100 books like The Traveling Vampire Show

By Richard Laymon,

Here are 100 books that The Traveling Vampire Show fans have personally recommended if you like The Traveling Vampire Show. Shepherd is a community of 11,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of The Body

Bryan L. Young Author Of A Children's Illustrated History of Presidential Assassination

From my list on morbidly curious kids and their adults.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been a nerd for the morbid for as long as I can remember. When I was a kid, I tore through all the books on the shelves in my house, whether they were appropriate for my age group or not. I started tearing into Stephen King books at 8 or so. I remember vividly copying language out of Christine when I was about 10 on the playground and getting in a lot of trouble for it. But I turned out okay. I really do believe that kids have a fascination for things above their age range, and adults enjoy it, too, and I still love all of these.

Bryan's book list on morbidly curious kids and their adults

Bryan L. Young Why did Bryan love this book?

I first saw the movie that this book was adapted into, Stand By Me, and the book works every bit as well.

When I was a kid, I had a deal with my parents that I could watch R-rated movies if I read the book first, but for some reason, this was one of the rare exceptions that was turned the other way around.

It’s just such a compelling read, and I wanted to start it over again as soon as I finished it.

By Stephen King,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked The Body 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?

Set in the fictional town of Castle Rock, Maine

#1 New York Times bestselling author Stephen King’s timeless novella “The Body”—originally published in his 1982 short story collection Different Seasons, and adapted into the 1986 film classic Stand by Me—is now available as a stand-alone publication.

It’s 1960 in the fictional town of Castle Rock, Maine. Ray Brower, a boy from a nearby town, has disappeared, and twelve-year-old Gordie Lachance and his three friends set out on a quest to find his body along the railroad tracks. During the course of their journey, Gordie, Chris Chambers, Teddy Duchamp, and Vern…


Book cover of Boy's Life

Jeremy Bates Author Of The Sleep Experiment

From my list on coming-of-age horror.

Why am I passionate about this?

I think all horror authors have at least one coming-of-age novel inside them. I suppose I have some expertise on the topic because I recently finished my first coming-of-age novel, The Dancing Plague. I’ve written stories from the perspectives of children before. One of the challenges I found is getting the voice right. Kids think and talk differently than adults, so it can be a bit tricky finding the right balance between credibility and readability. Nobody wants to read an adult novel that sounds as though it was written by a kid. Conversely, nobody wants to read a novel that’s narrated by a twelve-year-old that sounds as though it was written by an adult.

Jeremy's book list on coming-of-age horror

Jeremy Bates Why did Jeremy love this book?

While The Body is poignant and nostalgic, and The Traveling Vampire Show is goofy fun, A Boy’s Life is simply a very solid, weighty, well-written tale. McCammon nails the mindset of his young protagonist so much so it’s hard for the reader not to feel like a twelve-year-old kid again, viewing the world through impressionable and innocent eyes. It’s a book that will evoke memories of your own childhood, and it is one you will remember long after you have stopped reading.

By Robert McCammon,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Boy's Life as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Robert McCammon delivers “a tour de force of storytelling” (BookPage) in this award-winning masterpiece, a novel of Southern boyhood, growing up in the 1960s, that reaches far beyond that evocative landscape to touch readers universally.

Boy’s Life is a richly imagined, spellbinding portrait of the magical worldview of the young—and of innocence lost.

Zephyr, Alabama, is an idyllic hometown for eleven-year-old Cory Mackenson—a place where monsters swim the river deep and friends are forever. Then, one cold spring morning, Cory and his father witness a car plunge into a lake—and a desperate rescue attempt brings his father face-to-face with a…


Book cover of The Girl Next Door

Ty Michael Author Of Jeremy

From my list on disturbing horror stories.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve always been intrigued by the behaviors of humans. Even as a child, I’ve watched how people interact with each other. We are all so different, yet we are all the same. Each of us has an imaginary box where keep some things locked up such as: our innermost desires—and our worse fears. Fears that, in a very subtle way, guide us in our life decisions. Afraid of blood… then you’d likely not choose nursing. Afraid of flying… then you probably won’t become a pilot. But what happens when we cannot avoid what we are most afraid of? This is where a horror story begins.

Ty's book list on disturbing horror stories

Ty Michael Why did Ty love this book?

To set the record straight, I do not love this book. I still haven’t come to a decision if I even like it. It isn’t the “best” book on my list, yet it is the most disturbing. And it is a must-read.

A warning, though. It’s a book that you won’t be able to stop and you’ll likely feel very guilty for even reading it. It dives into human behaviors that we don’t want to think about and surely would not intentionally want to take part in. I’ve a question for you: Is there a limit to what you would do to another human being if others were doing it too? How confident are you in your answer? The worse part about this novel is that it is based on a true story.

By Jack Ketchum,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked The Girl Next Door as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A teenage girl is held captive and brutally tortured by neighborhood children. Based on a true story, this shocking novel reveals the depravity of which we are all capable.

This novel contains graphic content and is recommended for regular readers of horror novels.


Book cover of Suffer the Children

Jeremy Bates Author Of The Sleep Experiment

From my list on coming-of-age horror.

Why am I passionate about this?

I think all horror authors have at least one coming-of-age novel inside them. I suppose I have some expertise on the topic because I recently finished my first coming-of-age novel, The Dancing Plague. I’ve written stories from the perspectives of children before. One of the challenges I found is getting the voice right. Kids think and talk differently than adults, so it can be a bit tricky finding the right balance between credibility and readability. Nobody wants to read an adult novel that sounds as though it was written by a kid. Conversely, nobody wants to read a novel that’s narrated by a twelve-year-old that sounds as though it was written by an adult.

Jeremy's book list on coming-of-age horror

Jeremy Bates Why did Jeremy love this book?

Unlike the other authors on this list who mostly write about adult characters, John Saul writes almost exclusively about children (at least he has in all the books I’ve read by him). I chose Suffer The Children for this list because it was the first book he wrote back in 1977, I believe. There are some disturbing moments in it, as there are in most horror novels, so be aware of that. However, Saul is a talented author who can effortlessly get into the heads of the kids he writes about. He’s also a master of the slow-burn, building suspense page by page until the big pay-off, so if you don’t need action every other sentence, he might be right up your alley.

By John Saul,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Suffer the Children as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Innocence dies so easily. Evil lives again . . . and again . . . and again.

One hundred years ago in Port Arbello a pretty little girl began to scream. And struggle. And die. No one heard. No one saw. Just one man whose guilty heart burst in pain as he dashed himself to death in the sea.

Now something peculiar is happening in Port Arbello. The children are disappearing, one by one. An evil history is repeating itself. And one strange, terrified child has ended her silence with a scream that began a hundred years ago.


Book cover of White Is for Witching

Lindsay King-Miller Author Of The Z Word

From my list on horror novels with messy queer protagonists.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a queer reader and writer of horror, I have little interest in anything that could be deemed “positive representation.” Horror is most compelling when it gets honest and ugly about the bad, selfish, cruel, or simply unwise choices people make when they’re truly scared–and that includes queer people. I love queer stories that aren’t primarily romantic or neatly resolved. I like messy groups of friends, toxic emotional entanglements, and family dynamics that don’t fit in a Hallmark card. These days there are lots of stories in other genres about queer people becoming their best selves, but horror also has space for us at our worst.

Lindsay's book list on horror novels with messy queer protagonists

Lindsay King-Miller Why did Lindsay love this book?

In choosing a theme for this list, I was very careful to think of one that would allow me to include this book, my favorite haunted house novel of all time. It’s gay; it’s weird; its central mystery is never fully resolved, which may be why it’s stuck with me for years and is one of the few novels I’ve reread more than twice as an adult.

Miranda Silver is neither a classic Gothic heroine nor an ass-kicking Sidney Prescott type, but someone stranger and more opaque. She’s confused and lonely and an unreliable narrator. Her romance with classmate Ore might offer some respite from the terrors of her family’s ancestral home, but it’s not enough to save her.

I love a queer story without a happily ever after. Knowing who you are and who you love doesn’t always make everything turn out okay. Sometimes, it just means you have…

By Helen Oyeyemi,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked White Is for Witching as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Haunting in every sense, White is for Witching by Helen Oyeyemi is a spine-tingling tribute to the power of magic, myth and memory.

High on the cliffs near Dover, the Silver family is reeling from the loss of Lily, mother of twins Eliot and Miranda, and beloved wife of Luc. Miranda misses her with particular intensity. Their mazy, capricious house belonged to her mother's ancestors, and to Miranda, newly attuned to spirits, newly hungry for chalk, it seems they have never left. Forcing apples to grow in winter, revealing and concealing secret floors, the house is fiercely possessive of young…


Book cover of What a Girl Wants (Ashley Stockingdale Series #1)

Sharon Dunn Author Of Romance Rustlers & Thunderbird Thieves

From my list on that made me laugh out loud.

Why am I passionate about this?

While I love books that reflect strong family values, I don’t like sugary sweetness to the point of unrealism. I prefer to read about real people who can make fun of themselves and the world. That sarcastic and biting edge seems to tap into a deeper honesty about life while making me roll around on the floor and break all my furniture.  

Sharon's book list on that made me laugh out loud

Sharon Dunn Why did Sharon love this book?

I had been married for many years when I read this book and still found it to be funny, funny, funny. More than just a romance, I love the way she incorporates issues with family and job and life always in a humorous way. Written at the height of the chick-lit era ( a genre I love) the book follows Ashely Stockingdale, a successful 31-year-old woman wondering if she will ever find true love. 

By Kristin Billerbeck,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked What a Girl Wants (Ashley Stockingdale Series #1) as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Ever felt like the last item left on the clearance rack?

As a successful patent attorney, Ashley Stockingdale has all the makings of a perfect catch: the looks, the brains, even a convertible. But at 31, she's beginning to wonder if she's been passed over for good.

Deciding to adopt a new attitude, Ashley suddenly becomes the romantic interest of three men within a matter of days. While her heart enjoys turning the tables on the dating game, the rest of her previously predictable world is being turned upside down. Is it more than Ashley can handle? Or is it…


Book cover of Fasting, Feasting

Christopher Krentz Author Of Elusive Kinship: Disability and Human Rights in Postcolonial Literature

From my list on disability human rights in the Global South.

Why am I passionate about this?

I teach and write about literature and disability at the University of Virginia. I’m also late deafened and have worked in the field of disability studies for over twenty years. In 2002, a scholar pointed out that literature from the former British colonies includes a lot of disabled characters. In 2006, the United Nations adopted the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. I began to wonder if the two are related. In Elusive Kinship, I wound up arguing that they are. Not much work has been done on this. I tried to emphasize that I’m just advancing a critical conversation, not giving the final word at all.

Christopher's book list on disability human rights in the Global South

Christopher Krentz Why did Christopher love this book?

This is another novel I enjoy teaching; students respond well to it. Desai excels in giving detailed domestic pictures of life in India. Here she recounts how an ungainly disabled daughter with what seems to be epilepsy and a learning disability is largely kept out of sight by her upper-middle-class family in the 20th century. The daughter, Uma, goes away with assorted other characters, finding a measure of freedom, but invariably needs to return to her parents’ confining house. At the end of the novel, she is largely taking care of them. Desai shows what we might call a “feminist ethic of care” as she writes of a disabled woman as interesting and worthy of sustained attention, which implicitly feeds into advocates’ contention of the value of all disabled people.

By Anita Desai,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

SHORTLISTED FOR THE 1999 BOOKER PRIZE

Uma, the plain, spinster daughter of a close-knit Indian family, is trapped at home, smothered by her overbearing parents and their traditions, unlike her ambitious younger sister Aruna, who brings off a 'good' marriage, and brother Arun, the disappointing son and heir who is studying in America.

Across the world in Massachusetts, life with the Patton family is bewildering for Arun in the alien culture of freedom, freezers and paradoxically self-denying self-indulgence.


Book cover of Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy

Jerry Mikorenda Author Of The Whaler's Daughter

From my list on young people dealing with social and emotional trauma.

Why am I passionate about this?

When I think of great novels, I don’t recall plot twists, beautiful language, or exotic settings. I remember the characters. How they met or didn’t meet, the challenges put before them. Great, unforgettable characters create great stories. They take risks, become friends with people society tells them not to, and don’t hide their motivations or fears. They show their humanity. A great character can make walking down a supermarket aisle an exciting adventure. Boring, one-dimensional ones can make a rocket launch seem like you’re reading about paint drying. All the books I discuss hit the character checklist tenfold. 

Jerry's book list on young people dealing with social and emotional trauma

Jerry Mikorenda Why did Jerry love this book?

Whether it’s moving onto a new home, job, school, or cellphone, we can all relate to upheaval. Having done much of the latter, I get why young Turner Buckminster doesn’t like Maine much. He sees his life on one trajectory, and now he’s cut adrift on another.

I’m in awe of the way Gary D. Schmidt uses this simple setup to tell a wider story of a friendship that develops between Turner and local black girl Lizzie Bright Griffin that transcends the harsh racism of the times.

The gut punch came when I learned the basis of this book is the true history of Malaga Island, Maine, where an entire village of nearly fifty people was uprooted. Some, like Lizzie, were condemned to life in a mental institution.

By Gary D. Schmidt,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 10, 11, and 12.

What is this book about?

A 2005 Newbery Honor Book

It only takes a few hours for Turner Buckminster to start hating Phippsburg, Maine. No one in town will let him forget that he's a minister's son, even if he doesn't act like one. But then he meets Lizzie Bright Griffin, a smart and sassy girl from a poor nearby island community founded by former slaves. Despite his father's-and the town's-disapproval of their friendship, Turner spends time with Lizzie, and it opens up a whole new world to him, filled with the mystery and wonder of Maine's rocky coast. The two soon discover that the…


Book cover of I Wanna Be Where You Are

Whitney D. Grandison Author Of The Right Side of Reckless

From my list on YA romances with bad boys to swoon over.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been reading ever since kindergarten, and when I entered high school and discovered YA books, I found my home. Even when I read adult books now, I tend to gravitate towards rough-around-the-edges male leads. There’s just something fun and tempting about an anti-hero, bad boy, or morally gray male lead that always delivers spice and yearning. I’m a sucker for those bad boys who are only good for the girl who has their heart. While not all of my male leads are “bad boys,” naturally, I do tend to find myself writing quite a few of them and enjoying them, especially when you can show they’re multidimensional and have a soft side. 

Whitney's book list on YA romances with bad boys to swoon over

Whitney D. Grandison Why did Whitney love this book?

I love that our heroine Chloe had a backbone and was able to put our hero Eli in his place and not take his crap. I also like how their road trip adventure to bring Chloe to an important ballet audition starts off with Eli blackmailing her into bringing him, and his dog, along. Eli was another flawed male lead I loved, there were moments where he’s so close to being adorable and perfect, but then he’d be clueless and frustrate Chloe—and me! I really enjoyed that Chloe was ready to forge forward on her own and Eli had to whip himself into shape to earn her!! 

By Kristina Forest,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked I Wanna Be Where You Are 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?

A debut young adult rom-com about an African American ballerina who finds love on the road to an audition.

"In a world where it's easy to lose faith in love, I Wanna Be Where You Are is a brilliant burst of light. A dazzling debut." ― Nic Stone, New York Times bestselling author of Dear Martin and Odd One Out

When Chloe Pierce’s mom forbids her to apply for a spot at the dance conservatory of her dreams, she devises a secret plan to drive two hundred miles to the nearest audition. But Chloe hits her first speed bump when…


Book cover of Martin Marten

John Vucetich Author Of Restoring the Balance: What Wolves Tell Us about Our Relationship with Nature

From my list on wild animals and the people who observe them.

Why am I passionate about this?

I study wolves. For the past three decades, much of that interest has focused on understanding the ecology of wolves who inhabit a wilderness island in Lake Superior, North America. I also work to improve the relationship between humans and wolves–knowing very well that wolves are a symbol to so many of all that we love and fear about nature. As a distinguished professor at Michigan Technological University, I teach classes in population ecology and environmental ethics. What ties my interests together is the desire to gain insights from the commingling of science and ethics. 

John's book list on wild animals and the people who observe them

John Vucetich Why did John love this book?

This book is fiction, infused with magical realism, and I am a scientist. Yet, this book definitely belongs on my list of best books about wild animals.

Superficially, it is about a boy, Dave, who regularly observes a pine marten, a kind of large weasel, in the lush forests of Oregon. I love this book because even the slightest chance of properly empathizing with a wild animal requires a powerful yet constrained imagination. Some of Dave’s attributions to Martin are self-projected, and some of his attributions are deeply true. Reliability in telling the difference is not always so simple.

This book never let me stop wondering, are the thoughts and life of a marten beyond my imagination?  

By Brian Doyle,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Martin Marten as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Dave is fourteen years old, living with his family in a cabin on Oregon's Mount Hood (or as Dave prefers to call it, like the Native Americans once did, Wy'east). He is entering high school, adulthood on the horizon not far off in distance, and contemplating a future away from his mother, father, and his precocious younger sister. And Dave is not the only one approaching adulthood and its freedoms on Wy'east that summer. Martin, a pine marten (a small animal of the deep woods, of the otter/mink family), is leaving his own mother and siblings and setting off on…


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