It’s almost October and that means that everyone is picking out their TBR’s and lots of people are daring to dive into the horror section a little more. As someone who adores anything horror, this makes me very happy. I’m constantly asked for recommendations in YA horror, and since Halloween is coming up, it seems like the perfect time to do this post. I know YA horror doesn’t have an amazing selection of decent horror, but I promise there are a few gems in among all the junk!
Little disclaimer, I’ve been watching and reading horror since I was very young and what scares someone is VERY subjective. I’ll do my best to give any thoughts on spookiness/scare level. I’ve rated the spook factor of the books with, of course, candy corn!
Slasher Girls and Monsters by April Genevieve Tucholke
The anthology is full of well known YA authors such as Jay Kristoff, Leigh Bardugo, and Marie Lu. The stand-out story being In the Forest Dark and Deep by Carrie Ryan, an incredibly creepy Alice in Wonderland re-imaging. I get the heebie jeebies just thinking about that story.
Daughters Unto Devils by Amy Lukavics
If your family decides to take up and move to a rural cabin in the middle of nowhere that is full of blood and gore when you get there, turn around – just saying! This story is all kinds of disturbing and NOT for the faint of heart. It’s not a fast paced story by any means, it builds the tension and horror very slowly and by the end it’s an all out blood bath. There is very graphic violence, gore and child death in this. Be prepared, no really.
And the Trees Crept In (Also known as The Creeper Man) by Dawn Kurtagich
Dawn is one of my favorite YA horror writers for a reason, her books are always a complete mind f*ck! Don’t go into this one looking for a balls-to-the-walls splatter fest, this is a psychological horror. The atmosphere and character building drive this book, it’s a very slow burn and you will question everything. Possibly your own sanity by the end!
Dead House by Dawn Kurtagich
Another Dawn book makes an entry on this list! Dead House is told to you through articles, past interviews and videos and diary entries. I loved the formatting and getting little bits of information fed to me over time. Another book that will leaving you guessing until the very end and does have a bit of an open ending, so if that frustrates you then it might not be the book for you.
Frozen Charlotte by Alex Bell
Want some creepy dolls in your life? Pick up this little underrated gem. I came upon this one by accident and it was such a pleasant surprise. Delightfully messed up and creepy. Want to know how disturbing this one is? Well, one of the children (a five year old) is so terrified of bones that she attempts to remove her own skeleton on a regular basis. That disturbing enough for you?
The Merciless by Danielle Vega
You’ve likely heard Danielle Vega’s name around, she is quite popular in the YA community for writing horror books and her Merciless series is her most popular. This isn’t a nice book, this is a mean spirited book and I loved it for it. A bunch of girls think one of the girls at their school is possessed and they are determined to save her soul. Things get really violent, really fast. It certainly makes you question who are the real monsters in this story.
Through the Woods by Emily Carroll
The only graphic novel recommendation here (hopefully I will have some more next year). Good god this one is so creepy – the artwork is stunning and horrifying all at once. This is a collection of short stories and I’m sure at least one of them will keep you up that night!
Asylum by Madeline Roux
Who doesn’t love a creepy book that takes place in an old asylum? It’s one of my favorite type of settings. This is a good one for beginners that want a little scare but nothing TOO much. It’s a fun, little scary story with lots of actual photographs to help give the book the right atmosphere.
The Girl From the Well by Rin Chupeco
A spirit that gets revenge on those who harm children? Sign me up! If you liked The Ring and/or The Grudge then this is probably going to be a book you’ll want to check out. It has a unique take on a popular horror theme.
This is also the October group book for the fantastic Dragons & Tea Book Group, if you are interested in reading it next month.
There’s Someone Inside Your House by Stephanie Perkins
This is a bit of an odd choice for me to include because it reads a lot like a romantic contemporary with a gruesome setting. This wasn’t a lot of people’s favorite book, but I thought it was a lot of fun. I liked the chemistry and the romance didn’t bother me at all. It was a fun, campy, 90s-like slasher book.
Campfire by Shawn Sarles
If you are looking for some cheesy, 90s fun with a death count then look no further. Campfire is reminiscent of films like I Know What You Did Last Summer. It’s just a good time, if you can put your brain away for a few hours and go with it.
Mary: The Summoning (Bloody Mary #1) by Hilary Monohan
Did the Bloody Mary urban legend scare the shit out of you as a child as well? This book plays on that legend. Four girls start messing around with calling upon Mary with some freaky results. This is just a fun, quick read that is perfect for October (or if you are like me – anytime of the year!).
Have you read any of these? Are you planning on reading any for October? Have any recs for me? Let me know in the comments below! Also, don’t worry – I have a recommendation list coming for the scaredy cats among us!