And the first annual 13 Nights of Halloween has BEGUN! And what better way to kick off this event than with a list of awesome Halloween-ish books!? Below, instead of a synopsis you’ll find a snippet of my thoughts for each book and why they made this list.
Now, as a rule, I do not do scary. I’m a giant chicken at heart and I scare so easy that I just know better at this point. But over the years I’ve read a few books that have become an exception to the rule!
Anna Dressed In Blood by Kendare Blake
Anna Dressed In Blood was the kind of story that vividly stayed with me YEARS after reading it. Blake did an unbelievable job of making Anna FEEL like the various urban legends we knew growing up. And she expertly toed the line of scary but enjoyable vs over the top and unnecessary. There is a particular scene in the first few chapters involving a football player that still gives me chills to this day! Kudos to Blake for writing something filled with such heart that was also scary and action packed!
The Coldest Girl In Coldtown by Holly Black
You can’t mention Halloween without a vampire coming to mind am I right?! And what better vampire story than one where the vampires are actual blood thirsty killers!? The Coldest Girl In Coldtown brought back the original concept of vampires and morphed it into a completely new and unique story that I honestly consumed in nearly one sitting. And for a 400+ page book I think that’s saying a lot! The second best thing was the gore! There was so much BLOOD! Massacre after massacre. Vicious vampire attacks. Humans being equally horrible. I LOVED IT!
It by Stephen King
I say this with as much seriousness as one can convey via words on the internet….Clowns. Are. My. Biggest. Fear. And I KNOW It was so much more than just a clown luring small children to their ultimate demise via the sewer system. I know this. But when I look back on that ONE time I read It (over 10 years ago) that darn clown is all I can think of. And isn’t that what Halloween is all about? Bringing your deepest, darkest, fears to the forefront and making you remember why you were so terrified in the first place. Making you relive that terror. Envision it. Believe it. And I’m scared all over again!
The Dead House by Dawn Kurtagich
I’m not sure if it was the mixed media usage, or the way it was written, but this book gave me the heebie jeebies! This was Kurtagich’s debut novel and let me tell y’all! She did not disappoint. Even though the world was set in our own, it was the kind of story that becomes it’s on urban legend. The type of plot that is passed around a camp fire on the night of a full moon. And you can tell Kurtagich has a gift for the macabre! How, you ask? Because her second novel made this list too…..
And The Trees Crept In by Dawn Kurtagich
What can I say! This woman has a GIFT! Never have I had my socks scared off TWICE by the same author (with the exception of Stephen King obviously). I read this over the course of a few days and sweet goodness gracious was I jumpy! It didn’t take me long to finish because it was lacking in any way. It took me a while to finish because with each page my apprehension and paranoia grew. Was the Creeper Man after me too? Were my tress closer today than they were yesterday? Was I reading a book that was vividly describing my own demise?! I DON’T KNOW! But I do know that if you’re looking for something fresh, eerie, and just a bit too real, this is it.
The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater
I know what you’re saying. “But Octavia this wasn’t scary! This wasn’t creepy” Honey boo boo let me break it down. Lay lines. Paranormal. GHOST! Halloween. A family of psychics. HALLOWEEN AS FUQ! Everything about this book had some paranormal/traditional Halloween character/event/entity. While it was not scary or even creepy really I still feel it’s a great read during this fabulous Halloween season. Stiefvater has cultivated a band of misfits, unlike any band we’ve seen since the group of friends in It.
Parasite by Mira Grant
We all know that vampires, and werewolves, and zombies are scary. But what about the idea that something could hijack your body and mind and make you something completely different? If that ain’t scary to you I’d hate to see what is! The thing that I loved most about Parasite was the plausibility of it all. Even though it’s categorized as science fiction, it really isn’t that far of a leap from reality. And those are the scariest kinds of stories.
A Drop Of Night by Stefan Bachmann
While this is marked as “mystery/thriller” on GR, as the story unravels you begin to see an underlying and paranormal plot. I don’t want to spoil any of the books on this list, and I won’t. Just know that, the further into it I got, the more apprehensive I became. Was this unbelievable and opulent underground mansion real? That sound heard outside the library…..was it truly the death of those well trained men? Is any of this really happening? They didn’t know. And you will second guess yourself until the very last page, and that is good enough for me.
Carrie by Stephen King I’m sure it comes as no surprise that Stephen King is making another appearance on this list (and will again shortly) but I will say that Carrie, is without a doubt the most twisted book I’ve ever read. The movie, while great, has nothing on the book. On the talent that King has for building an entire world and dialogue that places you not in the shoes of the MC but directly next to them. In a place where you can see and hear everything. Where you know that what they’re experiencing is wrong, and terrible and no one should have to go through it. But also a place that leaves you 100% powerless to do anything about it.
Pet Sematary by Stephen King
Last King book I SWEAR! I read this one way back in middle school, so the details are a little fuzzy. But I do recall one very vivd thing. For years after I didn’t want a pet. Not even a simple gold fish. I didn’t want to bury the one we did have, and I definitely had nightmares about our house being built on a sacred burial ground. To me, the sign of an excellent horror novel is it’s ability to strike fear into you well after you’ve forgotten the details. And this is something King manages to do with every single novel he’s written.
Let me explain ok? Harry Potter, as we all know, is a story completely set in a magical world of witches, wizards, goblins, dragons, etc. All things that Halloween has traditionally held domain over. That is reason enough for HP to make this list. But this book. This book was one of the darker one for me as a kid. Sure I could have picked The Deathly Hallows or even The Half Blood Prince since they both had very dark tones throughout, but something about THIS one….. I remember sitting up late as a kid reading this and feeling so apprehensive about everything going on. I was worried for Harry and not just because of You Know Who. And that stuck with me. So here it is. With it’s colorful and child enticing cover, earning a spot on a list full some of the scariest books I’ve read. Deal with it.
House of Ivy and Sorrow by Natalie Whipple
KICK ASS WITCHES! Do I really have to say more? Do I really have to explain why a family of powerful and determined witches deserve a spot on my Halloween list? This was the first witch story I’ve read and I honestly loved it. It had some of the predictable YA troupes but overall it was still a great introduction into the world of YA witches. It wasn’t scary. Or suspenseful. It didn’t have blood or guts. It was the story of a young witch, a curse, and her determination to fight back. Win for Glen Coco!
Fiendish by Brenna Yovanoff
Clementine spent TEN YEARS trapped in a cellar with her mouth SEWED SHUT. If that doesn’t scream Halloween maybe you should get your ears checked! I know a lot of people have either a LOVE or hate hate hate relationship with Yovanoff’s work but I can honestly say this woman it unbelievable! Not only do we start with this bizarre story of a girl surviving without food, water, or movement for 10 years. But when things actually get weird (oh I know you didn’t think that was the weird part!) they get WEIRD! The thing I’ve learned with all of Yovanoff’s work is that patience, and a little curiosity goes a long way. She’s not going to give you everything up front. And she definitely not going tofollow just one road to the overall plot line.
And those are my Top 13 Halloween-is Reads! Nothing on here was too scary (besides It) but I guarantee they all will get you into that creeptastic Halloween mood! Don’t forget to come back tomorrow to see my review of And The Trees Crept In!