I often have kids coming into B&N looking for something spooky to read, so I thought I’d create a post with some of my favorite MG horror reads. I’m featuring ten of them, plus eight more books I’ve heard great things about and I’m planning to read (hopefully soon!).
TEN I’VE READ
(Okay, technically 11 – oh, wait, 12) (Click on the links for full reviews.)
The Monsterious Series by Matt McMann
I just recently reviewed these (click on the link for the full review), and they’re the books that inspired me to create this post. They’re creepy traditional monster stories. They remind me of R.L. Stine’s books (though I have admittedly only read one of those – it’s that sort of feel, though). The books in the series all stand on their own, and they’re short, quick reads that are sure to spook middle grade readers!
Scritch Scratch by Lindsay Currie
This is one of my absolute favorite MG horror books, partially because it takes place in Chicago, familiar territory for me. It’s a true ghost story, and truly spine-tingling. While I was reading, it put me in mind of some of the ghost sightings in The Sixth Sense (but, of course, not nearly that intense – it is still for middle grade readers).
Side Note: I can also recommend Currie’s The Girl in White, but I decided to feature one book per author and Scritch Scratch is my personal favorite.
The Cassidy Blake Series by Victoria Schwab
Okay, I’ve actually only read the first book in this series, but it’s not because I didn’t like it – I just somehow… didn’t keep reading? (This is a thing that happens to me often when I have to wait for the next book in a series.) At any rate, City of Ghosts balances a creepy ghost story with a lighter tone well, so it will work for younger MG readers who are just starting to venture into horror territory.
Ghost Girl by Ali Malinenko
If you’re looking for a spooky story with a bit of a deeper message, check out this book. Not only is it a horror story filled with ghosts and demonic hounds, but it also explores family pressures, poverty, bullying, deep friendships and even, in a few small places, the patriarchy. But none of these themes overwhelm the pure creepiness of the storyline (which involves a town being controlled by dark forces).
Ghost Squad by Claribel A. Ortega
This one is perfect for younger MG readers who want some ghostly reading but aren’t ready to be truly terrified. The book has Dominican folklore and plenty of action.
Midnight at the Barclay Hotel by Fleur T. Bradley
Another ghostly book that works perfectly well for younger MG readers, this one focuses on the mystery aspect (calling it “horror” is really a stretch). The tone is light, even though the story revolves around a possible murder. I recommend this one to readers all the time because I loved it so much and it had some twists I honestly didn’t see coming!
The Girl and the Ghost by Hanna Alkaf
For some reason, I never ended up reviewing this on the blog, but I have no idea why because I really loved it (even gave it five stars on Goodreads). The story is based on Malaysian lore, and it illustrates the dark side of the spirit world. One interesting thing to note is that the book is told from the POVs of both the girl and the ghost!
The Forgotten Girl by India Hill Brown
This one combines horror with a bit of history because the plot revolves around a Black girl who died during the time when graveyards were segregated and many of the dead were simply forgotten. This one is a truly scary read, perfect for kids who have graduated from some of the “cute” ghost stories I listed above!
Bones in the Wall by Susan McCauley
This book is perfect for any kid who’s ever imagined being a ghost hunter, using salt and sigils and such to ward from evil and/or draw ghosts out (and maybe help them finally rest in peace).
The Sisters of Straygarden Place by Hayley Chewins
I actually don’t think this book was marketed as horror, but when I think back on it, the thing that stands out to me the most is how utterly creepy and weird it was. It’s horror in a Twilight Zone sort of way, and there are plenty of horrifying elements, even if it doesn’t have the traditional trappings of horror (ghosts, standard monsters, etc.). Thinking about this book now makes me want to read it again to re-experience its mysteries. (And I just saw that it’s releasing in paperback later this month, so…)
EIGHT I PLAN TO READ
(I won’t give descriptions of these since I haven’t read them yet, but click on the covers to see them on Goodreads and find out more!)
What are your favorite MG horror novels? I wanna know!