The best books to make you fall in love with horror

Why am I passionate about this?

An intense passion for horror fiction, both adult and teen, began very early in my life, and has never dimmed or faltered through the years. There is a depth of humanity, light and dark, that exists in this form of writing, and horror writers are not afraid to get their hands dirty. When I create my stories, I remember the books that formed this passion, the stepping stones that brought me here. These stories have shown me how beautiful horror can truly be. And, with every tale that I weave, I try to live up to their example. 


I wrote...

Giving Up Your Ghosts

By Jackson Arthur,

Book cover of Giving Up Your Ghosts

What is my book about?

Parker Hale doesn't remember the night that his father died, but the tragedy still haunts him over a year later. His dreams are plagued by taunting visions, horrible nightmares that shake his sanity. The girl in white. The beast in the woods. And the twisted tree. What does it all mean? When Parker befriends the new girl in town, they set out to solve the mystery and unravel Parker's missing night. What deadly secrets hide in Deep Shadow Forest? And why can't he remember? With Sara Ann's help, Parker must face his demons, or he may never truly give up his ghosts.

Shepherd is reader supported. When you buy books, we may earn an affiliate commission.

The books I picked & why

Book cover of Let's Get Invisible!

Jackson Arthur Why did I love this book?

This was the first book that I ever fell in love with. I remember buying this book at a school book fair in the 5th grade, and I couldn’t put it down. For the first time, I was reading a book for the sheer joy of the adventure, instead of for a grade. Not only did it introduce me to a love for reading, but it also introduced me to horror and supernatural fiction. My love for scary and suspenseful stories would become a central part of my entire personality.

By R.L. Stine,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Let's Get Invisible! as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 8, 9, 10, and 11.

What is this book about?

“Out of sight, out of mind” takes on a twisted new meaning in this horrific adventure in one of the–bestselling children’s series of all time.

On Max’s birthday, he finds a kind of magic mirror in the attic. It can make him invisible. So Max and his friends start playing “now you see me, now you don’t.” Until Max realizes that he’s losing control. Staying invisible a little too long. Having a harder and harder time coming back.

Getting invisible is turning into a very dangerous game. The next time Max gets invisible, will it be . . . forever?


Book cover of The Green Mile

Jackson Arthur Why did I love this book?

The Green Mile wasn’t the first book by Stephen King that I read, but it was the book that addicted me for the rest of my life. Stephen King was the master and this story proved it beyond a doubt. Until this book, I didn’t realize just how beautiful and emotional a horror novel could be. It went beyond gross outs and creepy scares. The feelings brought out in me were deep and real and I honestly shed a few tears by the end of it.  

By Stephen King,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked The Green Mile as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Stephen King's iconic horror masterpiece. An international bestselling and highly acclaimed novel, a must-read for any horror fan, also a hugely successful film starring Tom Hanks.

The Green Mile: those who walk it do not return, because at the end of that walk is the room in which sits Cold Mountain penitentiary's electric chair. In 1932 the newest resident on death row is John Coffey, a giant black man convicted of the brutal murder of two little girls. But nothing is as it seems with John Coffey, and around him unfolds a bizarre and horrifying story.

Evil murderer or holy…


Book cover of There Will Come Soft Rains

Jackson Arthur Why did I love this book?

Technically, this is a short story, but its importance to me is no less crucial. Ray Bradbury is the king of language and subtle surrealism and this story ticks all of those boxes. I remember being assigned this in High School and I wasn’t initially thrilled at being forced to read it. In terms of short stories, this one is near perfect. It says so much in very little words, and it affected me long after finishing it. Its beauty is in its simplicity. After reading this, I fell head over heels in love with the short story form, an obsession that I still have. A good short story can be like a classic song, powerful and eternal.

By Ray Bradbury,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked There Will Come Soft Rains as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

There Will Come Soft Rains


Book cover of The Thief of Always: A Fable

Jackson Arthur Why did I love this book?

Clive Barker is generally an author of adult horror, but this novel was written for young adults. When I read this as an adult, it brought me full circle, back to my R.L. Stine days, and I remembered why I fell in love with young adult horror in the first place. This book also showed me that young adult horror could be more than just thrills and suspense. It could also be deep and powerful. I loved every minute of this short novel.

By Clive Barker,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked The Thief of Always as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 9, 10, 11, and 12.

What is this book about?

The horror story your students have been asking you for! The only children's story by the master of horror.


Book cover of The Road

Jackson Arthur Why did I love this book?

I can’t say enough about this apocalyptic horror novel. The prose is beautiful, the realism adds to the tragedy, and the terror created is truly gut-wrenching. Everything that occurs in this story is realistic and powerful. This novel is so well done that the main characters don’t even need names for the reader to feel their pain. By reading this book, I learned exactly what high-level horror could truly be. If done right, horror can transcend into timeless art.

By Cormac McCarthy,

Why should I read it?

29 authors picked The Road as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

NATIONAL BESTSELLER • WINNER OF THE PULITZER PRIZE • A searing, post-apocalyptic novel about a father and son's fight to survive, this "tale of survival and the miracle of goodness only adds to McCarthy's stature as a living master. It's gripping, frightening and, ultimately, beautiful" (San Francisco Chronicle).

A father and his son walk alone through burned America. Nothing moves in the ravaged landscape save the ash on the wind. It is cold enough to crack stones, and when the snow falls it is gray. The sky is dark. Their destination is the coast, although they don't know what, if…


You might also like...

The Dreadwater Gate

By Lisa Cassidy,

Book cover of The Dreadwater Gate

Lisa Cassidy Author Of The Nameless Throne

New book alert!

Why am I passionate about this?

Author Book nerd Fantasy lover Coffee snob

Lisa's 3 favorite reads in 2023

What is my book about?

Born Nameless. Raised in ice and snow. Destined to rule.

Arya Nameless has sidestepped her destiny in favour of joining House Ravenstrike and helping Thiara Ravenstrike become High Warlord of Dunidaen. First, Arya must ensure that Thiara’s only son, Rorin, succeeds in running the Dreadwater Gate into Khadini, a deadly rite of passage that none have survived for decades. If they triumph, Arya will be named general of Ravenstrike’s army and land a political blow against their powerful adversary, Warlord Mathas Crowtalon.

Yet Khadini holds challenges far beyond what they expected. And while Arya contends with wild jungles, fierce enemy warriors, and potential new allies, the Nightstalker continues to seek her with relentless intensity. The monsters hunting her wield a dark magic she has no way of countering. Survival relies on staying hidden, secret.

Yet, when Arya’s wyvern calls, the time for hiding is over. 

Because destiny cannot be ignored forever.

The Dreadwater Gate

By Lisa Cassidy,

What is this book about?

Born Nameless. Raised in ice and snow. Destined to rule.


Arya Nameless has sidestepped her destiny in favour of joining House Ravenstrike and helping Thiara Ravenstrike become High Warlord of Dunidaen. First, Arya must ensure that Thiara's only son, Rorin, succeeds in running the Dreadwater Gate into Khadini, a deadly rite of passage that none have survived for decades. If they triumph, Arya will be named general of Ravenstrike's army and land a political blow against their powerful adversary, Warlord Mathas Crowtalon.


Yet Khadini holds challenges far beyond what they expected. And while Arya contends with wild jungles, fierce enemy…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in survival, death row, and wishes?

10,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about survival, death row, and wishes.

Survival Explore 190 books about survival
Death Row Explore 14 books about death row
Wishes Explore 17 books about wishes