The Waking: Dreams of the Dead by Thomas Randall
A Japanese teenager leaves her boyfriend’s house with a skip in her step… only to be brutally murdered by the mean soccer girls at her school. Why did they kill her? That’s what Kara, an American student who starts at the school attempts to uncover as the school year progresses. She makes friends with Sakura, the dead girl’s sister, and sees something strange at the memorial shrine built in the girl’s honor. When the soccer girls start dying one by one, and no can really explain how or why, Kara starts realizing that the bizarre and horrific dreams she’s having are the same ones haunting the soccer girls. When whatever is killing them finishes, Kara realizes she’ll be the last victim.
For fans of Stephanie Meyer's Twilight books looking for a new supernatural series, look no further than the The Waking. Despite many similarities to the 2004 film The Grudge, which also features a young American girl living in Japan who runs afoul of an evil spirit, Dreams of the Dead proves to be an original story that highlights Japanese culture in new and interesting ways. Kara's introduction into the Japanese school system, for example, shows how dramatically different (and longer!) that the school days are over there. The wonderful and vivid descriptions of Miyazu Bay will make you actually want to visit there one day. The ghost story even draws on the real supernatural history from Japanese folklore. For any teen who loves a scary story featuring possessed cats and laughing girls with no faces, than this book is for them.
Dreams of the Dead appears on the Stuff for the Teen Age 2010 List.