Middle & High School Horror : Read with the Lights On!
In my last post, I offered suggestions for scary books for middle schoolers. You can see that it’s been a good year for horror because I have even more super scary books to share.
13 Days of Midnight by Leo Hunt. 9780763678654. 2015. Gr 9-12.
Luke’s estranged father died, and Luke is the sole beneficiary of his father’s estate, What he doesn’t realize is that, in addition to money and property, he also inherits his father’s Host, eight bound spirits who want both freedom and revenge for their enslavement. Luke has no idea how to control them, but he needs to find out fast, because Halloween is only 13 days away. And on Halloween, the Host is at its strongest and plans to break free and kill Luke.
Nightfall by Jake Halpern & Peter Kujawinski. 9780399175800. 2015. Gr 6-8.
On Marin’s island, the sun is about ready to set, which only happens every 28 years. The islanders need to sail away before sunset, because no one survives the frigid Night on the island. Shortly before the ships are to set sail, Marin’s friend disappears. If he misses the boats, he’s doomed. Marin and her brother search for their friend…but they are already too late. They are about to find out that more than the cold comes out at Night.
Shadowshaper by Daniel Jose Older. 9780545591614. 2015. Gr 7-12.
Sierra’s plans for the summer are to party and paint a mural on an abandoned building. But after a zombie-like creature crashes the first party of the season, Sierra learns about an unknown magic in the world, a magic that can be used to connect ghosts to art—and that this magic is part of her legacy. She has to learn about the mythology of her ancestors before her own powers are stolen. This supernatural thriller offers a diverse cast of characters and an urban setting.
The next three books are collections of horror stories. Now, I don’t usually read short stories, so I actually surprised myself when I chose to present these three very different horror collections at a recent school library conference.
Fearsome Creatures of the Lumberwoods by Hal Johnson (ill. by Tom Mead). 9780761184614. 2015. Gr 6-9.
The narrator, a crypto-zoologist, relates these tongue-in-cheek cautionary tales about beast from American folklore, such as gumberoos, squonks, and shagamaws. These tales are fun and funny and would be great to read aloud—and the cover and inside illustrations glow in the dark!
Thirteen Chairs by Dave Shelton. 9780545816656. 2015. Gr 7-12.
In a dark room in an abandoned house Jack finds a table and thirteen chairs, twelve of which are filled by odd-looking people. As Jack takes the empty chair, each of the others takes a turn sharing a story—and each story is creepier than the last. Only when it is almost his turn does Jack realize who his companions are, what they are, and why he is here. The framework of this story collection makes it seem more like a novel.
Slasher Girls & Monster Boys with stories selected by April Genevieve Tucholke. 9780803741737. 2015. Gr 9-12.
Each of the 14 horror stories in this excellent anthology is written by a different young adult author. Each one is based on one or more novels, short stories, TV shows, movies, and even songs. Every one of them is thrilling, scary, or disturbing—or all three. Definitely read these stories with the lights on—and maybe keep them on after you shut the book!
Series updates in horror fiction:
Bits & Pieces (Benny Imura : 5) Jonathan Maberry. 9781481444187. 2015. Gr 8-12.
Catacomb (Asylum : 3) by Madeleine Roux. 9780062364050. 2015. Gr 9-12.
The Hollow Boy (Lockwood & Co. : 3) by Jonathan Stroud. 9781484709689. 2015. 5-8.
Lair of Dreams (Diviners : 2) by Libba Bray. 9780316126045. 2015. Gr 10-12.
The Tattooed Heart (Messenger of Fear : 2) by Michael Grant. 9780062207432. 2015. Gr 9-12.