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My All Time Favorite Scary Books to Read!

That Weird Girl Life
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Don't you wish that the horror genre was more celebrated year round? I mean, everyone loves a good romance novel and they get discussed year round, not just around Valentine's Day! So I'm here to remind you all that you can read horror novels at any time of the year, not just Halloween. Sure, reading them in October does make it a bit more spooky and gets you into that holiday spirit, but sometimes reading scary books at other times of the year can be just as scary. For example: it's Easter Sunday, you're all relaxed and happy from eating the chocolate from your Easter basket. You start to read a creepy novel and then you hear a loud thud. You immediately jump and think "oh my god, it's the Cadbury bunny and it wants it's delicious creme filled chocolate eggs back!" See?? It adds a scary, dark, and definitely unexpected element to an otherwise boring, pastel-filled holiday! (C'mon, you know Easter could use a somewhat dangerous and exciting element to it, like a killer Easter bunny, just to mix it up. And if you have to get that by reading something dark and twisty, then so be it!)

But in all seriousness, horror novels are something that can be read all year, because it's always fun to be scared and get goosebumps, not just when it's near All Hallow's Eve. I've compiled a list (I love lists) of some of my favorite horror novels- some young adult, some children's, and some adult- that I love and completely terrified me (though looking back at some of the kids' ones...never mind, they still scare the sh*t out of me!). I think you'll love them too (if you haven't already), so get ready to be terrified, horrified, and petrified aka have the best time of your life reading and getting your goosebumps on!

*Note: A few books in the header are not on the list. I don't own every single books on this list, so I had to make up for it for the picture by adding a few other scary books that I didn't include on the list (but you should still totally read them because they're also incredibly scary. Why didn't I include them on this list? Oh well. I'm writing this after the fact and I'm fingers are tired. Sorry, books, not adding you this time!). I just wanted to explain, just in case. Disclaimer over!

Horrorstor by Grady Hendrix
Quirk Books
Is the thought of Ikea scary to you? Same. But how about an Ikea-like store that's haunted by the prisoners and warden of the prison that used to be on that very same property hundreds of years ago? Yeah, that's probably a bit more terrifying than getting lost in an Ikea and totally missing the cafeteria. Horrorstor is a dark comedy that will have you chuckling at its dry humor and then gasping at its shocking moments. And as a bonus, the book is modeled after an Ikea-like catalog, complete with ads and profiles of the (fictional) furniture it sells. I swear, you'll never look at another Ikea dining room set the same way again.

Very Special Link: Buy Horrorstor on Amazon

My Best Friend's Exorcism by Grady Hendrix
Quirk Books
The 80's were a scary time. Big hair, neon colors, leg warmers, I mean, how disturbing does that sound? But throw in the fact that your best friend is now possessed by a demon? Things just got a lot more scary! Like Horrorstor, Grady Hendrix brings some dark humor and surprisingly beautiful moments of female friendships into this tale of 80's music and best friends. Oh, and demonic possession. It's kind of hard to forget that part of the story. (Also: one word: tapeworm. You'll never be able to forget that part either)

Very Special Link: Buy My Best Friend's Exorcism on Amazon

The Exorcist by William Peter Blatty
Kindle Edition
The Exorcist may be my all time favorite horror novel. Of. All. Time. If you love horror and haven't read it yet, please do yourself a favor and read this book. You thought the movie was scary? Nuh-uh. You ain't seen (read) nothing yet! (Trust me, the special effects in your head when you read this book are way better and much more terrifying than the ones in the 70's movie. I mean, pea soup? Really? Not scary. Well, it was to me but that's just because I hate peas)

Very Special Link: Buy The Exorcist on Amazon

Daughters Unto Devils by Amy Lukavics
Harlequin Teen
If you've been following my blog for a minute, you know I looooved Daughters Unto Devils. Not liked. LOVED. It was the perfect blend of historical fiction and pure horror. I wrote a book review a few months ago where I sang its praises and if you want to read it, the link is here. I would write a blurb here, but when I get enthusiastic about something I tend to ramble and I'm already writing enough for this blog, so just go over to my review and read my GLOWING review of the book. And yes, I did ramble on it. I loved the book, okay?

Very Special Link: Buy Daughters Unto Devils on Amazon

Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark by Alvin Schwartz
Scholastic, Inc.
If you didn't read or even glance through this book as a child, consider yourself lucky. Not only are the stories incredibly scary, but the illustrations just add a downright disturbing element to this collection of scary stories. I still sort of shudder whenever I look through this book for old time's sake, and wonder why I'm not as messed up as an adult after reading this tome. (Wellll... now that I think about it, this book may have influenced my love of horror and the paranormal. Hmmm....)

Very Special Link: Buy the Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark trilogy on Amazon

Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn
Broadway Paperbacks
You know how everyone was simply shocked and so taken with Gone Girl? They thought it was so ground-breaking and never saw that twist and ending coming. I personally thought it was overrated and kind of just a formulaic thriller. So when I read Sharp Objects, I was completely blown away. This was the book that people should be talking about, not Gone Girl! More disturbing than scary, this book is just a twisted and I actually had to set it down a couple of time, just to take a breath and recoup. Brace yourself for a disturbing read. It's not horror, but it will horrify you. You've been warned!

Very Special Link: Buy Sharp Objects on Amazon

Goosebumps series by R.L. Stine
You know this series scared the daylights out of you as a kid and still does now. Or at least gives you that fun shiver down your spine. Either way, the Goosebumps series are a fun, nostalgic (I swear I used to drink Hi-C juice boxes and eat String Things as I read these books back in the day), and creepy read to get you in the spooky spirit!

Very Special Link: Buy a set of Goosebumps books on Amazon

A Head Full of Ghosts by Paul Tremblay
William Morrow
This is another exorcism/demonic possession read (the third on this list, in fact!) but it's a totally different take on this familiar genre. A Head Full of Ghosts is more of a psychological thriller, rather than horror, that will still have you feel like you're being watched, as a family has to figure out if their eldest daughter is really possessed, or if there may be something even far more sinister may be going on. Trust me, you'll never guess the ending and once you finish the book, you'll have to take a day to process what actually happened.

Very Special Link: Buy A Head Full of Ghosts on Amazon

The Girl from the Well by Rin Chupeco

Samara who? If you loved The Ring (and the original Ringu) and other Japanese-style horror movies, you will love this book. The whole book is chilling and atmospheric and our heroine (who is actually the vengeful spirit of a young girl) Okiku's friendship with the living and haunted (literally) teen Tark, will tug at your heart strings. Which helps the balance of frightening images and terrifying events that happen in the rest of the book, because there's a whole lot of frightening and terrifying things!

Very Special Link: Buy The Girl From the Well on Amazon

Interview with the Vampire by Anne Rice
Ballantine Books
I'm sure almost everyone has heard of Interview with the Vampire, or have seen the movie (I'm not a Tom Cruise fan, but he killed it as Lestat!), but have you read the book? I'm not into vampires (at all!) but this book is good. Like, really, really good. It's a long but incredibly engrossing read and is considered a horror classic. And if you love it, Anne Rice has more books in her vampire series and then some! (She's a hard working lady. Get it, girl!)

Very Special Link: Buy Interview with the Vampire on Amazon

The Dollhouse Murders by Betty Ren Wright
Scholastic Paperbacks
We all know that dolls are scary. But what about dollhouses? This was another book from my youth that completely terrified me but was one of the books that got me hooked on ghost stories. When I found it at my local Goodwill, I knew it was fate that the book came back to me (who would seriously donate their copy of The Dollhouse Murders? Laaame!) and when I reread it was still scary. But in a fun let's-tell-scary-stories-while-eating-s'mores-at-my-sleepover kind of way.

Very Special Link: Buy The Dollhouse Murders on Amazon

Sweet Valley Twins series "The Beast" Series (4 Books)
Bantam Books
I'm sure you've heard of the Sweet Valley High books or the TV show, but when I was younger, I was obsessed with the Sweet Valley Twins books, about twins Jessica and Elizabeth when they were tweens (I thought they were so cool. They were twins, blondes, and had amazing adventures together! It's all I ever wanted in my young life...). And this special mini-series in the actual series has the twins baby-sitting a single mother's three children who just moved into an old, creepy house (sound familiar?). And when the kids start having nightmares of a frightening "beast" and wake up with scratches on them, Elizabeth and Jessica must stop the nightmares and the beast from torturing this family. Which, now looking back, is a lot to put on two twelve year olds. Like, they were probably dealing with a demon and didn't even know it. Needless to say, this trilogy chilled me to the bone as youngin' and still gives me the creeps to this day. Not too bad for a 90's kid series!

Note: There aren't any new copies of this book in print, but you can find old copies from third party sellers on Amazon! 

Nina Tanleven books by Bruce Coville
Best friends solving mysteries after encountering a ghost who needs their help? Yes, please! Adolescent me loved this series (why am I talking about myself in the third person? Oh, that's right: I'm weird) and I still do. I found The Ghost Wore Gray at a local used bookstore and I'm currently on the hunt for the other two books (sometimes it's more fun to go book shopping for books at a used bookstore than just buying it off of Amazon. At least I think so. Does anyone else think so or is it just me??) to complete the trilogy. Until then, I can only imagine a pretend past where my best friend and I visited old places and a ghost would pop out and need us to resolve their unfinished business. Actually, I'd love to do that now! Uh oh, am I about to rebrand my blog?? (Just kidding, I'm not, but I seriously would make a section of my blog dedicated to ghost hunting!)

Note: There aren't any new copies of this book in print, but you can find old copies from third party sellers on Amazon! That's how I found my copies of the books!


There you have it, my list of my all time favorite scary books! It was a pretty eclectic mix, and my list is constantly growing, so who knows what will be on the next list of my favorite scary books! Let me know in the comments what your favorite scary book is (or books!). Is it fiction or nonfiction? Adult, YA, or children's? Let me know, I'm always looking for new scary book suggestions! Thanks for reading!

Stay Weird!

Still in the mood to read more blog posts dedicated to book lists? Well, have no fear, I have a whole bunch more for you to read! Enjoy, fellow bookworms!
8 comments on "My All Time Favorite Scary Books to Read!"
  1. Before I read this, I read about you trying British chocolate. Then I read this and you had a whole Easter egg tangent. You like chocolate, huh?

    That horrorstor sounds amazing. It also sounds like it wouldn't be a great ebook, so for the first time in ages I'm thinking about buying a paper book.

    1. I'm pretty much a chocolate fiend, haha. But ironically I don't really like Cadbury creme eggs that much. I probably should have used a chocolate bunny as the Easter treat instead! Oh well!

      It's actually a really fun book! I think you'd like it. But yeah, an actual physical copy would probably be a better reading experience! You can't get that Ikea catalog feel with an ebook! ;)

  2. The Girl from the Well by Rin Chupeco is fantastic. I could not put this down. I work full time, and everyday I am on my lunch break, I eat lunch and read this bad boy. It is such a phenomenal piece of literature, with so much history and ancient legends tied in. I have to say, I definitely recommend this book to anyone who wants a thrilling, crime and justice novel, with some supernatural demons on the side.

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  3. I love horror novels and Have obly read one of thesr, which was the Goosebumps series - seriously great books! I'm looking forward to giving some of these a read, but will be starting with 'The Girl from the Well, that sounds like my kind of horror story.

    1. The Goosebumps books are still amazing! I love how they always end like something is spooky is going to happen again. I love those open endings, especially creepy ones! Oh nice! Let me know what you think of The Girl From the Well. I thought it was really really good. There's a sequel to it, but I didn't enjoy it as much.

      As always, thank you so much for reading and commenting, Kim! I really appreciate it! <3

  4. The sweet valley is a 4 part ending at 100. If you tell everybody that it's a trilogy then they don't actually have a resolution!

    1. Oh my goodness, you're so right!!! I'll make sure to correct that! I can't believe I missed that! Thank you so much for pointing that out to me!!

  5. I read ONE Goosebumps book when I was 10 and that was it for me 😄 but I did read Scary Stories not long after that and should reread it again.

    I'm always looking for some scary books. I never had one actually terrify me before (well, 10 year old me would say Goosebumps The Ghost Next Door.) I'll have to put some of these on my tbr list 🙂 Great recommendations Emily x


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