With Halloween just around the corner, what is there to do that’s better than snuggling up in your duvet with a chilling read?
I’ll go for ‘pretty much anything’, as I’m far too easily scared to enjoy horror! But here are ten books that look fantastic for those who aren’t too terrified to read them! (As a sign of just HOW scared I was, as the first line suggests, I started writing this before Halloween but have only just managed to finish it…)
The Haunting of Sunshine Girl by Paige McKenzie (MacMillan Children’s Books) – Based on the YouTube sensation The Haunting of Sunshine Girl Network (which, strangely enough, I haven’t watched because I think I’d have nightmares for weeks!) this is the story of Sunshine, who moves into a new house only to find some seriously spooky stuff going on. Heather Reviews said of it “I’ll admit, with this book, I had to set it aside a couple of times cause it was just freaking me out that little bit too much – but that is exactly what I loved about it.”
Daughters Unto Devils by Amy Lukavics (Simon and Schuster) – In her fabulous review of this one – about a pregnant sixteen-year-old girl in a time period reminiscent of Little House on the Prairie, whose family move to a cabin to find it covered in blood – Hannah from The Irish Banana Reviews says “If you’re squeamish and afraid, might be best to let the big kids handle it.” I’m taking her advice! (Even more so than many others on the list, this definitely sounds like a 14+ read!)
Frozen Charlotte by Alex Bell (Stripes Publishing) – Alex is awesome and I like her so much that I TRIED to read this book, which I think was the first to be published of Stripes’s Red Eye books. I think I lasted 50 pages before finding myself hiding under my bed, though. Sorry Alex! Maia Moore said of the spooky dolls which are the villains of the tale (as far as I can tell from limited reading before I terrify myself – why am I writing this post at around midnight?!) “They were amazing villains and I actually felt afraid to leave my room when I finished reading late at night.”
Sleepless by Lou Morgan (Stripes Publishing) – This is a really worrying premise because, as a college lecturer, I know just how desperate students are to do well in exams! Here, Izzy and her friends take a study drug to help them do well but it leads to bad things happening… Back on Heather Reviews, Heather said “I’m a 24 year old, grown woman who last night checked under her bed for scary things and used the torch function on her phone to get from the door to her bed in the dark because this book was freaking me out that much!”
The Savages by Matt Whyman (Hot Key Books) – My friend Daphne tells me that this macabre story about a family who eat people is a must-read. I’m not convinced she knows me at all. Speaking about not knowing people at all, our friend Stacey who I’ve always thought of as perhaps the sweetest person ever said in her review at The Pretty Books “I devoured it. Is it wrong that it made me hungry? It’s wrong, isn’t it?” It really, REALLY is.
Under My Skin by Zoe Markham (Carina UK) – This actually has me quite intrigued – not least the Frannie in the Pages review asking “When do you stop being a genius scientist working for people’s welfare and become a mad scientist so lost in what he’s doing that he can’t see the cost of his experiments?” It’s about a girl brought back to life by her scientist father who’s on the run with him from the secret government organisation whose secrets they stole.
Trollhunters by Guillermo del Toro and Daniel Kraus (Hot Key Books) – This story about trolls kidnapping children sounds perfect for the many fans of del Toro’s wonderful films. The Bookbag says “It’s a horror for the middle-grade readers, because it does have lashings of gore – monsters are forever losing bits (sometimes even voluntarily) or dripping some kind of fluid very closely to other characters, there is body horror here, there and everywhere, and that visual style I referred to is giving it to us all with a lot of clarity.”
Demon Road by Derek Landy (Harper Collins Children’s Books) – I’ve finally got to book 7 of Landy’s superb Skulduggery Pleasant series, which my friend Caitlin has been trying to get me to read for AGES. As much as I love road trips, this story of a demonic girl on the run from her equally demonic parents sounds too intense for me – The Bookbag says, comparing it to SP “More akin to a traditional horror story, it is a very different beast, immersed in the occult and full of scary, horrible characters and a consistently grimmer tone.”
Through The Woods – Emily Carroll (Faber & Faber) – Described in the Observer as “Brothers Grimm by way of Patricia Highsmith or Stephen King,” this eerie collection of short stories sounds excellent – but I think that a scary graphic novel is likely to terrify me even MORE than a prose book would!
And for a tenth, one which I HAVE read and which utterly terrified me.
Monster by CJ Skuse (MIRA Ink) – Comparisons to the Hound of the Baskervilles meant that I couldn’t quite manage to do the sensible thing and resist CJ Skuse’s story of a 16-year-old girl stuck in school over Christmas as a blizzard rages, while the Beast of Bathory (a giant cat) is rumoured to stalk the moors outside. Because of this, I’d say I’m only blaming CJ herself for 70% of the many sleepless nights I spent; Arthur Conan Doyle carries the can for the other 30%. This is a darkly atmospheric and really thrilling read!