If your plans for this Halloween include staying at home and reading, get into the spooky spirit with a YA horror book! Today, the Tor Teen team is joined by our friends from the horror imprint Nightfire to recommend some scary books to add to your low-key Halloween celebrations.
Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark by Alvin Schwartz
This classic collection of short stories are actually sourced from real cultural tales from all over the US. There’s a story in here called “The Toe” that haunts me to this day! I was first introduced to these books in the third grade and they have stuck with me all my life. Schwartz also wrote In a Dark, Dark Room, and I Can Read! books for young readers which features the classic story “The Green Ribbon,” which Carmen Maria-Machado famously reimagined in her collection Her Body and Other Parties. This is where the stuff of legend happens, folks!
—Jordan, Marketing Manager
Eventide by Sarah Goodman
Let me start by saying this captivating and cozy ghost story is—hands down—one of my favorite reads of 2020.
Eventide is an eerie Southern Gothic historical fantasy from first-time author Sarah Goodman that follows a young woman named Verity Pruitt as she uncovers unsettling secrets from her family’s unearthly past. As Verity dives deeper into her parents’ hidden history with the mysterious town of Wheeler, something wicked waits in the shadows preparing to bring terror into Verity’s life and all those she holds dear.
This immersive novel has all of the key ingredients necessary for a delicious spooky reading experience; you’ve got:
🏘️ A haunted small town with a tragic past
🌲 A creepy well in the woods
😱 Ghost girls popping up out of nowhere
If you are a fan of dark, atmospheric tales like Mexican Gothic and Netflix’s Rebecca, it’s time for you to experience the magic and madness of Eventide.
—Isa Caban, Marketing Manager
The Last Harvest by Kim Liggett
If your Dad died a grisly death in front of you, and his last words were “I plead the blood,” you’d be pretty freaked out, right? In The Last Harvest, the story begins a year after the horrifying murder of Clay Tate’s father, and he still doesn’t know much about why his father was killed. He lives with his family on a wheat farm and wants to finish the last harvest before winter rolls in, but he can’t help but get distracted by the bizarre behavior of his community in the small town of Midland, Oklahoma.
Winner of the Bram Stoker Award in 2017 for Best Young Adult Novel, this book is incredibly creepy, and its twists and turns will have you on the edge of your seat right up until the last page. I highly recommend this to anyone who loves creepy small-town horror stories with classic slasher movie vibes!
—Sarah Pannenberg, Digital Marketing Coordinator
Here There Are Monsters by Amelinda Bérubé
Here There Are Monsters has everything that I love in a horror novel—creepy woods, impossible choices, morally gray characters, and a complicated sister relationship at the heart of it all. Amelinda Bérubé is a master of building suspense and creating characters who are trying their best but just keep making everything worse. It’s a haunting read about sacrifice, sisterhood, and accepting the consequences of your actions. I can’t recommend it enough.
—Kristin, Assistant Editor
The Dead by Charlie Higson
Scenes from this novel still haunt me ten years later. Though this is the second book in Higson’s The Enemy series, it’s totally fine as a standalone, and documents the start of a zombie apocalypse in which only people at or over the age of 16 are affected, and everyone’s infected. When the adults turn into ravenous monsters, the boys of Rowhurst Boarding School must rely on each other to survive. Spoiler alert: Not all of them do. The Dead documents the dangerous journey of this evolving group (new members joining in to replace the ranks of those violently lost) as they travel to London.
My favorite part of this book, aside from the positively gruesome zombie gore, is the central relationship between best friends Ed and Jack. While Ed was the popular cool guy at Rowhurst, Jack was more reserved and timid, but when chips are down and the apocalypse is all around, it’s Jack who has the strength to step up. The two clash and make up and fight zombies and it’s all very bloody.
Read this if you love fast action and gut-wrenching goodbyes.
—Andrew King, Marketing Assistant