Night of Cake and Puppets by Laini Taylor, illustrated by Jim DiBartolo
Zuzanna begins the narrative with the story of a gruesome little puppet her grandfather used to scare small children: the head made from a real fox skull with black glass eyes, sharpened teeth, and Cossack garb (complete with fur hat).
Then she switches gears, a gushes a bit about this boy she is crazy to meet: Mik, the "violin boy" who is Zuzanna's boyfriend in this author's Daughter of Smoke and Bone books. This lovely, talented, beautiful boy...to whom Zuzanna is too shy to speak.
One night, she takes a handful of scuppies (tiny wishes) and crafts a little adventure for Mik: a treasure map, with a drawing of herself at the center of the page where "x-marks-the-spot."
And thus, the magic begins.
Small, quiet, and powerful, this novella should be uber-creepy, but becomes delightfully sweet instead. The illustrations are swirly, gothic, and delightful.
And now, I want cake.
Recommended for readers ages 12 to adult. Some scariness, no blood, some kissing (YES!!!) and thoughts of further intimacy but nothing on the page.
You do not need to read the Smoke and Bones books to appreciate this. You only need to understand that magic is real, and that I love this book.