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.

The books I picked & why

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The Scorpio Races

By Maggie Stiefvater,

Book cover of The Scorpio Races

Why 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!

Anna Dressed in Blood

By Kendare Blake,

Book cover of Anna Dressed in Blood

Why 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.

The Secret Place

By Tana French,

Book cover of The Secret Place

Why 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!

The Grace Year

By Kim Liggett,

Book cover of The Grace Year

Why 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.

Before I Fall

By Lauren Oliver,

Book cover of Before I Fall

Why 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!

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