Guest Post: Southern Gothic Reads by Hannah Carmack

I am so excited to be sharing our first guest post here on the blog with y’all!

Hannah reached out to me to read her new novella, Take Your Medicine, and let me just tell y’all it is to die for. Hannah is such a sweetheart and it has been the biggest blessing for me to be able to work with her. I have really enjoyed the one-on-one aspect of our interactions and just how easy going Hannah is. I feel like we both kind of let each other do our own thing and take the lead on our respective sides and it worked amazingly!

Thank you so much Hannah!

If you’re looking for your next read, check out Hannah’s Take Your Medicine. Take Your Medicine is a LGBTQ+, Contemporary YA novella with an emphasis on normalizing disability and learning to love every part of yourself. It actually is being released today, 3/5, and I’ll provide links to purchase further down.

I’ve inserted a graphic from the Take Your Medicine release campaign as well. Let me tell y’all, the visuals for Take Your Medicine, which are in my review post that I have linked above, are absolutely breathtaking. Below the graphic, we jump directly into Hannah’s guest post on Southern Gothic Reads. Keep reading to check it out!

Links to Purchase Take Your Medicine

Amazon • NineStar Press


Southern Gothic is one of those genres that is often associated with school-related reading. Both To Kill a Mockingbird and A Streetcar Named Desire are perhaps two of the most well-known pieces of Southern Gothic lit and also required-reading in a number of school curriculums.

Now, if you liked those pieces and want more of that driving, literary fiction Flannery O’Connor is another great writer to get into . But, if you’re like me and tend to struggle with the classics and need something more modern, there’s a lot of great Southern Gothic work out there right now, it may just be a bit more difficult to find because of the genre.

Here are just some of the awesome Southern Gothic Reads for the YA-Minded.

Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl

Beautiful Creatures (Caster Chronicles, #1)

I too dream of sweet, red muscadines

I know this book got a bad rap, because it’s film adaptation came out right as the vampire bubble was getting ready to burst, but it is worth a read if you’re into Southern Gothic. The book itself is fairly large, but it’s rich with detail about the small, southern town of Gatlin and the mysterious magic it has.

Garcia and Stohl hit on all the genre tropes religious fanatics, the civil war (and civil war re-enactments), dangerous critters, and backwater witchcraft. The story is rich and is a great starting point for a young reader looking to learn more about the genre.

That said, this is a giant book, and it’s a part of a GIANT series. The word-count gets crazy there towards the end. But, if you’re looking for a fun, southern read, this would be a great place to start.

The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

The Raven Boys (The Raven Cycle, #1)

Probably not as edgy as it looks

I can’t speak from personal experience on this one, but it would have been a crime to leave it off the list. The Raven Boys is perhaps the most popular southern gothic YA out there right now. It follows Blue, a young woman who has fallen in love with a boy destined to die.

Like I said, I haven’t read it, so I can’t say much about the quality of the content, but this is a very popular book and seems to have all of the fixins’ of a solid witchy novel. Oh, also, it has a super cool playlist.

Rebel Belle by Rachel Hawkins

Rebel Belle (Rebel Belle, #1)


This book is super campy and I feel like it takes a certain kind of reader to enjoy it, but that said it is such a fun southern romp. A lot of people compare it to Buffy The Vampire Slayer and although they do have some similarities, I do think going in with the Buffy mindset could lead to some disappointment.

Either way, pageantry, kicking-ass, and femme fatales are abound in this one and it’ a fun read if you’re into the campy-YA scene. There are tropes. There is a love triangle. And of course, some deep south setting. It’s a fun read and a good ride.

About Hannah Carmack


Hannah Carmack is a recent graduate of Northern Illinois University. She enjoys volunteer work and spends most of her time with the organization STEM Read, connecting authors and reluctant readers through hands-on STEM activities. Her debut novel Seven-Sided Spy was released January 2018.

Goodreads • Website • Instagram

Review: Take Your Medicine by Hannah Carmack


Link to Purchase:

NineStar Press

Book Details:


Published: March 5, 2018

Author: Hannah Carmack


Hannah Carmack is a recent graduate of Northern Illinois University. She enjoys volunteer work and spends most of her time with the organization STEM Read, connecting authors and reluctant readers through hands-on STEM activities. Her debut novel Seven-Sided Spy was released January 2018.

Goodreads • Website • Instagram

Synopsis:  Alice “Al” Liddell is from Echola, Alabama. She leads the life of a normal teen until the day she’s diagnosed with vasovagal syncope – a fainting disorder which causes her to lose consciousness whenever she feels emotions too strongly.

Her mother, the “Queen of Hearts,” is the best cardiothoracic surgeon this side of the Mason-Dixon Line and a bit of a local hero. Yet, even with all her skill she is unable to cure her daughter of her ailment, leading Al into the world of backwater witchcraft.

Along the way she meets a wacky cast of characters and learns to accept her new normal.

Take Your Medicine is a southern gothic retelling of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.


Opinion: I want to thank Hannah herself for providing me with a copy of Take Your Medicine. It was an amazing story and honest to God, not long enough. Girl, I need more.

I feel like an idiot because it specifically says this was a Southern Gothic retelling of Alice in Wonderland. It took me til about 57% through the book to get the name references as far as Rabbit, Kat, Mads, March, and the twins (their names are evading my memory at the moment.) I felt dumb. The references are there though and I adore this retelling.

Al’s relationship with her friend *wink wink not giving away names because that’d spoil it* is adorable. I love the fact that Carmack incorporated her in as never having felt that way about a girl before. The way Carmack describes Al’s realization, so to speak, that she likes girls, it is almost like we are discovering this new part of her with her.

I love how the main character is struggling with vasovagal syncope, which is a disorder I personally had never heard of. Vasovagal syncope is a fainting disorder that happens whenever someone feels emotions too strongly, or stressful triggers. It helps draw awareness and shows the everyday life of someone who is diagnosed. Unfortunately there is really no known way to treat VVS. The main treatment is avoidance of triggers. Which is all explained wonderfully in the book.

I really loved the descriptive factors in this novella. It made you feel like you were there in the trailer with Rabbit, Kat, and Al. One of my favorite lines in the beginning that really stood out to me was Al’s description of Rabbit’s hair. She is described as having “…hair as read as a marigold.” HOW BEAUTIFUL IS THAT.

Everyone needs to read Take Your Medicine. You will absolutely love it. If you are reading this right now ADD THIS BOOK TO YOUR WANT TO READ SHELF. Do it. You will not regret it.

My Overall Rating: ★★★★★


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