Halloween is just around the corner, so what a perfect time to get looking for a book to put you in the perfect Halloween mood. Whether you are looking for something to send chills down your spine, something that is magical and enchanting, or a book that is just down right scary, I hope this list has something for you.
1. Shallow Graves by Kali Wallace:
Breezy wakes up buried. She claws her way out, mud in her mouth and ears and she’s scared. There’s a man there, but he isn’t alive for long – Breezy kills him with her touch. Breezy attempts to find out what she is, who she is and why this is happening to her.
Wallace manages to compel the reader to continue. She writes Breezy with such an authentic voice and an enjoyable narrative. Her journey to found out if she’s creature or human, and what being a ‘monster’ really means, is a highlight of the novel. A perfect Halloween read that isn’t overly gritty and dark, but with undertones of horror.
2. The Archived by Victoria Schwab
There is an Archive, but instead of book resting on shelves it is the dead instead. These dead are called Histories and can the lives of the dead can only be read by Librarians. When these Histories awaken – often violent and disturbed – Mac is the one who has to stop them from escaping. She is a Keeper.
The Archived is a richly imagined and unique novel. Delving into the realm between the living and the dead – set in an old hotel – Schwab managed to create a compelling and haunting story with lovable characters and an intriguing plot.
3. Say Her Name by Juno Dawson
Bobbie Rowe does not believe in ghosts and she certainly does not scare easy. However, on Halloween, Bobbie and her friends call Bloody Mary 5 times in the bathroom mirror of her spooky boarding school. The next morning, Bobbie finds a message on the bathroom mirror – five days. It turns out ghosts are real, and Mary is coming for her.
If Bloody Mary haunting this group of friends in a boarding school on Halloween doesn’t convince you to pick this one up, I don’t know what will. I wouldn’t call Say Her Name a terrifying read, BUT, there was definitely an eerie and sinister atmosphere and the ending will leave you shocked.
4. When The Moon Was Ours by Anna-Marie McLemore
Meil and Sam are inseparable, and to everyone else they seem to be strange. Meil spilled out of the towns water tower when she was young, and roses grows from her wrists and Sam paints moons across town. As strange as people think they are, even they stay away from the Bonner sisters who are rumoured to be witches, but now they want Meil’s roses…
When The Moon Was Ours is a magical and enchanting read full of lyrical writing. There were pumpkins, flowers growing from Meil’s wrists, and a boy who paints moons. When the Moon Was Ours is not a creepy or haunting but it is magical and if that is what you want this Halloween then this one if for you.
5. In the Shadow of Blackbirds by Cat Winters
It’s San Diego, 1918, a time when the world was plagued by war and influenza. Mary Shelley Black has been sent to live with her Aunt after her father has been arrested for treason. Mary is being used as a model for a spiritual photographer, but she has always been skeptical of ghosts. However, after the death of her beloved Stephen during the war, she starts to believe.
In the Shadow of Blackbirds is a gripping and chilling novel. There was an eerie atmosphere made better as the book was accompanied by period time photography placed throughout the book. A perfect Halloween ghost read.
6. Of Metal and Wishes by Sarah Fine
Wen has just lost her mother and so has to move into the slaughterhouse where her father works. With her pretty dresses and good looks, Wen is considered a peacock. She begins a friendship with the Ghost who is just as lonely as she is, and it starts a turmoil of events.
It’s dark and chilling, suspenseful and fast paced with some great compelling characters that you both love and hate. The novel is richly detailed yet gritty when it gets down to describing the harsh life that is Gochan One. This was a fantastic novel with a genuine creepy feel to it.
7. The Girl From The Well by Rin Chupeco
Okiku is a ghost. She kills those who kill children. Hundreds of years ago she was thrown down a well, and she haunts and kills men like that of her murderer. She sees a strange boy. A boy with tattoos that move and creates unease in people who see them. This boy has something attached to him. Something dark which he carries with him where ever he goes.
The Girl From The Well is undeniably a creepy and chilling book which does leave you with a feeling of unease with scenes straight out of horror movies. This is the PERFECT Halloween read.
8. Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Cordova
Alex is a bruja – one of the most powerful in her generation but she fears her magic and she wants her magic gone. At her Deathday celebration she performs a spell to get rid of her magic. The spell backfires and her entire family disappears into Los Lagos. Desperate to fix her mistake and save her family, she travels to Los Lagos with a brujo boy she doesn’t trust.
Labyrinth Lost is an original and compelling book filled with lots of culture, mythology and tradition and is a fantastical, magical, and enchanting read.
9. The Madman’s Daughter by Megan Shepherd
The Madman’s Daughter follows the story of Juliet who now lives alone in Victorian London after her father abandoned her after a scandal. When she runs into someone who knows where her father is, she is determined to find out if the rumours are true and is soon travelling to a secluded island. There Juliet discovers the horrifying truth about her father and his grotesque experiments.
The Madman’s Daughter was full of suspense, intrigue, secrets and many horrific and creepy moments. So if you are looking for a chilling Halloween read, then this one is for you.
10. The Diviners by Libba Bray
Evie O’Neill has been sent away from her parents in Ohio to live with her Uncle in New York. Evie sees this as a blessing and soon makes friends with a Ziegfield girl called Theta, and her old friend Mabel, and attends party after party. However, Evie is soon dragged into her Uncles world of murder, superstition and the supernatural and Evie has a secret which may catch the murderer.
The Diviners is a richly atmospheric book set in 1920s America, with a fantastically written mystery and great characters. A perfect Halloween ghost story that I promise will not disappoint.
11. As I Descended by Robin Talley
Maria and Lily are best friends and a couple with dreams of going to college together. But one thing stands in their way – Delilah Dufrey, who is in the lead to win the Kingsley Prize, the winner of which gets awarded a full scholarship to the college of their choice. Maria and Lily are willing to do whatever it takes to dethrone Delilah and win the Kingsley Prize, including harness the darkness that haunts Acheron Academy, a former plantation. As things take a perilously dark turn, Maria and Lily must decide where to draw the line on their ambition.
As I Descended is a eerie, atmospheric modern-day retelling of Macbeth, featuring Maria as Macbeth and Lily as Lady Macbeth set in an elite boarding. The story itself is intricate, suspenseful, dark and creepy with an epic conclusion. I think this is a seriously fantastic YA Halloween read with some great LGBT representation and cultural diversity. It’s atmospheric and creepy without being over the top, and seriously makes you question your decision to read this at night.
Already read everything on this list? Looking for something different? Perhaps check out these:
The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan, The Mediator series by Meg Cabot, Jackaby by William Ritter, Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs, Razorhurst by Justine Larbalestier, The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson, Imaginary Girls and The Walls Around Us by Nova Ren Suma.