The best YA horror novels with creepy creatures to keep you up at night

Dawn Kurtagich Author Of Teeth in the Mist
By Dawn Kurtagich

Who am I?

I am and have always been fascinated with supernatural creatures, particularly if they have horns and dwell in the dark swamps of wooded hinterlands. I spent a greater part of my childhood in the African bush. A formative experience was the day an isangoma (witchdoctor) cast knuckle bones at me in a particularly energetic frenzy. Rather than being scared, I was fascinated by the power these little bones had to command spirits and creatures I had only seen in my nightmares. An obsession was born.


I wrote...

Teeth in the Mist

By Dawn Kurtagich,

Book cover of Teeth in the Mist

What is my book about?

On a cursed mountain in the dark heart of North Wales, three women divided by centuries are drawn to the cursed water mill that sits at the top. The young bride accompanying her zealous new husband to a new land, a man who dreams of building a water mill where no water flows; the orphaned witch desperately trying to contain a destructive power that grows more deadly by night, and a student photographer searching for the cause of her father’s mysterious illness. Three women, generations apart, bound together by the evil of one man who made an Unholy pact with The Beast. A man who, a thousand years later, may still be watching.

The books I picked & why

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House of Hollow

By Krystal Sutherland,

Book cover of House of Hollow

Why this book?

House of Hollow is a book you can smell and taste. Everyone knows the three Hollow sisters are strange. Ever since they went missing as children and then returned naked with half-moon scars at the base of their throats and no memory of what happened, something hasn’t been right. Iris has spent most of her teenage years trying to avoid the weirdness that sticks to her like tar, unlike her eldest sister, Grey, who wields it like a supernatural gift, drawing people to her like moths to a flame. But when Grey goes missing for the second time, and Iris starts being hunted by a horned man, memories she didn’t know she had begun to twist themselves free from her once amnesiac mind. It soon becomes clear that the trail Iris is following is leading her right back into her childhood to confront the mystery of what happened to the Hollow sisters when they were young.

House of Hollow

By Krystal Sutherland,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked House of Hollow as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'A gorgeous, grisly modern fairy tale.'
- THE GUARDIAN

'Dark and delicious. House of Hollow hums with malice and mystery. I devoured it whole.'
- KIRAN MILLWOOD HARGRAVE

** SHORTLISTED FOR THE YA BOOK PRIZE 2022 **

The Hollow sisters - Vivi, Grey and Iris - are as seductively glamorous as they are mysterious. They have black eyes and hair as white as milk. The Hollow sisters don't have friends - they don't need them. They move through the corridors like sharks, the other little fish parting around them, whispering behind their backs.

And everyone knows who the Hollow sisters…


Here There Are Monsters

By Amelinda Bérubé,

Book cover of Here There Are Monsters

Why this book?

When I went into this book, I sensed that Amelinda would pull zero punches. I was so right it was glorious. Skye is fed up. Fed up of being responsible for her insufferable little sister, Dierdre. Fed up with the stories, with the games, with their endless childhood fantasies. Moving halfway across the country seems like the perfect chance to start over. Finally, in this new, isolated neighbourhood, Skye is managing to fit in. Not Dierdre, though. No, Dierdre seems to be slipping more and more into a world of her own. And then one day: Dierdre vanishes. When a creature unlike anything Skye has ever seen comes scratching at her door claiming to know who took Dierdre, Skye is going to have to suspend her disbelief and re-enter a childhood of warped imagination.

Here There Are Monsters

By Amelinda Bérubé,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Here There Are Monsters as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A bone-chilling read about creating monsters, sisterhood turned toxic, and secrets that won't stay buried, perfect for fans of The Night She Disappeared, Wilder Girls, and The Blair Witch Project.
Sixteen-year-old Skye is done playing the knight in shining armor for her insufferable younger sister, Deirdre. And moving across the country seems like the perfect chance to start over as someone different.
In their isolated new neighborhood, Skye manages to fit in, but Deirdre withdraws from everyone, becoming fixated on the swampy woods behind their house and building monstrous sculptures out of sticks and bones.
Then Deirdre disappears.
And when…


Harrow Lake

By Kat Ellis,

Book cover of Harrow Lake

Why this book?

One word: Mr. Jitters. After her filmmaker dad is attacked and nearly killed in New York City, Lola Nox is sent to live with the grandmother she’s never met in an eerie town called Harrow Lake, the shooting location of her dad’s most iconic horror movie. But Harrow Lake is a sinister little town full of strange legends and the locals seem determined to keep it that way. With disappearances that the police shove under the rug and now a ghostly presence that has started following her everywhere, Lola is about to meet the thing that keeps this backwater little town in its firm, creepy grip. This novel reminded me of everything brilliant in The Babadook and Mr. Jitters might even give him a run for his money. 

Harrow Lake

By Kat Ellis,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Harrow Lake as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A must-have thriller that will keep you gripped, keep you guessing, and keep you up all night.

"A captivating and creeping mystery full of brilliantly twisting turns and dark secrets. You will race through this chilling, thrilling book." --Holly Jackson, bestselling author of A Good Girl's Guide to Murder

Lola Nox is the daughter of a celebrated horror filmmaker--she thinks nothing can scare her.

But when her father is brutally attacked in their New York apartment, she's quickly packed off to live with a grandmother she's never met in Harrow Lake, the eerie town where her father's most iconic horror…


Breakup from Hell

By Ann Davila Cardinal,

Book cover of Breakup from Hell

Why this book?

This one is a little bit of a cheeky pick, because, at the time of writing, it hasn’t been published yet. I was lucky enough to get an early read and I loved it. Miguela is frustrated by the tight reign her Puerto-Rican grandmother keeps on her. She is bored with going to church, going to school, being forbidden to date, or basically anything fun. So when Sam, a new gorgeous boy comes to her school and she feels an irresistible pull towards him, she doesn’t resist very hard. Until Sam learns of Sam’s family roots… and has to break up with him. But you don’t just break up with Sam without potentially apocalyptic consequences. This book reminded me of a YA Imaginary Friend by Chbosky, only funny. And why did I pick it for this creepy creature list? Well, the creatures in this one definitely freaked me out. Despite the fun of Breakup from Hell, it was definitely still shockingly devilish!  

Breakup from Hell

By Ann Davila Cardinal,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Breakup from Hell as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Fans of Undead Girl Gang and The Babysitters Coven will love Breakup from Hell, a witty YA rom-com with a supernatural twist, starring horror novel obsessed Mica Angeles, who discovers the guy she fell for comes straight out of one of her beloved books.

Miguela Angeles is tired. Tired of her abuela keeping secrets, especially about her heritage. Tired of her small Vermont town and hanging out at the same places with the same friends she's known forever. So when another boring Sunday trip to church turns into a run-in with Sam, a mysterious hottie in town on vacation, Mica…


Through the Woods

By Emily Carroll,

Book cover of Through the Woods

Why this book?

Through the Woods is an atmospheric collection of stories in graphic novel form and delighted my creepy little heart. Not scary at all, but definitely intriguing, this collection is part ghost story and part creature feature. The illustrations were tantalising and masterful at capturing my attention. It reminds me of the way fairytales were horror stories to me when I was a child—chilling cautionary tales where little girls like me could be baked into pies and eaten or turned into feral dogs who never saw their family again. It also gives me Ito vibes in the pure weirdness of some of the stories—something that delights me to no end! 

Through the Woods

By Emily Carroll,

Why should I read it?

6 authors picked Through the Woods as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'It came from the woods. Most strange things do.'

Five mysterious, spine-tingling stories follow journeys into (and out of?) the eerie abyss.

These chilling tales spring from the macabre imagination of acclaimed and award-winning comic creator Emily Carroll.

Come take a walk in the woods and see what awaits you there...


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in secrets, fairy tales, and hell?

7,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about secrets, fairy tales, and hell.

Secrets Explore 140 books about secrets
Fairy Tales Explore 218 books about fairy tales
Hell Explore 46 books about hell

And, 3 books we think you will enjoy!

We think you will like Gideon the Ninth, This One Summer, and Dark Archives if you like this list.