Reads for Your Halloween

Posted October 30, 2014 by Stormy in Books / 3 Comments

Halloween isn’t my favorite, but I do appreciate a creepy atmosphere. Therefore, while everyone else is at their Halloween gatherings, I plan to curl up on my couch and read some spooky reads and potentially some creepy TV tomorrow. Since Halloween is right around the corner(the corner of midnight, that is) I thought I’d share some books that I consider good Halloween books–for various reasons. Scary levels may vary.

Only Human Evils Here

For those readers who are not a fan of monsters or the paranormal, there’s still plenty of potential Halloween reads. These books may not have monsters of the non-human variety, but that doesn’t mean they’re not thrilling.

1. Dangerous Girls & Dangerous Boys by Abigail Haas

Dangerous GirlsDangerous Boys

These two books aren’t connected, except that they’re written in a similar vein, and I highly recommend them both. Dangerous Girls is more of your standard mystery(with still quite a lot of twist) and Dangerous Boys is more of a psychological thriller.  There might not be monsters, but these books will still get your blood pumping. For Halloween, I’d probably pick Dangerous Boys over Dangerous Girls, but you can’t really go wrong either way.

Scare factor(scale of 1-10): I’d give Dangerous Girls a 3 and Dangerous Boys a 4.5
Thriller factor(scale of 1-10): Dangerous Girls–6, Dangerous Boys–8
BOO! factor(frequency of monster appearances): N/A. No monsters here.

2. Dark Places by Gillian Flynn

Dark Places

Gone Girl is definitely Gillian Flynn’s most known book, but I vastly prefer Dark Places for a variety of reasons. There’s something cold, human, and calculating about Dark Places and the way it will just seep under your skin. I’ve read this book twice, and afterwards I always feel I need to take a shower to get the bad human off me.

Scare factor(scale of 1-10): 2
Thriller factor(scale of 1-10): 8
BOO! factor(frequency of monster appearances): N/A. No monsters here.

3. Complicit by Stephanie Kuehn

Complicit

The thing I think is really potentially creepy about Complicit is how while reading you just get the sense of impending wrongness. It’s a short and quick read, but one that haunts me.

Scare factor(scale of 1-10): 5
Thriller factor(scale of 1-10): Most of the book is about a 6–the end is definitely towards a 9, though.
BOO! factor(frequency of monster appearances): N/A. No monsters here.

Non-Scary Creatures

In case you want creatures, but you don’t necessarily want scary, there’s a book for that too. I could only think of one book for this category, so I’d be curious to know if there are more non-scary creature books out there(other than books in the paranormal romance section, that is–books with non-romantic monsters that still aren’t scary. That’s an interesting sub-category to explore.)

1. A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness

A Monster Calls

I can’t really evaluate A Monster Calls on my scary-scale, because this book is so much more than that. It’s haunting and beautiful, and the illustrated version is lovely. It’s such a great book about grief and loss and I’m not sure I’ll ever find a book I feel portrays grief more perfectly.

 

Up the Creep Factor

These books aren’t scary in the way that make you want to check under your bed for monsters, but they do deliver the creepy factor. You know, instead of haunting you with outright gore, they simply make you get goosebumps and want to double check that you’ve locked your door at night.

1. We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson

We have Always Lived in the Castle

This is such a haunting book. It could have also fit into the “simply human evil” section, but it fits better here because of the atmosphere. Those books were thrillers, whereas We Have Always Lived in the Castle is simply a slow-moving ball of. . . creepiness and strange families.

Scare factor(scale of 1-10): 3
Thriller factor(scale of 1-10): Mostly a 3–maybe a 5 at certain parts.
BOO! factor(frequency of monster appearances): N/A. No monsters here.
Creep Factor:  This book gets an 8.

2. Another Little Piece by Kate Karyus Quinn

Another Little Piece

Another Little Piece is probably the goriest book in this post. This book is not for the faint of heart(which there are plenty of disembodied hearts in this book, so you know, proceed with caution). It’s gory and a little gross and downright confusing, but it’s also a wild ride that makes you simply unable to stop until you know what’s going on.

Scare factor(scale of 1-10): 7. The gore amps up the scare factor for this one.
Thriller factor(scale of 1-10): 8. This is very much a race of a book.
BOO! factor(frequency of monster appearances): 2-ish. Not monsters, necessarily, but there’s definitely a supernatural element.
Creep Factor: 8.

3. The Madman’s Daughter by Megan Shepherd

Madman's Daughter

Nothing says “Halloween” quite like vivisections, a mad scientists, and. . . creatures. Lots and lots of creatures.

Scare factor(scale of 1-10): Around a 5. There’s a bit of gore in this one that drives it up as well.
Thriller factor(scale of 1-10): 6.
BOO! factor(frequency of monster appearances): 7. Mad scientist. Experiments. Kinda gets creatures up and moving.
Creep Factor: 7.

5. Pretty Dark Nothing by Heather Reid

Pretty Dark Nothing

I don’t actually remember the events of Pretty Dark Nothing all that well, but I do remember feeling sufficiently creeped out and the fact that demons were a pretty big part of this book, which seems to merit an inclusion on a Halloween reading list. After all, it’s not every horror book that goes for the big guns of supernatural creatures.

Scare factor(scale of 1-10): 2. I don’t remember this book every being outright scary.
Thriller factor(scale of 1-10): 5. There’s a lot of mysteries to solve.
BOO! factor(frequency of monster appearances): 7. Demons.
Creep Factor: 7.

All Things Paranormal

These books have paranormal elements and don’t fit into another category better. For the most part, these books aren’t scary at all, but if you still want a paranormal/Halloween vibe without scares OR creeps, these might be your best bet.

1. The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

Raven Boys

The Raven Boys isn’t at all scary, but there are plenty of paranormal elements that make it a decent Halloween too. Maggie Stiefvater is a very atmospheric writer, and it’s an easy book to get lost in.

Scare factor(scale of 1-10): 1. This book isn’t really scary at all–there’s a few very tense scenes, and that’s it.
Thriller factor(scale of 1-10): 3. There are some mysteries, so it keeps the thrill factor up a little.
BOO! factor(frequency of monster appearances): 0 monsters, but a 3 for paranormal abilities/things in general.

4. The Girl from the Well by Rin Chupeco

Girl from the Well

This IS a ghost story, though after a bit it tends more towards the sad than the scary(though it does have a pretty frightening opening chapter). I toyed with putting this book in this particular category or the creepy one, but decided it fit better here.

Scare factor(scale of 1-10): 5. Most of this book isn’t particularly frightening, but the opening is definitely a 9 and is quite graphic.
Thriller factor(scale of 1-10): 4.
BOO! factor(frequency of monster appearances):10. It’s narrated by a ghost, so there’s pretty much no part where there isn’t a paranormal element coming into play.

5. White Cat by Holly Black

White Cat

This book has a little bit of everything. I haven’t read much urban fantasy, but White Cat definitely stands at the top of everything I’ve read. There’s curses, some mystery, and a whole lot of conniving.

Scare factor(scale of 1-10): 2. Not really scary, but there was one scene that made me wince because of graphic violence.
Thriller factor(scale of 1-10): 4. There’s some mysteries to solve.
BOO! factor(frequency of monster appearances): No monsters, but most of the main characters have a paranormal ability. Judging on the frequency those are used, this book would rate an 8.

6. Something Strange and Deadly by Susan Dennard

Something Strange and Deadly

Something Strange and Deadly doesn’t rate very high of the scary scale, but there’s a lot of Halloween potential here. After all, this is a zombie book with necromancers–a perfect fit for the day.

Scare factor(scale of 1-10): 3. More scary by the power of suggestion than anything else.
Thriller factor(scale of 1-10): 4. There are some heart-racing scenes.
BOO! factor(frequency of monster appearances): 4. The zombies don’t show up that often, but they’re definitely present.

Perfectly Atmospheric

In case creepy, paranormal, or thrilling isn’t your style, perhaps you want a more atmospheric read instead. These are the books I think are a good fit for that category.

1. The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman

Ocean at the End of the Lane

This book is like the definition of the word “atmospheric”, from beginning to end. It’s not particularly frightening, but it does deal with the idea of fear a lot, in particular childhood fear and growing up. It’s not a book that will make you quiver, but it’s a very knowing book all the same.

Scare factor(scale of 1-10): 4. It’s not really scary, but the concept of fear is definitely present, albeit in a more distant way.
Thriller factor(scale of 1-10): 1. This is definitely a slower paced book, and that’s part of the beauty of it.
BOO! factor(frequency of monster appearances): 4.

2. Beware the Wild by Natalie C. Parker

Beware the Wild

This book has an awesome cover, a haunted swamp, a great southern setting, and a girl trying to find her brother. What more could you possibly want?

Scare factor(scale of 1-10): 4. There’s a few frightening scenes.
Thriller factor(scale of 1-10): 6. The plot of the girl trying to get her brother back amps up the thrills and necessity on this one.
BOO! factor(frequency of monster appearances): 6. The haunted swamp is definitely lurking in the background the entire time.

Make Me Shudder

These are the books I would consider genuinely scary, like don’t-turn-off-the-lights scary. These are the books you read when you decide to court your nightmares.

1. Unwind by Neal Shusterman

unwind

Unwind is a Dystopia novel, but it’s by far the scariest Dystopia novel I’ve ever read. The world in this book is bleak, bleak, bleak, and your characters are not safe from bad things AT ALL. Also has a scene that is probably the most disturbing thing I’ve ever read.

Scare factor(scale of 1-10): On the whole I’d give it a 4, but there is one scene that is a 10++ on the scare scale, and that scene is why this book is included in this section.
Thriller factor(scale of 1-10): 7. The main characters of this book are on the run for a good portion of it.
BOO! factor(frequency of monster appearances): 0.

2. The Diviners by Libba Bray

The Diviners

You know what’s scarier than a serial killer? A serial killer back from the dead who has his own theme song he sings while happily carving people up. Which is described. Graphically. In 1920s New York. Also known as the only book besides The Hunger Games to give me an actual nightmare.

Scare factor(scale of 1-10): 8. There are some disturbing scenes in this one.
Thriller factor(scale of 1-10): 6.
BOO! factor(frequency of monster appearances): 4. Serial killer ghost & all that.

3. Mary: The Summoning by Hilary Monahan

Mary

The legend of Bloody Mary has been so done at this point that it takes a new spin to make the urban legend truly frightening. And this book does EXACTLY that. Summon Mary the right way, and you can send her back. Summon her the wrong way, and she’ll follow you–not only in mirrors but through every reflective surface. Get rid of your TVs, your windows, your cell phones, your car mirrors, etc. This book takes that concept and runs with it, and it becomes so frightening through the power of suggestion.

Scare factor(scale of 1-10): 8. Bloody Mary is scary again.
Thriller factor(scale of 1-10): 3. It’s mostly just scary.
BOO! factor(frequency of monster appearances): 8. Once Bloody Mary enters the story, she doesn’t really leave.

And now, after that long list of suggestion, the question–are YOU planning any themed reads for Halloween? I’m planning on reading through a horror anthology, I think.

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3 responses to “Reads for Your Halloween

  1. It is always kind of fun to read books for the season/holiday. I haven’t been reading very Halloween books, except for The Raven Cycle books. I’m listening to The Dream Thieves now. I definitely think these are great books to read this time of the year.

  2. I’ve always wanted to read ‘A Moster Calls’, but I’ve never gotten around to it! Maybe now is the time? (I’ll have to see if I can find it cheap on my kindle.)
    Do you usually read season-based? I read some christmas books around christmas, but otherwise I don’t really think about it.

    Love you blog <3

    – Felicia
    ( http://asillygirlsthoughts.weebly.com/ )

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