the sort of writer who constantly asks “what kind of story could I set here?” A quiet copse, a busy mall, a shabby wedding venue, all locations have their own stories to tell in addition to those of the characters who inhabit them. Stories work best when the location is the pivot around which everything else happens. This is doubly true for secondary world fantasy because, when you’re creating a world, you don’t just tease the story out of its locations—you can weave it into the fabric of the place. Which is how I created the world of Queen Of Clouds, down to its very motes.

Neil's book list on fantasy whose location is the heart of the story

Neil Williamson Why did Neil love this book?

This wonderful novel begins with the inheritance of an ancestral pile in rural England and slowly, by twists and turns, reveals the story of the once ornate house and gardens down the centuries. Ladies and lords of the manor, gardeners and servants, painters, photographers, and WWII land girls all flit fleetingly through its pages, but the novel’s heart is the mysterious walled garden whose secrets only a very few get to witness.

By Tiffani Angus,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Threading the Labryinth as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

American owner of a failing gallery, Toni, is unexpectedly called to England when she inherits a manor house in Hertfordshire from a mysterious lost relative.

What she really needs is something valuable to sell, so she can save her business. But, leaving the New Mexico desert behind, all she finds is a crumbling building, overgrown gardens, and a wealth of historical paperwork that needs cataloguing.

Soon she is immersed in the history of the house, and all the people who tended the gardens over the centuries: the gardens that seem to change in the twilight; the ghost of a fighter…


Book cover of The Bewitching of Aveline Jones

Griselda Heppel Author Of The Fall of a Sparrow

From my list on ghost stories.

Why am I passionate about this?

I write adventure and mystery stories for children aged 9 - 13, involving battles with mythical creatures, dangerous pacts with demons, and other supernatural chills. My first book, Ante’s Inferno, won the People’s Book Prize and a Silver Wishing Shelf Award. For The Fall of a Sparrow, I drew on my love of ghost stories, not just for their scariness but also for their emotional complexity: ghosts don’t haunt just for the sake of it. They need something only the main character can give. Friendship, perhaps, a companion in their loneliness… or something much darker. Here’s my choice of classic stories in which ghosts pursue a wide – and sometimes terrifying – variety of agendas.

Griselda's book list on ghost stories

Griselda Heppel Why did Griselda love this book?

More of a supernatural mystery than a ghost story perhaps, but since the sinister magic that besets 13-year-old Aveline arises from a witch long buried in the cold, dark side of the churchyard, this fast-paced, imaginative tale qualifies as both. Particularly striking is that you can read it as a simple, scary ghost story – or as an unnerving portrait of someone with a narcissistic personality, alternating charm, menaces, and pathos to unsettle Aveline and bring her under her spell. Brrrr. 

By Phil Hickes, Keith Robinson (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Bewitching of Aveline Jones as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 9, 10, 11, and 12.

What is this book about?

Turn on your torches and join Aveline Jones!

Aveline is thrilled when she discovers that the holiday cottage her mum has rented for the summer is beside a stone circle. Thousands of years old, the local villagers refer to the ancient structure as the Witch Stones, and Aveline cannot wait to learn more about them.

Then Aveline meets Hazel. Impossibly cool, mysterious yet friendly, Aveline soon falls under Hazel's spell. In fact, Hazel is quite unlike anyone Aveline has ever met before, but she can't work out why. Will Aveline discover the truth about Hazel, before it's too late?

Join…


Book cover of Sir Simon: Super Scarer

Jacqueline Rogers Author Of Goblin Moon

From my list on Halloween illustrated.

Why am I passionate about this?

I grew up next to a cemetery, and being an avid young artist, I loved to draw all kinds of monsters and spooky themes. Halloween books are a perfect way to express my creepy…but not too creepy side. When I look at Halloween picture books, I'm immediately focused on the pictures, long before I read the story. What medium did the artist use? How do they depict night scenes? Are they realistic or stylized? How interesting are their characters? Halloween picture books are a perfect way to create moody and somewhat scary scenes that balance the creepy with the not-so-creepy. Kids love to be scared, but we don’t want to give them nightmares! 

Jacqueline's book list on Halloween illustrated

Jacqueline Rogers Why did Jacqueline love this book?

While I am an intermediate student in digital art making, I am a big fan of digital art well done. Cale Atkinson’s fun ghosty picture book, Sir Simon: Super Scarer was a delight to discover!

Atkinson combines stylized skewed perspectives with a wealth of interesting design elements like multiple type styles, picture frame vignettes to divide up a page, hidden ghosts in wallpaper, inventive word balloons, cutaways, and active layouts to move the reader through this fun book.

What I really loved was Atkinson’s use of gravely textures over layers of saturated color favoring turquoise and terra cotta, with a smattering of purples and olives that made me smile. 

Sir Simon goes through a heartwarming change in the story, but I had already fallen in love with his simply designed, emotional charm. 

Hurrah, Cale Atkinson!

By Cale Atkinson,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Sir Simon as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 4, 5, 6, and 7.

What is this book about?

A delightful, funny story of friendship, ghost chores, a spooky house and a professional haunter.

Meet Sir Simon, Super Scarer. He's a professional ghost who has been transferred to his first house. And just in time! He was getting tired of haunting bus stops and forests and potatoes. And to top it off, this house is occupied by an old lady -- they're the easiest to haunt!

But things don't go as planned when it turns out a KID comes with this old lady. Chester spots Simon immediately and peppers him with questions. Simon is exasperated. . . until he…


Book cover of The Ghost of Thomas Kempe

Griselda Heppel Author Of The Fall of a Sparrow

From my list on ghost stories.

Why am I passionate about this?

I write adventure and mystery stories for children aged 9 - 13, involving battles with mythical creatures, dangerous pacts with demons, and other supernatural chills. My first book, Ante’s Inferno, won the People’s Book Prize and a Silver Wishing Shelf Award. For The Fall of a Sparrow, I drew on my love of ghost stories, not just for their scariness but also for their emotional complexity: ghosts don’t haunt just for the sake of it. They need something only the main character can give. Friendship, perhaps, a companion in their loneliness… or something much darker. Here’s my choice of classic stories in which ghosts pursue a wide – and sometimes terrifying – variety of agendas.

Griselda's book list on ghost stories

Griselda Heppel Why did Griselda love this book?

What I love about the ghost story genre is how it can lend itself to comedy as well as spookiness. Here the plight of poor James, moving to a new house only to find himself seized on as Apprentice to ghostly 17th century apothecary Thomas Kempe, is irresistibly funny. No one will believe it’s not him scrawling advertisements for ‘Sorcerie, Astrologie, Geomancie, Alchemie, Recoverie of Goodes Loste and Physicke’ on notice boards outside his house and all over the village. Lively’s accurate use of 17th century English heightens both the humour and historical realism in this beautifully written book. 

By Penelope Lively,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Ghost of Thomas Kempe as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 12, 13, 14, and 15.

What is this book about?

The classic ghost story from Penelope Lively, one of the modern greats of British fiction for adults and children alike.

James is fed up. His family has moved to a new cottage - with grounds that are great for excavations, and trees that are perfect for climbing - and stuff is happening. Stuff that is normally the kind of thing he does. And he's getting blamed for it. But it's not him who's writing strange things on shopping lists and fences. It's not him who smashes bottles and pours tea in the Vicar's lap. It's a ghost - honestly. Thomas…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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