As I was looking for books I wanted to read for Horror October, I realized something: There’s not very many YA horror books.
I’m not talking “horror” stories that are about cute ghosts or are all romancey and shit.
I’m talking REAL. HORROR. Gory, homicidal, disturbing, you’re-going-to-die, HORROR.
There are only two books I’ve ever read that were labeled as horror that I actually consider to be real horror:
The Monstrumologist and Lockdown. Both were totally dark and twisted, and were actually creepy. Now, there’s really nothing that ever scares me. I have yet to find a horror movie or book that actually scared me. But they sure did give me the heebie jeebies! [side note: The ONLY horror movie that ever truly creeped me out was The Hills Have Eyes. Deformed, inbred psychopath rapists in the middle of the desert *shudder*]
I would LOVE to find a book/movie that is truly scary. To be honest, I don’t even know if it’s possible for me. I don’t know if it’s the fact that I know it’s fiction, or if it’s just because I love twisted things. Then again, I don’t really feel any fear for much of anything. I’m afraid of spiders, sure, but it’s not actual terror. It’s just a ew-they’re-creepy-get-it-away-kill-it-now kinda thing. I’ve only felt real terror once in my whole life, and I don’t care to talk about it – but it had to do with a loved one’s life being in danger. That is really the only thing that legitimately scares me. I’ve also never been in a bad situation before where fear was warranted. I know I’m not immortal, but death isn’t something that worries me yet.
ANYWAY. Got off on a tangent there, oopsie. (DON’T JUDGE ME BECAUSE I HAVE THE ATTENTION SPAN OF A GOLDFISH.)
So. Horror in YA sucks. Aside from the aforementioned titles, here’s the ones I’ve read:
- Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake – ★★★★
- Girl of Nightmares by Kendare Blake – ★★★
- Masque of the Red Death by Bethany Griffin – ★
- Nevermore by Kelly Creagh – ★★★½
- Something Strange and Deadly by Susan Dennard – ★★★
- Unquiet, The by Jeannine Garsee – ★★★★
- Ten by Gretchen McNeil – ★★★
- Another Little Piece by Kate Karyus Quinn – ★★★★
- Fiendish by Brenna Yovanoff – ★½
- Slasher Girls and Monster Boys anthology – ★★★★
As you can see, I didn’t care a whole lot for many of them. Some of these were more of thrillers than horror, too. And actually, the ones I rated higher didn’t leave a lasting impression. Looking back, I don’t really care much for Anna Dressed in Blood. I remember enjoying Another Little Piece and The Unquiet, but I don’t remember any of either book! Everything else was just meh. I did really love a few of the short stories in Slasher Girls, but I want a WHOLE book!
All of those books, with the exception of some of the short stories, were what I consider to be fluffy “horror.” Anna is bloody, sure, but it is a romance at its core. None of these books were even close to scary. And again, most of them are truly more thriller than horror.
And then there’s the ones I DNFed:
- Shutter by Courtney Alameda
- Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
- The Name of the Star (Shades of London #1) by Maureen Johnson
- Rot and Ruin (Benny Imura #1) by Jonathan Maberry
- The First Days (As the World Dies #1) by Rhiannon Frater
- Unwind (Unwind #1) by Neal Shusterman
- The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black
- Zom-B (Zom-B #1) by Darren Shan
For some reason, YA horror tends to not work out for me.
Maybe I’m just too picky when it comes to horror. Maybe I just haven’t found the right one? I NEED MORE LIKE ESCAPE FROM FURNACE AND THE MONSTRUMOLOGIST.
Does anybody know of a good NOT fluffy YA horror? One that is ACTUALLY scary?!
I haven’t read any adult horror books. I probably should! I really want to read some Stephen King, but don’t know where to start. I did read the first three (well, two and a half; I never actually finished the third) books of the Dark Tower series, but I don’t consider that horror so that doesn’t count. I’d like to read It or The Stand, but the length of them scares me. 1,000+ pages? In one book? NO THANKS. (I do not like big books and I cannot lie, thank you very much. BIG BOOKS INTIMIDATE ME OKAY.) Maybe Pet Sematary or The Shining, since I never saw the movies? (Yes, I just said I’ve never seen The Shining. STOP JUDGING)
If I were to read a Stephen King horror book, which one would you suggest I start with?
Oh, I loved Rot and Ruin! I didn’t feel like Unwind was really a horror story, but I loved it too. Let’s see. Good YA horror. Well, for one, The Diary of a Haunting was good up until the very end. It read like a horror movie to me. I really liked Wake the Hollow by Gaby Triana, Wax by Gina Damico – a funny/snarky horror movie type of story, The Killer in Me by Margot Harrison, and I liked The Haunting of Sunshine Girl. My favorite Stephen King book is “It”. But it is a really large one. Pet Semetary is a good one. Or maybe start with a book of his short stories, there are some really good ones.
The Possessions series by Nancy Holder is a decent YA horror. There are some pretty creepy scenes. But unfortunately, I am like you. I love YA, I love horror, but there really isn’t a lot of YA Horror that is actually, well… even a little bit scary. AUTHORS… PLEASE, LETS WORK ON THIS!
Hmmm…I was going to suggest The Diviners, but some elements of the story are fun and funny. The villain is super creepy….but I thought The Name of the Star was creepy. So you might want to take my creep level with a grain of salt lol. Oh, I also thought Cryer’s Cross by Lisa McMann was creepy.
For Stephen King, I would suggest Pet Sematary. It’s my favorite, but I haven’t read a ton of his books.