David Neilsen. Dr. Fell and the Playground of Doom. (Yearling, 2017)
“What a nice man is Dr.Fell.” He gave all us children the most spectacular playground. He heals all our boo-boos, he has hundreds of pictures of cute and cuddly kittens all over his house… and he raises the dead. What a nice man is Dr. Fell.
Max Brallier, illustrated by Douglas Holgate. The Last Kids on Earth. (Viking, 2015)
Monsters running amok, zombies everywhere, society broken down, no rules, no adults… what an opportunity for a cool monster-slaying, post-apocalyptic, middle school super hero! (Just ask him…)
Book Two: The Last Kids on Earth and the Zombie Parade
Book Three: The Last Kids on Earth and the Nightmare King
Tony Abbott. “The Haunting of Derek Stone” (Series)
City of the Dead. (Scholastic, 2009)
Bayou Dogs. (Scholastic, 2009)
The Red House. (Scholastic, 2009)
The Ghost Road. (Scholastic, 2009)
Here is a great gothic horror series for upper elementary/middle school kids. A bizarre confluence of two accidents opens a rift between the land of the living and the land of the dead, and they are coming for us!
Guy Bass, illustrated by Pete Williamson. Stitch Head. (Capstone, 2013) One seriously goofy introduction to the Frankenstein legend.
Ying Chang Compestine. A Banquet for Hungry Ghosts: A Collection of Deliciously Frightening Tales. (Holt, 2009) Creepy and cross-cultural, this is a series of ghost stories set in ancient and modern China, with a strong emphasis on revenge. There are even recipes so the reader can recreate some of the dishes the ghosts used to do in their own murderers!
Joseph Delaney. “The Last Apprentice” (Series):
Revenge of the Witch. (GreenwillowBooks, 2006)
Curse of the Bane. (Greenwillow Books, 2007)
Night of the Soul Stealer. (Greenwillow Books, 2007)
Attack of the Fiend. (Greenwillow Books, 2008)
Wrath of the Bloodeye. (Greenwillow Books, 2008)
The Spook’s Tale, And Other Horrors. (HarperCollins, 2009)
Clash of the Demons. (Greenwillow Books, 2009)
Rise of the Huntress. (Greenillow Books, 2010)
Rage of the Fallen. (Greenwillow Books, 2011)
The Spook’s Beastiary: A Guide to Creatures of the Dark. (Greenwillow Books, 2011)
Slither. (Greenwillow Books, 2013)
Slither is a hearder, a cattleman of sorts. He watches over his flock and culls them for food. He is not of the dark or the light; he is just what his people are. And then one of his cattle presses her forehead to his, and suddenly these are not nameless food. But that is a dangerous belief in a society of monsters that lives on the blood of others. Caring for these others could make him an outcast, hunted by his own people. What will Slither risk for a race that should mean nothing to him… humans?
Candice Fleming. On the Day I Died: Stories From the Grave. (Schwartz & Wade, 2012) Everybody loves ghost stories, but what if the ghosts themselves were telling the stories?
Cornelia Funke. Ghost Knight. (Little, Brown, 2012) When an evil, grasping, murdering nobleman steps out of the past to hunt down the latest in a cursed bloodline, you want a knight, brave and true, to stand for you. But if the evil Nobleman is a ghost, who will stand against him? A knight who is also a ghost, of course. Two powerful threads of myth and legend collide in a tale equal parts heroic and harrowing.
Neil Gaiman. The Graveyard Book. (HarperCollins, 2008)
Charles Gilman. “Tales From Lovecraft Middle School” (Series)
Professor Gargoyle. [#1] (Quirk Books, 2012)
Well, they always said middle school was Hell…
The Slither Sisters. [#2] (Quirk Books, 2013)
I’m an ancient demon monster disguised as a pretty and popular thirteen-year-old girl, and I want to be your student council president!
Teacher’s Pest. [#3] (Quirk Books, 2013)
Chris Grabenstein. The Crossroads. (Random House, 2008) “The Crossroads” is the first in a new series (#2 is “Hanging Hill”) of supernatural thrillers. High on tension and low on gore, it is a great intro the genre for 9-12 year olds. Zack Jennings is a character that readers will love to follow: brave despite his fears, cursed with an ability to see ghosts, and blessed with some secret strength to fight the ones that are bent on evil. The crossroads outside his new home are not just a meeting place for two roads, but a nexus of different times and different worlds. A bus collided with a car in this place fifty years ago, and deaths that day echo right up till today. Now Zack has to bury the past before it buries him!
Chris Grabenstein. Hanging Hill. (Random House, 2009)
Dan Greenburg. “Secrets of Dripping Fang” (Series):
The Onts. (Harcourt, 2005)
Treachery and Betrayal at Jolly Days. (Harcourt Children’s Books, 2006)
The Vampire’s Curse. (Harcourt Children’s Books, 2006)
Fall of the House of Mandible. (Harcourt Children’s Books, 2006)
The Shluffmuffin Boy if History. (Harcourt Children’s Books, 2006)
Attack of the Giant Octopus. (Harcourt Children’s Books, 2007)
Please Don’t Eat the Children. (Harcourt Children’s Books, 2007)
When Bad Snakes Attack Good Children. (Harcourt Children’s Books, 2007)
Anthony Horowitz. “Horowitz Horror” (Series):
Night Bus. (Orchard Books, 2008)
Killer Camera. (Orchard Books, 2008)
The Phone Goes Dead. (Orchard Books, 2008)
Burnt. (Orchard Books, 2008)
Twist Cottage. (Orchard Books, 2008)
Scared. (Orchard Books, 2008)
Anthony Horowitz. Horowitz Horror: Stories You’ll Wish You Never Read. (Philomel, 2006)
More Horowitz Horror: More Stories You’ll Wish You Never Read. (Philomel, 2007)
Peg Kehret. The Ghost’s Grave. (Dutton, 2005)
D.J. MacHale. The Light. [Morpheus Road] (Aladdin, 2010) Marsh is going crazy, or at least he hopes so. Crazy would be so much better than what he thinks is really going on. A character he created jumps off the page to wave a pick shovel at him, boats explode, walls of blood threaten to drown him. And if it is all in his head than people he knows, and some he loves may not be dead. This is a Stephen King style thriller from the author of the Pendragon series, and will have you covering your eyes then peeking through to read the next hair-raising chapter.
Patrick Ness. A Monster Calls. (Candlewick, 2011) This book reminds us of the great secret of Gothic literature: the dark isn’t necessarily evil, it is something far more frightening – it is the unknown. It’s not the things that lurk in the dark that frighten us; it’s the dark. One of the most unique and haunting tales of the year.
Dan Poblocki. The Ghost of Graylock. (Scholastic, 2012) Abandoned buildings are spooky. Abandoned buildings in the woods are creepier. Put it in the mountains, on an island in the middle of a lake and you have the perfect setting for a horror story. Add
to that the fact that the abandoned building was an insane asylum, with a special ward for troubled teenagers who ended up dead at an alarming rate, and stories are bound to circulate. Nobody would be crazy enough to go poking around in there… would they?
Dan Poblocki. The Stone Child. (Random House, 2009) Horror stories are terrifying enough, but then they come to life for Eddie Fennicks. Worse still, it seems there is a new tale of terror being written, and he is right in the middle of it. He has a code to break, a lost author to find, an entire paranoid town to navigate, hell hounds and dark spirits to avoid, and his family to protect in this startling good first novel. The perfect read before you take on Stephen King’s The Dark Half.
James Preller. Home Sweet Horror. [Scary Tales] (Feiwel and Friends, 2013) Bloody Mary… Bloody Mary… BLOODY MARY! It’s an old children’s game in an old ghost tale setting, the mysterious and creeky old house that everyone in town stays clear of. It is a classic horror tale, retold for a new generation of budding horror readers.
Jamie Rix. “Grizzly Tales: Cautionary Tales for Lovers of Squeam” (Series)
Nasty Little Beasts. (Orion, 2010) Who doesn’t like to see the mean, the nasty, and the selfish get their due? These creepy little tales of the inhabitants of the Hothell Darkness warn of the demonic retribution for those little children who don’t clean their rooms, are mean to pets or little sisters, or start every sentence with “I want!” Ghastly and giggly, and just a little British, these kids’ bedtime stories are a cross between Edgar Allen Poe and Roald Dahl.
Gruesome Grown-ups. (Orion, 2010)
The “ME!” Monsters. (Orion, 2010)
Freaks of Nature. (Orion, 2010)
Terror Time Toys. (Orion, 2010)
Blubbers and Sicksters. (Orion, 2010)
Darren Shan. “Cirque Du Freak: The Saga of Darren Shan” (Series):
Cirque Du Freak: A Living Nightmare. (Little, Brown, 2001)
The Vampire’s Assistant. (Little, Brown, 2001)
Tunnels of Blood. (Little, Brown, 2002)
Vampire Mountain . (Little, Brown, 2002)
Trials of Death. (Little, Brown, 2003)
The Vampire Prince. (Little, Brown, 2003)
Hunters of the Dusk. (Little, Brown, 2004)
Allies of the Night. (Little, Brown, 2004)
Killers of the Dawn. (Little, Brown, 2005)
The Lake of Souls . (Little, Brown, 2006)
Lord of the Shadows. (Little, Brown, 2006)
Sons of Destiny. (Little, Brown, 2006)
Michael P. Spradlin, illustrated by Jeff Weigel. Jack and Jill Went Up to Kill: A Book of Zombie Nursery Rhymes. (Harper, 2011) You never realize how many sheep there are in nursery rhymes until you see that the most timid of creatures make the most ravenous undead.
Stewart and Chris Riddell. “Barnaby Grimes” (Series):
Curse of the Night Wolf. (David Fickling Books, 2007)
Return of the Emerald Skull. (David Fickling Books, 2009)
Legion of the Dead. (Doubleday, 2008)
Phantom of Blood Alley. (David Fickling Books, 2010)
Brad Strickland. “John Bellairs’s Lewis Barnevelt” (Series):
The Specter From the Magician’s Museum. (Dial, 1998)
The Beast From the Wizard’s Bridge. (Dial, 2000)
The Tower at the End of the World. (Dial, 2001)
The Whistle, The Grave, and the Ghost. (Dial, 2003)
The House Where Nobody Lived. (Dial, 2006)
The Sign of the Sinister Sorcerer. (Dial, 2008)
Bram Stoker, Michael Mucci. Dracula. [All-Action Classics] ( Sterling , 2007)
Shaun Tan. The Haunted Playground. (Stone Arch, 2008) Come, come play with us… said the creepy girl in the park who only comes out when the sun goes down and the lights come on.
Michael Teitelbaum. The Scary States of America. (Delacorte, 2007)
Henry Winkler and Lin Oliver. “Ghost Buddy” (Series)
Zero to Hero. [Book #1] (Scholastic, 2012)
Mind If I Read Your Mind? [Book #2] (Scholastic, 2012)
How to Scare the Pants Off Your Pets. [Book #3] (Scholastic, 2013)
Billy Broccoli’s first friend in his new neighborhood calls him Billy-Boy, dances like a chicken, juggles breakfast cereal, wears suspenders, and he is going to teach Billy how to be cool. Oh, and he’s been dead for 99 years.
Chris Wooding. Malice. (Scholastic, 2009) Come get pulled into a dark world of mechanized evil, a comic book hell that is all too real for those kids who dare to escape the deadly monotony of daily life. Told both in words and comic-style pictures, this first tale in a new series just jumps off the page.
Chris Wooding. Havoc. (Scholastic, October 2010)
Primarily for Teen Guys:
Jane Austen & Seth Grahame-Smith. Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. (Quirk Books, 2009)
Gary Cross. Plague of the Undead. (Puffin New Zealand , 2009)
Gina Damico. Croak. (Houghton Mifflin, 2012) What do you do with a teenager who is violent, foul mouthed, and out of control? Put them in charge of death. Yeah, that outta work.
Andrew Fukuda. “The Hunt” (Series)
The Hunt. [Book One] (St. Martin’s Griffin, 2012)
The Prey. [Book Two] (St. Martin’s Griffin, 2012)
There are vampires lurking amid the hordes of humans… no, wait! It’s the other way around! If one is frightening, the other is terrifying. One slip, one human emotion, and you are doomed. In such a world, can you really be human at all?
Seth Grahame-Smith. Unholy Night. (Grand Central Publishing, 2012) The author of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies and Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter brings a gothic sensibility to, of all things, the Nativity story. Forbidden magic, torture, swarms of homicidal insects, what dark secrets may lurk behind the ultimate story of peace and hope?
A. M. Jenkins. Night Road. (HarperTeen, 2008)
A. M. Jenkins. Repossessed. (HarperTeen, 2007)
Jonathan Maberry. Rot & Ruin. (Simon & Schuster, 2010) In the midst of a zombie apocalypse, what if the most frightening thing were us? Just who are the monsters here anyway?
Jonathan Maberry. Dust & Decay. (Simon & Schuster, 2011) The follow-up to Rot & Ruin, the apocolyptic zombie horror, is just as good as the first. It is good versus evil, but the zombies are neither. The good and evil are there within the humans; the zombies just bring out their true nature. Thrilling and fascinating at the same time.
Christopher Moore. Bloodsucking Fiends. (Simon & Schuster, 1995)
Christopher Moore. A Dirty Job. (William Morrow, 2006)
Christopher Moore. You Suck: A Love Story. (William Morrow, 2007)
Donna Jo Napoli. The Wager. (Henry Holt, 2010)
R. A. Nelson. Days of Little Texas. (Knopf, 2009) The story of a young teen celebrity preacher takes a decidedly horrific twist. Christians may talk a lot about the devil, but wait until they come face to face with him!
Kenneth Oppel. “The Apprenticeship of Victor Frankenstein” (Series)
This Dark Endeavor. (Simon & Schuster, 2011)
Such Wicked Intent. (Simon & Schuster, 2012)
The great men, powerful men, even terrible men, they don’t just appear on the pages of history. Even monsters come from somewhere. Even Frankenstein was a boy once…
Darren Shan. “The Demonata” (Series):
Lord Loss. (Little, Brown Young Readers, 2005)
The Demon Thief. (Little, Brown Young Readers, 2006)
Slawter. (Little, Brown Young Readers, 2006)
Bec. (Little, Brown Young Readers, 2007)
Blood Beast. (Little, Brown Young Readers, 2007)
Demon Apocalypse. (Little, Brown Young Readers, 2007)
Death’s Shadow. (Little, Brown Young Readers, 2008)
Wolf Island. (Little, Brown Young Readers, 2009)
Jon Skovron. Man Made Boy. (Viking Penguin, 2013) Frankenstein raised serious questions about the role of creation and creators in the industrial age. Now, in this striking modern retelling, the son of Frankenstein’s monster deals with the same
struggle, but in the digital age he is both the created and the creator.
Stephen Spignesi. The Weird 100: A Collection of the Strange and the Unexplained. (Citadel Press, 2004)
Scott Snyder, Rafael Albuquerque, Stephen King. American Vampire. (Vertigo, 2010) “Here’s what vampires shouldn’t be: pallid detectives who drink Bloody Marys and only work at night; lovelorn southern gentlemen; anorexic teenage girls; boy-toys with big dewy eyes. What should they be? Killers, honey. Stone killers…” (from the intro by Stephen King)
Rich Wallace. Restless: A Ghost’s Story. (Speak, 2003) Here is a ghost story for the high school sports fan. We have all seen stories of living people peering into the shadow world of the dead, but this is told through the eyes of the dead peering into the world of the living. Frank died too young, just a teenager, and there is something holding him to this world. He has his little brother Herbie to watch over, sure, but there is more, and it probably has something to do with that angry spirit who is stalking Herbie through the graveyard every night
V.M. Zito. The Return Man. (Orbit, 2012) It’s Dust and Decay without all those pesky characters and plots, just nonstop zombie apocalypse action!
Zombies vs. Unicorns. Edited by Holly Black and Justine Larbalestier. (Margaret K. McElderry Books, 2010) Don’t be fooled into thinking these stories fall into predictable lines, girly unicorns and blood-thirsty zombies. Garth Nix and Kathleen Duey bat for Team Unicorn. Libra Bray is on Team Zombie. Unicorns are sometimes viscious killers, and zombies fall in love. For the three people who ever, before this, dreamed of a zombie/unicorn book, you never dreamed it would be like this. Three words: Rainbow… farting…unicorns!