The best creepy YA books for reluctant readers

Who am I?

My mom always read creepy paperbacks and left them around for me to gawk at the covers but not actually able to read the words inside. I probably started with all the Nancy Drew mysteries and then switched to Stephen King (Carrie, The Shining, Misery, etc.), Flowers in the Attic books by V.C. Andrews, Jaws by Peter Benchley, and anything I could get my hands on! I’m a devoted fan of all creepy and scary books! I’ve never been bored reading this genre, whether it’s adult or YA and that is what I think reluctant readers need–creepy page-turners!


I wrote...

From Where I Watch You

By Shannon Grogan,

Book cover of From Where I Watch You

What is my book about?

Sixteen-year-old Kara is about to realize her dream of becoming a professional baker. Her cookies are masterpieces, her ticket out of rainy Seattle—if she wins the upcoming national baking competition and its scholarship prize to culinary school in California. Kara cannot stand the home where her family lived, laughed, and ultimately imploded after her mean-spirited older sister Kellen drowned.

But the past holds many secrets, and they come to light as Kara faces an anonymous terror: Someone is leaving her handwritten notes. Someone who knows exactly where she is and what she’s doing. If Kara doesn’t figure out who her stalker is, and soon, she could lose everything. Her chance of escape. The boy she’s beginning to love and trust. Even her life.

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of The Scorpio Races

Shannon Grogan Why did I love this book?

I read this book 3-4 times, I forget, that’s how much I love this creepy story. I am a writer who actually doesn’t hold onto books. I believe in sharing them, especially with reluctant readers. But I have a small bookshelf where I keep my favorites, the ones I’ve read twice and probably will again. To me this book is sort of a mix of Far and Away (the movie with Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman) meets Jaws, except instead of a shark, there are creepy, man-eating horses! Set on the coast of Ireland. Not super detailed in the gore, but enough to lead your imagination to a scary place! I love the atmosphere of this story and the Celtic elements. Plus there is a sweet, G-rated romance. Love this! I think I’ll go read it again!

By Maggie Stiefvater,

Why should I read it?

9 authors picked The Scorpio Races as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 13, 14, 15, and 16.

What is this book about?

A spellbinding novel from #1 New York Times bestselling author Maggie Stiefvater.

Some race to win. Others race to survive.It happens at the start of every November: the Scorpio Races. Riders attempt to keep hold of their water horses long enough to make it to the finish line. Some riders live. Others die. At age nineteen, Sean Kendrick is the returning champion. He is a young man of few words, and if he has any fears, he keeps them buried deep, where no one else can see them. Puck Connolly is different. She never meant to ride in the Scorpio…


Book cover of Anna Dressed in Blood

Shannon Grogan Why did I love this book?

Ghosts and gore! I love creepy ghosts but not so much gore, but this has purposeful gore, understandable gore, if that makes any sense! Cas is a ghost hunter and he must break into a very scary house to kill the very scary Anna before she kills again. Very creepy story, with moments of humor and sweetness! In movie comparison, to me it’s like The Conjuring meets Ghostbusters! Kendare Blake has 2 or 3 in this series.

By Kendare Blake,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Anna Dressed in Blood as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 12, 13, 14, and 15.

What is this book about?

So did his father before him, until he was gruesomely murdered by a ghost he sought to kill. Now, armed with his father's mysterious and deadly dagger, Cas travels the country with his kitchen-witch mother and their spirit-sniffing cat. Together they follow legends and local folklore, trying to keep up with the murderous dead - keeping annoying things like the future and friends at bay. When they arrive in a new town in search of a ghost the locals call Anna Dressed in Blood, Cas doesn't expect anything outside of the ordinary: track, hunt, and kill. What he finds instead…


Book cover of The Secret Place

Shannon Grogan Why did I love this book?

The Secret Place is actually an adult mystery, but keep reading to see why I think it works as YA too. Creepy atmosphere, slow build-up, which I love, set in Ireland, mostly in a boarding school. Full of secrets, complex relationships, and murder. Tana French is a genius and this book switches from YA to adult voice most of the suspects in this book are teens. My picture of these characters is so vivid, as with all of the characters in her books, I feel like they are in the same room with me. And some of them I don’t want in the same room as me! I love this book and have read it twice!

By Tana French,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked The Secret Place as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"An absolutely mesmerizing read. . . . Tana French is simply this: a truly great writer." -Gillian Flynn

Read the New York Times bestseller by Tana French, author of the forthcoming novel The Searcher and "the most important crime novelist to emerge in the past 10 years" (The Washington Post).

A year ago a boy was found murdered at a girls' boarding school, and the case was never solved. Detective Stephen Moran has been waiting for his chance to join Dublin's Murder Squad when sixteen-year-old Holly Mackey arrives in his office with a photo of the boy with the caption:…


Book cover of The Grace Year

Shannon Grogan Why did I love this book?

This book is creepy! When girls are sixteen they are sent away for a year, into the woods, to get rid of their ‘magic’. It is called their Grace Year, and it is very extreme, and nothing fun about it. This story has a creepy atmosphere, and creepy old men trying to choose their innocent teenage brides (if those brides make it back from the journey!). There are some sick and twisted death scenes, and romance, which of course I love a little romance in all the creepy stories I read.

By Kim Liggett,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Grace Year as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 14, 15, 16, and 17.

What is this book about?

The Instant New York Times Bestseller! Kim Liggett's The Grace Year is a speculative thriller in the vein of The Handmaid’s Tale and The Power.

Survive the year.

No one speaks of the grace year. It’s forbidden.

In Garner County, girls are told they have the power to lure grown men from their beds, to drive women mad with jealousy. They believe their very skin emits a powerful aphrodisiac, the potent essence of youth, of a girl on the edge of womanhood. That’s why they’re banished for their sixteenth year, to release their magic into the wild so they can…


Book cover of Before I Fall

Shannon Grogan Why did I love this book?

This is a creepy version of Groundhog’s Day (that old movie with Bill Murray). I love anything with a hint of ghosts or the afterlife. To me this is a story of a girl learning how not to be a bitch before she gets to go to heaven. That sounds almost humorous, but it’s not. It’s a story of friendship breakups and friendships gone wrong and the consequences of the actions you choose. Creepy atmosphere. I read this twice when it came out, and probably will give it another read at some point. They did make this into a movie!

By Lauren Oliver,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked Before I Fall as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 14, 15, 16, and 17.

What is this book about?

A bestselling summer read as heartbreaking as The Lovely Bones and as gripping as Jenny Downham's Before I Die.

**Now a major Netflix movie starring Zoey Deutch, Halston Sage, Logan Miller, Kian Lawley*

'Gossip Girl meets Groundhog Day' Grazia

'Tender, funny and raw' Marie Claire

'A clever, funny, insightful and utterly addictive novel' Daily Mail

'Compelling and poignant, a truly memorable read' Closer

They say 'live every day as if it's your last' - but you never actually think it's going to be. At least I didn't.
The thing is, you don't get to know when it happens. You don't…


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Book cover of Off Season

Randy Kraft Author Of Off Season

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Who am I?

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What is my book about?

When Sharon's ex-husband, Red, invites her to join him for a winter retreat, she agrees. After all, they've moved past what ails them, and they get on well. She will be on sabbatical fine-tuning a PhD dissertation, and he needs a respite from an illness. Why not enjoy the charms of a southern California beach town off-season?

Soothed by sea breezes, they become fascinated with their mysterious landlord and her late artist partner, Red is befriended by a flirty neighbor and her surfer husband, and Sharon shares her literary passions with a sexy retiree. When the winds of the pandemic blow, they have to confront their past within a daunting future.

Is off-season an opportunity for renewal or a glimpse of what might have been?

Off Season

By Randy Kraft,

What is this book about?

When Sharon's ex-husband, Red, invites her to join him for a winter retreat, she agrees. After all, they've moved past what ails them, she will be on sabbatical fine tuning a PhD dissertation, and he needs a respite from an illness. Why not enjoy the charms of a southern California beach town off season? On the other hand, what else might he have in mind and what will she face if she lets her guard down? Soothed by sea breezes and ocean views, they become fascinated with their mysterious landlord and her late partner, a Fauvist painter. Then, Red is…


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