10 YA Books for the Spooky Season + Giveaway!

POSTED ON October 25, 2018 BY Austine IN Giveaway, Lists

Halloween is quickly approaching and, as it’s my favorite holiday, I thought I’d do a bit of a celebration here on the blog since I haven’t been posting as often as I’d like to and I want to get back to that more!

Starting today and leading up to Halloween, I have all sorts of fun posts planned for y’all that I hope you enjoy AND I’ll be offering one lucky winner the chance to pick a book of their choice from any of the ones mentioned over the course of the week!

To kick things off, I’m sharing some of my spooky young adult recommendations to get you in the mood for Halloween!

A quick disclaimer before I get into things: this post may contain affiliate links and I will receive a small commission at no additional cost to you. This helps support the blog so I can bring more content to you!

Now for those of you who haven’t seen me talking about it on social media, I don’t do horror. If it’s scary then I probably won’t go near it. So this list contains books that are creepy and haunting and sometimes gory but not scary, at least by my standards.

This year was THE year for creepy reads and one of my favorite books from the entire year  was NOT EVEN BONES by Rebecca Shaeffer. This book takes dark, gritty fantasy to an entirely new level. It’s twisted and all sorts of messed up but I absolutely adored it. This book is not for the faint of heart and if you’re squeamish when it comes to dead bodies and blood, or triggered by torture, I’d suggest staying FAR far away.

Dexter meets This Savage Song in this dark fantasy about a girl who sells magical body parts on the black market — until she’s betrayed.

Nita doesn’t murder supernatural beings and sell their body parts on the internet—her mother does that. Nita just dissects the bodies after they’ve been “acquired.” Until her mom brings home a live specimen and Nita decides she wants out; dissecting a scared teenage boy is a step too far. But when she decides to save her mother’s victim, she ends up sold in his place—because Nita herself isn’t exactly “human.” She has the ability to alter her biology, a talent that is priceless on the black market. Now on the other side of the bars, if she wants to escape, Nita must ask herself if she’s willing to become the worst kind of monster.

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My other spooky fave from this year so far is WHAT THE WOODS KEEP by Katya de Becerra, which was the perfect blend of thrilling mystery, science, and a twisted fantasy tied to Scandinavian lore. What I think sold me was the suspense. I couldn’t put it down despite knowing it was in my best interest, especially late at night.

What the Woods Keep is the stunning debut of Katya de Becerra, who combines mystery, science fiction, and dark fantasy in a twisty story that will keep you mesmerized right up to the final page. 

On her eighteenth birthday, Hayden inherits her childhood home—on the condition that she uncover its dark secrets.

Hayden tried to put the past behind her, and it worked. She’s getting ready for college, living in a Brooklyn apartment, and hanging out with her best friend and roommate Del. But now it’s all catching up with her: her mother’s mysterious disappearance a decade before, her father’s outlandish theories about a lost supernatural race, and Hayden’s own dark dreams of strange symbols and rituals in the Colorado woods where she grew up.

As soon as Hayden arrives at her hometown, her friend Del in tow, it begins: Neighbors whisper secrets about Hayden’s mother; the boy next door is now all grown-up in a very distracting way; and Hayden feels the trees calling to her. And among them, deep in the woods, Hayden will discover something incredible—something that threatens reality itself.

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One of my favorite series, STALKING JACK THE RIPPER by Kerri Maniscalco is all sorts of creepy goodness. Each book tackles a different historical figure in a way and brings the mystery to life. And with the third book out this past September, you can binge read all the books so far!

Presented by James Patterson’s new children’s imprint, this deliciously creepy horror novel has a storyline inspired by the Ripper murders and an unexpected, blood-chilling conclusion…

Seventeen-year-old Audrey Rose Wadsworth was born a lord’s daughter, with a life of wealth and privilege stretched out before her. But between the social teas and silk dress fittings, she leads a forbidden secret life.

Against her stern father’s wishes and society’s expectations, Audrey often slips away to her uncle’s laboratory to study the gruesome practice of forensic medicine. When her work on a string of savagely killed corpses drags Audrey into the investigation of a serial murderer, her search for answers brings her close to her own sheltered world.

The story’s shocking twists and turns, augmented with real, sinister period photos, will make this dazzling, #1 New York Times bestselling debut from author Kerri Maniscalco impossible to forget.

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I never expected to love AND THE TREES CREPT IN by Dawn Kurtagich as much as I did. It’s a YA horror which is so not my thing but it wasn’t so scary that I couldn’t push through and by the end my head was spinning and I couldn’t believe how spooky and haunting it was (in a good way).

Stay away from the woods…

When Silla and Nori arrive at their aunt’s home, it’s immediately clear that the manor is cursed. The endless creaking of the house at night and the eerie stillness of the woods surrounding them would be enough of a sign, but there are secrets too—questions that Silla can’t ignore: Why does it seem that, ever since they arrived, the trees have been creeping closer? Who is the beautiful boy who’s appeared from the woods? And who is the tall man with no eyes who Nori plays with in the basement at night… a man no one else can see?

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REIGN OF THE FALLEN by Sarah Glenn Marsh takes a step back from the horror a bit, featuring the undead in a whole new light with necromancers and magic in a beautiful fantasy world. Perfect for fantasy lovers who don’t necessarily like zombies but want to explore the world of the dead.

Odessa is one of Karthia’s master necromancers, catering to the kingdom’s ruling Dead. Whenever a noble dies, it’s Odessa’s job to raise them by retrieving their souls from a dreamy and dangerous shadow world called the Deadlands. But there is a cost to being raised–the Dead must remain shrouded, or risk transforming into zombie-like monsters known as Shades. If even a hint of flesh is exposed, the grotesque transformation will begin.

A dramatic uptick in Shade attacks raises suspicions and fears among Odessa’s necromancer community. Soon a crushing loss of one of their own reveals a disturbing conspiracy: someone is intentionally creating Shades by tearing shrouds from the Dead–and training them to attack. Odessa is faced with a terrifying question: What if her necromancer’s magic is the weapon that brings Karthia to its knees?

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And speaking of zombies, SOMETHING STRANGE AND DEADLY by Susan Dennard might be the only zombie book or show that I would recommend. I don’t like zombies but I loved this book! The world-building is great and it’s less horror and more paranormal.

There’s something strange and deadly loose in Philadelphia. . . .

Eleanor Fitt has a lot to worry about.

Her brother has gone missing, her family has fallen on hard times, and her mother is determined to marry her off to any rich young man who walks by. But this is nothing compared to what she’s just read in the newspaper:

The Dead are rising in Philadelphia.

And then, in a frightening attack, a zombie delivers a letter to Eleanor . . . from her brother.

Whoever is controlling the Dead army has taken her brother as well. If Eleanor is going to find him, she’ll have to venture into the lab of the notorious Spirit-Hunters, who protect the city from supernatural forces. But as Eleanor spends more time with the Spirit-Hunters, including the maddeningly stubborn yet handsome Daniel, the situation becomes dire. And now, not only is her reputation on the line, but her very life may hang in the balance.

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Recently, I read THE LANTERN’S EMBER by Colleen Houck which is a romantic nod to the Sleepy Hollow/Headless Horseman story. Featuring all manner of supernatural creatures in a world akin to The Nightmare Before Christmas’s Halloween Town, it’s a lighter read for the season.

Welcome to a world where nightmarish creatures reign supreme.

Five hundred years ago, Jack made a deal with the devil. It’s difficult for him to remember much about his mortal days. So, he focuses on fulfilling his sentence as a Lantern—one of the watchmen who guard the portals to the Otherworld, a realm crawling with every nightmarish creature imaginable. Jack has spent centuries jumping from town to town, ensuring that nary a mortal—or not-so-mortal—soul slips past him. That is, until he meets beautiful Ember O’Dare.

Seventeen, stubborn, and a natural-born witch, Ember feels a strong pull to the Otherworld. Undeterred by Jack’s warnings, she crosses into the forbidden plane with the help of a mysterious and debonair vampire—and the chase through a dazzling, dangerous world is on. Jack must do everything in his power to get Ember back where she belongs before both the earthly and unearthly worlds descend into chaos.

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Now for some of my favorites from years past! VAMPIRE ACADEMY by Richelle Mead has to be on this list because, well, VAMPIRES! That’s really the only nod to the spookiness but they’re one of my go-to series so they get a slot!

Only a true best friend can protect you from your immortal enemies . . . 

Lissa Dragomir is a Moroi princess: a mortal vampire with a rare gift for harnessing the earth’s magic. She must be protected at all times from Strigoi; the fiercest vampires – the ones who never die. The powerful blend of human and vampire blood that flows through Rose Hathaway, Lissa’s best friend, makes her a dhampir. Rose is dedicated to a dangerous life of protecting Lissa from the Strigoi, who are hell-bent on making Lissa one of them.

After two years of freedom, Rose and Lissa are caught and dragged back to St. Vladimir’s Academy, a school for vampire royalty and their guardians-to-be, hidden in the deep forests of Montana. But inside the iron gates, life is even more fraught with danger . . . and the Strigoi are always close by.

Rose and Lissa must navigate their dangerous world, confront the temptations of forbidden love, and never once let their guard down, lest the evil undead make Lissa one of them forever . . .

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And for my faerie loving friends, have you read WICKED LOVELY by Melissa Marr yet? I know faeries are kind of big right now and this series is fantastic! Plus it’s definitely dark and twisted so great for Halloween vibes while also satisfying that fae craving.

Rule #3: Don’t stare at invisible faeries.
Aislinn has always seen faeries. Powerful and dangerous, they walk hidden in the mortal world. Aislinn fears their cruelty – especially if they learn of her Sight – and wishes she were as blind to their presence as other teens.

Rule #2: Don’t speak to invisible faeries.
Now faeries are stalking her. One of them, Keenan, who is equal parts terrifying and alluring, is trying to talk to her, asking questions Aislinn is afraid to answer.

Rule #1: Don’t ever attract their attention.
But it’s too late. Keenan is the Summer King, who has sought his queen for nine centuries. Without her, summer itself will perish. He is determined that Aislinn will become the Summer Queen at any cost — regardless of her plans or desires.

Suddenly none of the rules that have kept Aislinn safe are working anymore, and everything is on the line: her freedom; her best friend, Seth; her life; everything.

Faery intrigue, mortal love, and the clash of ancient rules and modern expectations swirl together in Melissa Marr’s stunning twenty-first-century faery tale.

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Finally, a book I haven’t read in AGES but need to read again, BLOOD AND CHOCOLATE by Annette Curtis Klause. Also on this list because WEREWOLVES and it’s a bit dark as well. It’s not a book I hear talked about often but I remember enjoying it when I was younger and it fits this list!

Vivian Gandillon relishes the change, the sweet, fierce ache that carries her from girl to wolf. At sixteen, she is beautiful and strong, and all the young wolves are on her tail. But Vivian still grieves for her dead father; her pack remains leaderless and in disarray, and she feels lost in the suburbs of Maryland. She longs for a normal life. But what is normal for a werewolf?

Then Vivian falls in love with a human, a meat-boy. Aiden is kind and gentle, a welcome relief from the squabbling pack. He’s fascinated by magic, and Vivian longs to reveal herself to him. Surely he would understand her and delight in the wonder of her dual nature, not fear her as an ordinary human would.

Vivian’s divided loyalties are strained further when a brutal murder threatens to expose the pack. Moving between two worlds, she does not seem to belong in either. What is she really—human or beast? Which tastes sweeter—blood or chocolate?

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NOW, before y’all say “but what about THIS BOOK?” I want to be clear that 1) I didn’t want this post to go on for ages, and 2) these are all books I’ve read and can vouch for but it doesn’t mean there aren’t other books out there! And speaking of other books. . . .

What young adult books make your spooktastic list this year?

I’ll be getting to my adult fiction recommendations later in my celebration so stay tuned for those!


Spooktastic Giveaway!

Now I promised a giveaway, did I not? One lucky winner will receive their choice of book from ANY book mentioned during my Spooktastic Celebration! That’s 7 days worth of posts to pick from by the end!

This giveaway is open internationally
(as long as the Book Depository/Wordery ships free to you)

You can gain EXTRA ENTRIES each day by commenting on that day’s post and answering the Let’s Chat discussion question in the comments!

Giveaway ends November 1st. Enter using the Rafflecopter below!

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15 responses to “10 YA Books for the Spooky Season + Giveaway!

  1. Moa

    The Dead List and Till Death by Jennifer L. Armentrout are my favorite creepy mysteries for sure. I also loved SJTR and This Savage Song!

  2. I loved WTWK – it’s a genre bending, atmospheric book that means I’m never entering a colorado wood. I’ve been hesitating over SS&D and RotF for a while now – I really don’t like zombies and SS&D isn’t published in the UK – but I might give them a try now…

    • If it helps, I HATE all things zombie but I love SS&D and RotF isn’t so much zombie as undead (and there’s definitely a difference, especially how they’re portrayed in the book, I never got the same zombie vibe that I got from, say, The Walking Dead).

  3. Jaime Krause

    I don’t read much spooky YA, but “House of Furies” by Madeleine Roux certainly makes my list!

  4. John Smith

    “What young adult books make your spooktastic list this year?” It’s from a few years ago, but I’m hoping to read the “Seriously Wicked” series!

  5. Danielle Hammelef

    I thought of another book that I’ve yet to read titled Shutter. The cover alone freaks me out.

  6. wait_huh

    Hhmmm, I don’t read a lot of spooky books, but I’ll say ‘Truly, Devious’, which is sort of a prep-school mystery, from this year. And from earlier, Seanan McGuire’s An Artificial Night, and Maggie Stiefvater’s The Scorpio Races.

  7. I recently read The Dreadful Tale of Prosper Redding and LOVED it. I am hoping to read NOS4A2 sometime in October or November also! I really need to read Our Dark duet as well. My list keeps getting longer 😅

  8. John Smith

    I’m going to try to re-do this comment. There was no sign anything happened…. Anyway, can I count “The Wonderling”? I recently read that, and I found it quite atmospheric, and with an engaging hero!