As some followers know normally I am not a fan of the YA genre. When it comes certain elements YA can be cheesey or straight up annoying, but there is one subcategory of YA that has surprisingly has never let me down so far and that is YA Horror. Yep, the usually neglected horror genre is a bright light in an age genre that is usually full of bland chosen ones, corny red flag romances, poorly thought out fantasy worlds and on going plagiarism battles. If you havent picked up a YA Horror novel you need you. They are usually easy to read and generally short novels. So, without further ado, here are 6 YA horror novels that have made it to my To-Read list.
The Girl from the Well by Rin Chupeco
“You may think me biased, being murdered myself. But my state of being has nothing to do with the curiosity toward my own species, if we can be called such. We do not go gentle, as your poet encourages, into that good night.
A dead girl walks the streets.
She hunts murderers. Child killers, much like the man who threw her body down a well three hundred years ago.
And when a strange boy bearing stranger tattoos moves into the neighborhood so, she discovers, does something else. And soon both will be drawn into the world of eerie doll rituals and dark Shinto exorcisms that will take them from American suburbia to the remote valleys and shrines of Aomori, Japan.
Because the boy has a terrifying secret – one that would just kill to get out.”
The Girl from the Well is a novel based on Japanese folklore and horror. This book is probably one of the books at the top of my to read pile due to my obsession with all things Japanese horror related. It sounds like The Ring with some vigilantism thrown in, what’s not to like?
Shutter by Courtney Alameda
“Micheline Helsing is a tetrachromat—a girl who sees the auras of the undead in a prismatic spectrum. As one of the last descendants of the Van Helsing lineage, she has trained since childhood to destroy monsters both corporeal and spiritual: the corporeal undead go down by the bullet, the spiritual undead by the lens. With an analog SLR camera as her best weapon, Micheline exorcises ghosts by capturing their spiritual energy on film. She’s aided by her crew: Oliver, a techno-whiz and the boy who developed her camera’s technology; Jude, who can predict death; and Ryder, the boy Micheline has known and loved forever.
When a routine ghost hunt goes awry, Micheline and the boys are infected with a curse known as a soulchain. As the ghostly chains spread through their bodies, Micheline learns that if she doesn’t exorcise her entity in seven days or less, she and her friends will die. Now pursued as a renegade agent by her monster-hunting father, Leonard Helsing, she must track and destroy an entity more powerful than anything she’s faced before . . . or die trying.”
What first drew me to this novel was that it has the same title as a favourite film of mine. (Shutter 2008 or 2004. Both the American and Thai versions are brilliant if you want a horror mystery film to watch) This book and the film are not related in the slightest but the matching titles were enough to make me read the blurb. At first I was put off by the use of the name Hellsing because I am sick of that trope by now but the mention of spirit photography kept me interested. Spirit photography is a bit of a hobby of mine as I like to collect old and new spirit photos. They are creepy and are like playing Where’s Wally with a ghost. Maybe I should write a post sharing my favourite photos some time, but that isn’t book related…but I guess it would be if I reviewed this novel.
The Dead House by Dawn Kurtagich
“Two decades have passed since an inferno swept through Elmbridge High, claiming the lives of three teenagers and causing one student, Carly Johnson, to disappear. The main suspect: Kaitlyn, “the girl of nowhere.”
Kaitlyn’s diary, discovered in the ruins of Elmbridge High, reveals the thoughts of a disturbed mind. Its charred pages tell a sinister version of events that took place that tragic night, and the girl of nowhere is caught in the center of it all. But many claim Kaitlyn doesn’t exist, and in a way, she doesn’t – because she is the alter ego of Carly Johnson.
Carly gets the day. Kaitlyn has the night. It’s during the night that a mystery surrounding the Dead House unravels and a dark, twisted magic ruins the lives of each student that dares touch it.
Debut author Dawn Kurtagich masterfully weaves together a thrilling and terrifying story using psychiatric reports, witness testimonials, video footage, and the discovered diary – and as the mystery grows, the horrifying truth about what happened that night unfolds.”
When I read the blurb of this novel my first thought was “What the hell is going on?” It sounds confusing but in the way a mystery should be. I am also interested in how the story is made up of reports, testimonials, the diary and video footage. I want to see how they will tie all of that together to make the story.
Blood and Salt by Kim Liggett
“When you fall in love, you will carve out your heart and throw it into the deepest ocean. You will be all in—blood and salt.”
These are the last words Ash Larkin hears before her mother returns to the spiritual commune she escaped long ago. But when Ash follows her to Quivira, Kansas, something sinister and ancient waits among the rustling cornstalks of this village lost to time.
Ash is plagued by memories of her ancestor, Katia, which harken back to the town’s history of unrequited love and murder, alchemy and immortality. Charming traditions soon give way to a string of gruesome deaths, and Ash feels drawn to Dane, a forbidden boy with secrets of his own.
As the community prepares for a ceremony five hundred years in the making, Ash must fight not only to save her mother, but herself—and discover the truth about Quivira before it’s too late. Before she’s all in—blood and salt.”
I have heard a lot about this book and apparently it is a diverse horror read. I have been wanting to read more horror from other cultures so this book is right up my ally. Also I have heard that it contains a cult of some kind and that just adds to the creep factor.
Ten by Gretchen McNeil
“It was supposed to be the weekend of their lives—an exclusive house party on Henry Island. Best friends Meg and Minnie each have their reasons for being there (which involve T.J., the school’s most eligible bachelor) and look forward to three glorious days of boys, booze and fun-filled luxury.
But what they expect is definitely not what they get, and what starts out as fun turns dark and twisted after the discovery of a DVD with a sinister message: Vengeance is mine.
Suddenly people are dying, and with a storm raging, the teens are cut off from the outside world. No electricity, no phones, no internet, and a ferry that isn’t scheduled to return for two days. As the deaths become more violent and the teens turn on each other, can Meg find the killer before more people die? Or is the killer closer to her than she could ever imagine?”
I will admit, this book sounds cheesy but sometimes you need a cheesy slasher book. This book reminds me of films like I Know What You Did Last Summer and Scream. Sometimes you just need stupid teenagers running around being offed one by one until the killer is revealed. Mindless, violent and probably fast paced.
The Women in the Walls by Amy Lukavics
“Lucy Acosta’s mother died when she was three. Growing up in a Victorian mansion in the middle of the woods with her cold, distant father, she explored the dark hallways of the estate with her cousin, Margaret. They’re inseparable—a family.
When her aunt Penelope, the only mother she’s ever known, tragically disappears while walking in the woods surrounding their estate, Lucy finds herself devastated and alone. Margaret has been spending a lot of time in the attic. She claims she can hear her dead mother’s voice whispering from the walls. Emotionally shut out by her father, Lucy watches helplessly as her cousin’s sanity slowly unravels. But when she begins hearing voices herself, Lucy finds herself confronting an ancient and deadly legacy that has marked the women in her family for generations.”
I love when the blurb of a horror novel teases the fact that the whole thing could just be in a characters head. That sort of things always makes for a thoughtful read and reminds me of The Haunting of Hill House. (Another book you should really check out if you haven’t already) Where did the aunt go? What is the deadly legacy? And why is the cousin hearing voices? These are all questions I want an answer to.
Have you read any of the books mentioned above? If so let me know what you thought of them. Or suggest a good book. They don’t have to be horror or thriller, they can just be on the dark side.