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Books So Good They're Scary

Ornately carved human skull sitting on small stack of books

It’s no secret that this is my favorite time of year - pumpkin patches, crunchy leaves, cooler weather, and of course spooooooky books! But what to read? Something that will leave you sleeping with the lights on? Something a little less terrifying and more atmospheric? Something funny and scary? Whether you’re looking to have your blood chilled, or just want something a little spooky to get you into the Halloween spirit, we’ve got you covered.

Historical Horror

House of Furies by Madeleine Roux - Working in a creepy hotel run by a boss who is maybe the literal devil might win the award for worst first job.

Daughters Unto Devils - After an exceedingly harsh winter, a pioneer family decides to move from their home in the mountains. But when they arrive at their new cabin, they find the walls covered in blood. 

Nightingale by Amy Lukavics - A headstrong young woman in 1951 is committed to a horrifying asylum by her parents when she won’t conform to their idea of a perfect daughter.


The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan - A zombie apocalypse has driven society back to the dark ages - think The Village meets 28 Days Later.

Dread Nation by Justina Ireland - The Civil War comes to an abrupt halt when the dead begin to rise, and young Native and African American people are enlisted to fight them.


There’s Someone Inside Your House by Stephanie Perkins - What’s worse than being the new kid at school? Being the new kid and being stalked by a crazed murderer.

Ten by Gretchen McNeil - Ten teenagers on an island, being murdered one by one. This retelling of Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None will keep you guessing until the end.

Campfire by Shawn Sarles - A family camping trip turns deadly when scary stories told around the campfire start coming true.

Laughing and Screaming

Evil Librarian by Michelle Knudsen - Musical theater, now with 100% more demons!

Hold Me Closer, Necromancer by Lish McBride - Who needs college when you can learn to raise the dead?

Undead Girl Gang by Lily Anderson - Teen Wiccan Mila Flores uses lip gloss and a grimoire to bring her best friend back to life, along with her school’s resident mean girls, all of whom supposedly died as the result of a suspicious suicide pact.

Horror Comics

Animus by Antoine Revoy - Two words: haunted playground.

Through the Woods by Emily Carroll - Carroll’s illustrated ghost stories creep up on you like a monster in the dark.

Thornhill by Pam Smy - Okay, technically, this isn’t a graphic novel. Smy interweaves two stories, one told in words, the other in wordless illustrations, both involving the secrets surrounding the mega-creepy Thornhill Institute for Children.

More Spooky Than Scary

Coraline by Neil Gaiman - Coraline Jones is not happy about her new house, until she finds a secret door that leads to another world, complete with another mother who is not what she seems.

The Diviners by Libba Bray - A flapper joins forces with a conman and a couple of occult academics to stop a ghostly serial killer from terrorizing 1920’s New York.

Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Córdova - When a young bruja tries to rid herself of magic with a curse, she finds herself on an adventure to rescue her family from the underworld.