Honesty is the best policy, and I am a huge scaredy cat. Okay, that wasn’t so bad! What this means is that my list of books to get you into the Halloween spirit is largely suspenseful/creepy, and not terribly scary. Because I can’t stand that stuff. But, you know… it’s still a good list. Of great books. For people who don’t like horror films.
Top Ten Books to Get Into the Halloween Spirit
1. The Cavendish Home for Boys and Girls by Claire Legrand – I just read this deliciously creepy middle grade book, and found it clever, fun and just the right amount of frightful.
2. Supernatural Noir edited by Ellen Datlow – This anthology contains short stories that start in the realm of dark fantasy and edge over into horror. I could only read a few each day, or risk nightmares. Definitely the scariest book on my list.
3. The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson – Jack the Ripper meets American girl transplanted in British boarding school. Ghost story and a hint of horror with teen protagonist. In other words? Great fun.
4. Rot & Ruin by Jonathan Maberry – One of the best zombie books I’ve read, period. My dad picked it up while visiting me last year and read it in a matter of days. It’s action, tension, angst and life-altering choices.
5. Coraline by Neil Gaiman – It took me two tries to finish this book, because the first time I was SO. CREEPED. OUT. No joke. Coraline is a middle grade story full of sinister doings and strange creatures. It’s also wonderful, in a very Halloween sort of way.
6. Above by Leah Bobet – The fanciful cover art for this one hid dark secrets, unexpected twists, and stories within stories, all told in an uncommon voice.
7. White Cat by Holly Black – Nothing about this book is what you think it is, unless you’re thinking that the Mob, magic, and a boy having strange dreams about a cat is a recipe for awesome. There’s enough deception and suspense to fill everyone’s trick-or-treat bucket.
8. My Life as a White Trash Zombie by Diana Rowland – The fantastic cover illustration made me stop and take a second look, and the hilarious, self-deprecating voice of the main character (a zombie!) ensured that I’d go along for the ride. Weird, gory and entertaining by turns.
9. Sabriel by Garth Nix – What is more Halloween-worthy than a girl who can enter death, and permanently banish people there? Answer: nothing. Nix’s story features a girl who must leave the life she knows in order to save a kingdom. Page-turning fantasy and an absolute classic.
10. The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness – YA sci-fi, people who can hear each others’ thoughts, danger from all sides, and a race to survive.
Ness knows how to do tension, and this story will string you along until you can’t take it any more. If heart palpitations won’t put you in the spirit of the season, I don’t know what will, really.
What books are on your list?