The best young adult supernatural horror

Amelinda Bérubé Author Of Here There Are Monsters
By Amelinda Bérubé

Who am I?

I’ve been terrified, fascinated, and delighted by scary stories my whole life, and my very favorites dabble in the speculative and supernatural: ghosts, monsters, magic, and worlds beyond our own. Give me all your haunted houses, your warped realities, your inexplicable horrors intruding on the everyday world. These fantastical elements are fraught with the power of nightmares and fairy tales, and that makes them the best tools we have to get around our news-hardened, cynical safeguards and explore what truly frightens us.

I wrote...

Here There Are Monsters

By Amelinda Bérubé,

Book cover of Here There Are Monsters

What is my book about?

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 something awful comes scratching at Skye's window in the middle of the night, claiming Skye's the only one who can save Deirdre, Skye knows she will stop at nothing to bring her sister home.

The books I picked & why

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Rules for Vanishing

By Kate Alice Marshall,

Book cover of Rules for Vanishing

Why this book?

Vivid, original, and rivetingly creepy, this book mixes urban legend and little-known mythology into a nightmarish vision all its own. Not content just to mess with the characters’ heads, the book messes with the reader’s head, too – it had me flipping back to re-read sections because I doubted my own memory.

Devils Unto Dust

By Emma Berquist,

Book cover of Devils Unto Dust

Why this book?

This book fills the wilds of Texas with a plague of zombie-like “shakes,” and somehow they are all the scarier for being more of a backdrop than the core of the story. The desert setting is almost a character itself, and it practically shimmers with menace. Between the haunting sense of place and time and the galloping pace of the action, I gobbled down this book in one sitting.

Cuckoo Song

By Frances Hardinge,

Book cover of Cuckoo Song

Why this book?

There is a moment about 40 pages into this book, involving a doll whose terrified voice only our heroine Triss can hear, that was so delightfully horrible it made me practically jump out of my chair. Believe it or not, it only gets better from there. All of Frances Hardinge’s books are weird and unique, full of surreal flourishes and lavish detail, but this one is also deeply creepy, with a fascinating spin on a familiar otherworld.

The Dead and the Dark

By Courtney Gould,

Book cover of The Dead and the Dark

Why this book?

With a dash of sapphic romance and a heartbreaking final twist, this book imagines a sinister, sentient darkness lurking in a small town and egging its residents on into terrible acts. It cuts right to the core of a troubled family and the petty resentments that have built up between them. I totally cried.

Frozen Charlotte

By Alex Bell,

Book cover of Frozen Charlotte

Why this book?

This book features an isolated old schoolhouse that has been converted to a family home, where the ghost of one of its residents still lingers, along with her old collection of little porcelain dolls. The seaside landscape drips with atmosphere, and that army of tiny, malevolent porcelain figurines is one of the weirdest and scariest variations on the “creepy doll” trope I’ve ever encountered.

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