I'm Not Supposed to Be in the Dark (Hardcover)
"Family secrets, broken friendships, spirit possession, and natural magic. This book will haunt you until the very end and long after you finish." - Rachel Menard, award-winning author of Game of Strength and Storm & Clash of Fate and Fury
"Neilson’s sophomore novel is a haunting love story for the ages, perfectly layered and exquisitely told. " —Buzzfeed
From the author of Deep in Providence comes a paranormal young adult romance that follows a teen convinced that her best friend–turned-enemy is possessed by a ghost, perfect for fans of White Smoke and Twilight.
Seventeen-year-old Aria Cayetano dreams of ghosts. She used to see them too, but thanks to a special tea brewed by her grandfather, Aria’s connection to the spirit world has been severed. Until a decades old rosebush suddenly dies across the street, convincing Aria that something supernatural is happening in her neighborhood.
She aches to investigate it, but the rosebush sits on her ex-best friend Derek Johnson’s front lawn, and she can't question him because he hates her now. Aria doesn't know what drove them apart years ago, but she does know Derek's been acting strange for weeks, sneaking out in the dead of night to who knows where.
Then, days after the rosebush dies, Derek begins speaking to her again. At least Aria thinks it’s him. Until she discovers there’s a ghost inside of Derek that will take his life if it doesn’t find what it’s searching for. As Aria and Derek race to uncover the mystery, another kind of magic takes them by surprise: love. But Aria has to decide how far she’s willing to go to save Derek, especially when helping the ghost means tapping into whatever the tea has buried inside of her.
Bone-chilling and spellbinding, I’m Not Supposed to Be in the Dark is an alluring ghost story that’s about exorcising the past to find a future to believe in.
"In Neilson's hands, a ghost story is never just a ghost story—teenage rebellion and friendship troubles are woven together with captivating imagery, compelling characters, and yes, ghosts. This book is a study in the lengths we will go to in order to protect those we love. A study in knowing when to let go and when to hold on—even if it means risking ourselves in the process." - Lillie Lainoff, author of One For All
"In her mesmerizing and atmospheric second book, Riss M. Neilson blends themes of family and love with an undercurrent of the supernatural to create a story that is both vivid and beautifully told." —Lyndall Clipstone, author of The World at the Lake’s Edge duology & Unholy Terrors
"Stirring, raw, and beautiful, like a dream that stays with you all day, I'm Not Supposed to Be in the Dark will haunt you long after the conclusion. I'm Not Supposed to Be in the Dark is about the power of magic, love, and feeling seen in the face of tragedy." —Mads Vericker, co-owner, Heartleaf Books
"The love story that blossoms. . .is one that lights a fire on the page and will keep readers wanting a happy ending for all. Aria is of Cape Verdean and Filipino heritage. A gorgeously written, supernatural fantasy that deserves a place in secondary libraries where romance, feelings, and magic are appreciated by teens." —School Library Journal, Starred Review
"This dreamy and ethereal story combines mystery and romance with the paranormal world of magic and spirits. It’s atmospheric, evocative, and just the right amount of chilling. . .Lushly written and full of emotion." —Kirkus Reviews
"The rekindling of Aria and Derek’s friendship, and their budding romance, is vibrantly depicted against haunting descriptions of ghosts and mortality, making for an intriguing juxtaposition of life and death. Through Aria’s sarcastic first-person narration—interwoven with her illuminating journal entries and eerie dream sequences—and a vivid portrayal of Providence, R.I., Nielsen spins a slow-burn paranormal mystery that examines grief, damaging and healing relationships, and complicated mixed-race family dynamics." —Publishers Weekly
Praise for Deep in Providence:
Finalist for the 2022 New England Book Award
A Buzzfeed New LGBTQA+ YA Novels You Need This Spring Selection
"A magical debut novel from a writer to watch.” —Emily M. Danforth, national bestselling and award-winning author of The Miseducation of Cameron Post
“Magic runs like a glittering thread through this densely woven tale of friendship, grief, and identity." —Melissa Albert, New York Times–bestselling author of the Hazel Wood series and Our Crooked Hearts
“A spellbinding tale of friendship and grief told with startling tenderness and emotional truth.” —Ryan Douglass, New York Times–bestselling author of The Taking of Jake Livingston
"Enthralling, magical, and haunting—a beautifully written story of family and friendship, loss and love.” —Sue Lynn Tan, bestselling author of Daughter of the Moon Goddess
"Deep in Providence will have you mesmerized from the first page." —Goldy Moldavsky, New York Times–bestselling author of The Mary Shelley Club
"Riveting, deeply moving, and full of heart." —Kirkus Reviews