Halloween is almost upon us all and to get into the mood, here’s 10 teen horror books to amp up the scare. Warning: horror and general creepiness abound!
The Diviners by Libba Bray
The year is 1926, and country girl Evie O’Niell has moved to the bustling, glistening streets of New York City. She’s ecstatic–except for the fact that she has to live with her weird uncle who loves everything about the occult.
So it’s understandable that Evie wants to keep her supernatural powers secret. But when a murderer starts prowling through the streets of New York, she realizes that her powers might just be the key to catching him.
The Diviners is one of my favorite books in this list. Don’t be put off by the length of the novel; Libba Bray will make you feel so much like you’re living in the days of speakeasies, pickpockets, and bob cuts that you’d be breezing through the pages. There will be scenes where your hairs will stand on its ends, I tell you.
>> Buy The Diviners on Amazon <<
Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake
Anna Dressed in Blood follows the story of Cas Lowood, a not-so-regular dude since his vocation, inherited from his father after the latter died, is to go traveling the country killing ghosts. Armed with his father’s athame, and accompanied with his mom and their cat, he heads to one of his missions: kill the ghost called Anna Dressed in Blood.
Still dressed in the bloodied nightgown she wore on the day of her death, Anna haunts her Victorian house where she died in a particularly brutal murder in 1958 and kills everyone who dares step in. So why does she spare Cas’s life?
Anna Dressed in Blood has the spooks, romance, and mystery all combined into one book. And the ending is a definite shocker!
>> Buy Anna Dressed in Blood on Amazon <<
Girl of Nightmares by Kendare Blake
Six months after the events in Anna Dressed in Blood, Cas can’t concentrate on his trade without thinking about Anna, the dead girl who he loves more than any other living girl. He sees her in his dreams and in his waking nightmares.
But something’s wrong: Each time she appears before him, she looks even more gruesome than before. She’s still a tortured soul, and because of what she means to him and because she’s saved him more than once, he decides to set out and return the favor.
Girl of Nightmares, the sequel to Anna Dressed in Blood, promises to resolve the many questions in the first book. Plus, it ups the scare factor and creepiness!
>> Buy Girl of Nightmares on Amazon <<
Coraline by Neil Gaiman
Coraline’s always wondered what is behind the locked door in the drawing room. But when she finally opens it, she discovers a home that’s exactly like her own. Except her parents are cooler, even if they have creepy, black buttons for eyes.
Her button-eyed parents in the other world want her for their own, and eventually she realizes that her own parents and three other kids are in danger. With the help of an aloof cat, she sets out on her task to confronting the monsters in the other world before they trap her in it forever.
Although Coraline is technically a children’s book, I’m featuring it here anyway because this is an enjoyable read for young adults (and adults with hearts of a kid) as well. The atmosphere and scenes are super creepy. Neil Gaiman is one of my favorite authors and this book is a great example of how he manages to pull you into different worlds with his expert and creative storytelling.
>> Buy Coraline on Amazon <<
Dollhouse by Anya Allyn
Cassie’s best friend, Aisha, vanishes during a school trip. With conviction, Cassie, Aisha’s boyfriend Ethan, and Lacey, set off to find her. During their search, they stumble into and get trapped inside the dollhouse, an abandoned mansion filled with life-sized toys.
To escape, Cassie must find out the secrets of the dollhouse and her connection to it… before it’s too late.
The Dollhouse is the first in the Dark Carousel series. Unfortunately, as of posting, The Dollhouse Series is currently off-sale; you can visit the author’s website for current status. If you do manage to get your hands on a used copy though, be assured that it’s a creepy, gothic-horror book that promises chilling scenes and unique twists and turns!
>> Buy Dollhouse Books (Used Paperback) on Amazon <<
The Dead Girls of Hysteria Hall by Katie Alender
Delia is a strong-willed, rebellious girl. Sort of like the girls thrown into what used to be the Piven Institute for the Care and Correction of Troubled Females and was now her house. Nicknamed Hysteria Hall, the grounds doesn’t seem the type to forget their past. So it traps Delia in it.
Girls in their olden nightgowns roam the halls. A ghost boy haunts the grounds. The walls of Hysteria Hall themselves have their dark secrets. Delia must uncover them so that she can be set free.
And she must also do it quickly, or else Hysteria Hall will take away everything she loves.
The Dead Girls of Hysteria Hall is a suspenseful, heart-stopping tale about memories, secrets, and what it really means to be insane.
>> Buy The Dead Girls of Hysteria Hall on Amazon <<
The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan
Mary’s lived inside the village surrounding the Forest of Hands and Teeth (read: zombie-infested forest) her whole life. The village is governed by The Sisterhood, who also writes down the rules and ensures they’re followed. The Guardians protect them, The Sisterhood knows best, and no matter what you do you must never cross the fence that guards the village against the monsters surrounding them.
But then Mary discovers unsettling truths about The Sisterhood and The Guardians–and then the fence is breached. On the run with a small group, Mary must now learn how to live outside the village while avoiding the zombies at almost every turn.
The Forest of Hands and Teeth isn’t just a zombie story; it’s also a story about humanity. Carrie Ryan does a great job at focusing on the Mary’s dreams and aspirations, and also the struggles of humans in a world where death surrounds them. I highly recommend this one!
>> Buy The Forest of Hands and Teeth on Amazon <<
This is Not a Test by Courtney Summers
It’s a zombie apocalypse and Sloane Price has nothing to live for, with her family gone and no friends to turn to. So when she and five other teenagers seek shelter in Cortege High, she doesn’t really do much to keep surviving and pretty much accepts her fate.
But these other teenagers want to live, and as time progresses inside their shelter, friendships, acquaintances, and rivalries are made. Eventually, the events inside the school become almost as dangerous as the zombies that plague the outside.
“When everything is gone, what do you hold on to?” is the question at the center of This is Not a Test. For a zombie book this has a lot of introspection and heart, and there are so many gut-wrenching moments interspersed with hair-raising tension. Another one of my highly recommended reads!
>> Buy This is Not a Test on Amazon <<
Rot and Ruin by Jonathan Maberry
In post-apocalyptic America, zombies roam the lands, and every teenager must get a job by the time they’re fifteen or risk getting their rations cut in half. Young Benny Imura does not want to become a zombie hunter if it means hanging out with his older brother Tom. He kind of has to, though, if he wants those rations.
He thinks it’ll be a tiresome, gueling job hacking off zombies left and right. And, well, there is a lot of zombies and a lot of hacking them off. But he also ends up learning more about his brother, relationships, and what it really means to be human.
Expect a lot of action in this book, plus surprisingly heartwarming moments. Rot and Ruin isn’t just a zombie story, but a story of the bond between two brothers.
>> Buy Rot and Ruin on Amazon <<
Shutter by Courtney Alameda
Micheline Helsing, one of the last descendants of the Van Helsing lineage, is a tetrachromat–a person who can see auras of the undead. Corporeal undeads can be killed by a bullet, Spiritual ones by a lens. So, armed with an analog SLR camera as her best weapon, she goes on adventures to exorcise ghosts, along with three companions: Oliver, Jude, and Ryder.
But when a ghost hunt goes wrong, Micheline and her friends end up getting cursed. The curse, called soulchain, spreads through their bodies, and if Micheline can’t find a way to exorcise the entity within seven days, they’ll all die.
Shutter uses a lot of technology and theories that ghosts hunters already have, plus the lead character is a smart and believable teenage girl. Plus, the book cover is super creepy, I just had to add it to the list!
>> Buy Shutter on Amazon <<
Teen Horror Books Honorable Mentions
- Possess by Gretchen McNeil: Bridget can hear demon voices–and she can banish them too. But when a demon delivers her a strange message, can she discover the meaning in time before those close to her dies?
- Asylum by Madeleine Roux: Dan and his two newfound friends are having a great time at their summer program. Until they learn that the grounds used to be an asylum for the criminally insane, and that they didn’t meet each other by accident…
- Another Little Piece by Kate Karyus Quinn: Amnesiac Annaliese Rose Gordon knows only two things: one, that she’s not the real Annaliese Rose Gordon. Two, that she needs to find out the twisted secrets of her past so that she can stop the cycle of violence that her broken memories hint at.
Do you think I missed some great teen horror books in my list? Which YA horror books have you already read? Let me know in the comments below!
I also have a list of Top 5 New Teen Book Releases for September that you can check out!