New YA Novel Tackles Anxiety & Young Love With A Supernatural Twist

Acclaimed YA author Sara Bennett Wealer returns with an exciting new contemporary novel that will pull readers in from the first intriguing line. ‘Grave Things Like Love’ (Oct. 11 2022, Delacorte Press) is an electric novel jam packed with elements like ghost hunting and young love, and features a main character with anxiety representation. Sara crafts a perfect concoction of romance, coming-of-age, and a dash of the supernatural that is absolutely to die for. Readers will want to sink their teeth into this novel that is both heartwarming and chilling.

Elaine’s home is a bit . . . different. It’s a funeral home that has been in her family since the 1800s. Everyone assumes Elaine will take over the business someday—everybody except Elaine. When Xander, a newcomer with a passion for ghost hunting, arrives in town, Elaine feels an instant spark. He’s daring and spontaneous. With Xander, she feels herself transforming from Funeral Girl to Fun Girl. But not everyone is thrilled to see her changing, least of all her childhood best friend, Miles.

After Xander convinces Elaine to ghost hunt at the funeral home, they discover a ghostly presence from the past. And this spirit has a message—one Elaine is certain can give her the advice she craves about what to do with her life and which boy deserves her heart.

We had the chance to share an excerpt from ‘Grave Things Like Love’ which you can read below.

“Hello, is anyone with us?” Xander says to the air. “We’re looking for a person who people say they’ve seen in the window upstairs.”

I suddenly feel like I need to add my own voice.

“We just want to know more about your story,” I say. “Maybe we can help?”

“Can you maybe tell us your name?” Madison asks.

The silence stretches out, then Xander suddenly turns his head.

“I thought I saw something move,” he says. “Out the corner of my eye. You don’t have a cat, do you?”

I shake my head. “We aren’t allowed to have pets. If there’s movement, it’s probably my dad or our intern, Dakota.” So far, I’ve been pretty calm. But now anxiety is flooding in. “We should probably stop. I’m worried we’re going to wake up someone, and not from the afterlife.”

“Let’s listen to the recorder first,” says Sienna. “Maybe there’s something on it.”

Xander looks to me for permission, and I give in. I’m not in a hurry to see him go, plus I’m curious what we might have captured too.

We settle in a circle on the floor, heads bent over the device. Listening to it is like the other night in the cornfield, only odder, being inside my own home. Hearing our voices, the stuff we said and did just a few minutes ago, everything feels turned on its side, like I’m watching a movie and in it at the same time.

Nothing happens when Xander addresses Great-Great-Great-Grandfather Leathan. Nothing happens until we’re in the casket room. We’re listening to Madison complain about being claustrophobic when we hear the sound.

“What was that?” says Madison.

Xander hits Replay. It’s a voice. It sounds like a woman, but we can’t make out any clear words. There’s nothing else until Madison asks for a name, then the voice comes again.

It’s staticky and a little garbled, but it sounds like two syllables—a word ending in an “ee” sound.

“No freaking way,” says Miles.

“Is it the Gillies Ghost?” says Sienna.

My heart does a double-skip. I’ve always hated that story. I’ve fought it because I’ve found no evidence of it in my everyday life. So why does hearing this voice make my pulse race like this? And why does that feel not bad?

“What is it saying?” asks Madison.

Xander plays the recording over and over. Now that our ears are used to it, we can make it out clearer each time.

“I think it said Flossie,” says Xander.

“Is that a name, though?” asks Sienna.

“Pretty sure it’s from an old song.” Madison hums a couple of bars. “You know, by—who was that lady from that band named after peas? ‘Fergalicious’?”

“Why would a ghost listen to the Black Eyed Peas?” sniffs Sienna.

“Maybe it was their favorite song,” Madison snaps back. “I mean, you still like Justin Bieber, so—”

“Maybe Elaine knows someone named Flossie,” Xander suggests. My first reaction is to feel totally overwhelmed.

“Thousands of people have been through this place—dead and alive,” I tell him. “If one of them was named Flossie, I’d have no way of knowing.”

Xander rewinds, he adjusts the volume settings, and now we can hear it almost as clearly as if it was one of us speaking.

“This is . . . wow.” Xander stands up and starts running his hands through his hair in disbelief. “Okay. Wow. I’ve never heard an EVP like this before. And it’s answering us, which means it’s intelligent! This is huge.”

He turns, tugs me to my feet, and kisses me. A real kiss, right in front of everyone. When he lets me go, I literally see stars.

An awkward interval passes, everybody trying not to stare. Then the business phone rings.

Immediately, my head clears. The warp speed of my ability to go from Swoony Elaine to Responsible Elaine surprises even me.

“You’ve got to go,” I tell them. “Now.”

Author Sara Bennett Wealer | Photo by Valerie Eidsen

Sara Bennett Wealer grew up in Manhattan, Kansas, where she majored in voice performance at the University of Kansas before deciding she had no business trying to make a career as an opera singer and transferred to journalism school. She went on to become a reporter covering everything from house fires to Hollywood premieres. These days, she writes event scripts and marketing copy while the sun is out. By night, she writes books for young adults. Sara lives in Cincinnati with her husband, two daughters, two dogs and four cats. Find out more about Sara on her website, Instagram and Twitter.

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