Who doesn’t love a good scary story? Young adult fiction is full of horror, and not just of the embarrassing-nightmare variety. From ghosts and demons in possession of homes to serial killers making their rounds through schools and parties, here are thirteen terrifying books to introduce you to young adult horror – and maybe even keep you awake at night.
April Genevieve Tucholke
This young adult horror anthology edited by the author of Wink Poppy Midnight and Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea brings together some of the most incredible voices in YA horror. From the unsettlingly supernatural to disturbingly plausible realism, Slasher Girls and Monster Boys is the best way to get a taste of everything young adult horror has to offer.
Micheline is one of the last remaining descendants of the Van Helsing lineage, trained as an exorcist of both corporeal and spiritual monsters. But that doesn’t protect her from being infected with a curse of her own. As her own father starts hunting her down, Micheline must hunt and exorcise one of the most powerful monsters she’s ever faced before it destroys her entirely.
Once someone passes through the gates of a walled city called a Coldtown, they can never leave, trapped there with the quarantined vampires and their human prey. And one morning, Tana wakes up surrounded by corpses—with just her infected ex-boyfriend and a restrained vampire remaining. Faced with the very real possibility her ex could turn into a vampire, she willingly walks into Coldtown to help him ride out the infection without taking a sip of human blood.
When Mila’s best friend is found dead alongside the two meanest girls in their school, she can’t believe the explanation that her friend was involved in a suicide pact. So she temporarily brings the three girls back to life in order to solve their murder. All three girls have unfinished business – and Mila’s going to have to wrangle them in order to solve their murder before the killer finds new victims.
When Sofia starts at her new school, she’s pleasantly surprised to find herself falling in with the most popular girls in school. At least until their leader declares that the school oddball needs to be exorcised. Despite her uncertainty, Sofia agrees to help, only to discover the girls’ idea of an exorcism looks an awful lot more like torture.
Paige expected new life in Idaho after her parents’ high-profile divorce to be the absolute worst. And when she sees the gross old mansion her mom has rented, her fears are confirmed. But flies and spiders turn out to be the least of the house’s horrors when unexplainable things start to happen: multiplying pantry items, bizarre writing on the wall, and the way her little brother wanders the house at night. Told through the diary, photos, and letters Paige left behind, Diary of a Haunting is a book for fans of found footage films like Paranormal Activity.
Tracing her missing mother back to the religious cult she’d escaped seems like Ash’s only lead. But when she arrives in Quivara, Kansas, her mother is nowhere to be found and she’s instantly plagued by memories of her ancestor – memories filled with murder, alchemy, and hints of immortality.
A young adult twist on Agatha Christie’s classic murder mystery And Then There Were None brings ten privileged teens to a remote island for a party – only to start being murdered one by one as an act of vengeance.
As the assistant to a monster-hunting doctor, Will is used to strange callers in the middle of the night, but no one could have expected one to bring a corpse along with the monster that was eating her: a baby Anthropophagus, a headless creature that eats with a mouth on its chest. Now, Will and the doctor must face a growing threat to consume the world, but they must also learn where the line between man and monster lies.
The fence around the village protects those inside it from the Forest of Hands and Teeth. The Unconsecrated are always ready to attack, and the Guardians and the Sisterhood are the only protection the villagers have. These are the truths Mary has learned and knows to be true—until she learns they may not be truths at all.
After moving to Nebraska from Hawaii, Makani is still adjusting to her new life – which isn’t made any easier when her classmates begin to die in a series of increasingly gruesome murders. And as the hunt for the killer intensifies, Makani is forced to face the dark secrets she’d hoped she’d left back in Hawaii.
Louisa’s employment as a maid at a boarding house seems like a welcome respite from the school of harsh punishments she most recently departed – until she learns the real purpose of Coldthistle House: it’s a place that draws evil people, and owner Mr. Morningside is the one who dispenses their punishments. Soon, Louisa fears for the safety of her new friend Lee, a guest at Coldthistle who may be subject to one of the staff’s “punishments,” and she begins to unravel the house of lies to get to the core of the truth.
Rory arrives in London the same day a vicious Jack the Ripper copycat starts slaughtering victims across the city. The police have no witnesses and no leads – that is, until Rory sees the prime suspect. And in fact, she’s the only one who’s seen him. The only one who can see him. And that makes her his next target.