It’s Halloween and you want a Halloween-y read. But every year you are forced to remember then when it comes to horror you can’t handle anything scarier then watching Stranger Things in broad daylight with three other people. Sigh.
But fear not! I, too, have this affliction, and after writing last week’s Top Ten Tuesday list of Scary YA books that I will probably never go near for fear of nightmares, I have decided to write a list of some not-totally-scary YA thrillers and light horrors.
Disclaimer: We all have different tolerance levels when it comes to these things, so I’m going to try my best to explain how scary I believe they are, but in the end I can’t be 100% sure how scary they will be to you.
1. The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin
Mara Dyer believes life can’t get any stranger than waking up in a hospital with no memory of how she got there.
She believes there must be more to the accident she can’t remember that killed her friends and left her strangely unharmed.
She doesn’t believe that after everything she’s been through, she can fall in love.
A sort of thriller? I’ve heard some people say that there was one definite scary scene in this book, but before I did my research for the last book list I had no idea this was supposed to be scary at all. It seems like there are mixed opinions on whether or not this is a good book as well, but I’ve always wanted to give it a go so hopefully I’ll get round to it eventually.
2. Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
A mysterious island. An abandoned orphanage. A strange collection of curious photographs.
A horrific family tragedy sets sixteen-year-old Jacob journeying to a remote island off the coast of Wales, where he discovers the crumbling ruins of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. As Jacob explores its abandoned bedrooms and hallways, it becomes clear that the children were more than just peculiar. They may have been dangerous. They may have been quarantined on a deserted island for good reason. And somehow—impossible though it seems—they may still be alive.
A spine-tingling fantasy illustrated with haunting vintage photography, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children will delight adults, teens, and anyone who relishes an adventure in the shadows
Has everyone in the world but me read this now? If not, I’ve seen multiple people recommend this for Halloween but I’ve also heard it said that its not that scary. Also, could there be a more perfect time to pick this book up (with the movie and all?)
3. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by JK Rowling
The Dursleys were so mean and hideous that summer that all Harry Potter wanted was to get back to the Hogwarts School for Witchcraft and Wizardry. But just as he’s packing his bags, Harry receives a warning from a strange, impish creature named Dobby who says that if Harry Potter returns to Hogwarts, disaster will strike.
And strike it does. For in Harry’s second year at Hogwarts, fresh torments and horrors arise, including an outrageously stuck-up new professor, Gilderoy Lockhart, a spirit named Moaning Myrtle who haunts the girls’ bathroom, and the unwanted attentions of Ron Weasley’s younger sister, Ginny. But each of these seem minor annoyances when the real trouble begins, and someone, or something, starts turning Hogwarts students to stone. Could it be Draco Malfoy, a more poisonous rival than ever? Could it possibly be Hagrid, whose mysterious past is finally told? Or could it be the one everyone at Hogwarts most suspects: Harry Potter himself?
Seriously, this book is such a good book to get you in the Halloween mood. Massive snakes and spiders aside, the mystery element of this kept me on the edge of my seat when I first read Chamber of Secrets, and I have picked it up around this time of year before to get me in the halloween spirit, and it definitely works.
4. The Summoning by Kelley Armstrong
My name is Chloe Saunders and my life will never be the same again.
All I wanted was to make friends, meet boys, and keep on being ordinary. I don’t even know what that means anymore. It all started on the day that I saw my first ghost – and the ghost saw me.
Now there are ghosts everywhere and they won’t leave me alone. To top it all off, I somehow got myself locked up in Lyle House, a “special home” for troubled teens. Yet the home isn’t what it seems. Don’t tell anyone, but I think there might be more to my housemates than meets the eye. The question is, whose side are they on? It’s up to me to figure out the dangerous secrets behind Lyle House… before its skeletons come back to haunt me.
This book has all the elements that make a bad cheap horror flick, an old New England House, delinquent teenagers, mysterious noises from the basement and ghosts but with the added bonus of no jump scares. I really enjoyed the Summoning when I read it earlier this year, and because it has all the typical horror movie tropes but isn’t scary I couldn’t not put it on this list.
5. These Broken Stars by Amie Kauffman and Meghan Spooner
Luxury spaceliner Icarus suddenly plummets from hyperspace into the nearest planet. Lilac LaRoux and Tarver Merendsen survive – alone. Lilac is the daughter of the richest man in the universe. Tarver comes from nothing, a cynical war hero. Both journey across the eerie deserted terrain for help. Everything changes when they uncover the truth.
The Starbound Trilogy: Three worlds. Three love stories. One enemy
You probably didn’t expect to see this one on here, but back when I read this I found it undeniably chilling. A sort of space thriller/romance two people who are aboard the space version of the titanic are seemingly the only people to survive the crash, as they land on a deserted planet. But as time wears on, and mysterious voices follow them, they realise they might not be as alone as they’d first thought.
6. This Savage Song by VE Schwab
There’s no such thing as safe in a city at war, a city overrun with monsters. In this dark urban fantasy from author Victoria Schwab, a young woman and a young man must choose whether to become heroes or villains—and friends or enemies—with the future of their home at stake. The first of two books.
Kate Harker and August Flynn are the heirs to a divided city—a city where the violence has begun to breed actual monsters. All Kate wants is to be as ruthless as her father, who lets the monsters roam free and makes the humans pay for his protection. All August wants is to be human, as good-hearted as his own father, to play a bigger role in protecting the innocent—but he’s one of the monsters. One who can steal a soul with a simple strain of music. When the chance arises to keep an eye on Kate, who’s just been kicked out of her sixth boarding school and returned home, August jumps at it. But Kate discovers August’s secret, and after a failed assassination attempt the pair must flee for their lives.
Monsters! This is seriously a haunting book. Go read it!
7. The Immortal Rules by Julie Kagawa
To survive in a ruined world, she must embrace the darkness
Allison Sekemoto survives in the Fringe, the outermost circle of a walled-in city. By day, she and her crew scavenge for food. By night, any one of them could be eaten. Some days, all that drives Allie is her hatred of them—the vampires who keep humans as blood cattle. Until the night Allie herself dies and becomes one of the monsters.
Forced to flee her city, Allie must pass for human as she joins a ragged group of pilgrims seeking a legend—a place that might have a cure for the disease that killed off most of civilization and created the rabids, the bloodthirsty creatures who threaten human and vampire alike. And soon Allie will have to decide what and who is worth dying for again.
Enter Julie Kagawa’s dark and twisted world as an unforgettable journey begins
Imagine a world overrun by Vampires, who keep humans alive to be blood slaves- sounds pretty horrific to me.
8. Cracked by Eliza Crewe
Meet Meda. She eats people.
Well, technically, she eats their soul. But she totally promises to only go for people who deserve it. She’s special. It’s not her fault she enjoys it. She can’t help being a bad guy. Besides, what else can she do? Her mother was killed and it’s not like there are any other “soul-eaters” around to show her how to be different. That is, until the three men in suits show up.
They can do what she can do. They’re like her. Meda might finally have a chance to figure out what she is. The problem? They kind of want to kill her. Before they get the chance Meda is rescued by crusaders, members of an elite group dedicated to wiping out Meda’s kind. This is her chance! Play along with the “good guys” and she’ll finally figure out what, exactly, her ‘kind’ is.
Be careful what you wish for. Playing capture the flag with her mortal enemies, babysitting a teenage boy with a hero complex, and trying to keep one step ahead of a too-clever girl are bad enough. But the Hunger is gaining on her.
The more she learns, the worse it gets. And when Meda uncovers a shocking secret about her mother, her past, and her destiny… she may finally give into it.
Eating people? Scary stuff.
9. Unspoken by Sarah Rees Brennan
Kami Glass loves someone she’s never met . . . a boy she’s talked to in her head ever since she was born. She wasn’t silent about her imaginary friend during her childhood, and is thus a bit of an outsider in her sleepy English town of Sorry-in-the-Vale. Still, Kami hasn’t suffered too much from not fitting in. She has a best friend, runs the school newspaper, and is only occasionally caught talking to herself. Her life is in order, just the way she likes it, despite the voice in her head.
But all that changes when the Lynburns return.
The Lynburn family has owned the spectacular and sinister manor that overlooks Sorry-in-the-Vale for centuries. The mysterious twin sisters who abandoned their ancestral home a generation ago are back, along with their teenage sons, Jared and Ash, one of whom is eerily familiar to Kami. Kami is not one to shy away from the unknown—in fact, she’s determined to find answers for all the questions Sorry-in-the-Vale is suddenly posing. Who is responsible for the bloody deeds in the depths of the woods? What is her own mother hiding? And now that her imaginary friend has become a real boy, does she still love him? Does she hate him? Can she trust him?
In all honesty I don’t know how scary this book is at all, but it does look pretty interesting. I had a lot of imaginary friends when I was growing up, so this idea appeals to me…
10. Jinx by Meg Cabot
It’s not easy being Jinx.
Jean Honeychurch hates her boring name (not Jean Marie, or Jeanette, just . . . Jean). What’s worse? Her all-too-appropriate nickname, Jinx. Misfortune seems to follow her everywhere she goes—even to New York City, where Jinx has moved to get away from the huge mess she caused in her small hometown. Her aunt and uncle welcome her to their Manhattan town house, but her beautiful cousin Tory isn’t so thrilled. . . .
In fact, Tory is hiding a dangerous secret—one that could put them all in danger. Soon Jinx realizes it isn’t just bad luck she’s been running from . . . and that the curse she has lived under since the day she was born may be the only thing that can save her life.
And because I had to squeeze a Meg Cabot book in there somewhere, Jinx is the perfect halloween read that is 100% non-scary. A girl who is so unlucky she gets re-named Jinx has to leave home after her latest debacle, and moves to New York to live with her Uncle and Aunt, only to find something weird is up with her cousin Tory…