Have you realized that a lot of YA horror novels tend to be supernatural creepy or some shade of paranormal romance? Where are the teen Hannibal Lectors? Actually, you know what. Forget that I asked that question.
For this week’s Top Five Wednesday we’re counting down our top five favourite YA horror novels. I love horror novels, more so than I have ever loved horror movies. There is some semblance of control that reading allows that no film can give. You’re a slave to your own imagination… meaning you’re probably going to make this worse for yourself. But at the same time, you can always put the book down and make it all go away… or can you?
The books on our list struck fear into our hearts for many different reasons, they may be plagues, monsters or murderers, but they all are worth mentioning.
Top Five Wednesday is a book tag started by GingerReadsLainey. Join the goodreads group to get each week’s topic and participate yourselves!
5. PEEPS – SCOTT WESTERFELD
This book isn’t necessarily scary in the traditionally scary way. Peeps is a vampire novel where vampirism is a disease (this is also not necessarily new). In Peepsit’s the alternating chapters that make it horrific. In the world of this novel, vamprisim is a parasite that infects humans and messes with their brain chemistry to make them stronger, faster and violent. To ground the story further into the real world, Westerfeld has chapter interludes where he talks about real parasites and what their life cycles are like and how they affect their hosts. All of a sudden Westerfeld’s vampires aren’t as scary as what could be in your gut right now.
Check out our review on Peeps here.
4. THE MERCILESS – DANIELLE VEGA
The Merciless is a very recent novel that feels like a return to The Exorcist type of horror. The novel follows Sofia, the new girl in town that hooks up with a tight clique of friends. When Sofia’s new friends decide that another classmate is possessed and needs their help they drag Sofia along for an exorcism. Everything goes horribly wrong from there.
Over the course of the novel the reader is faced with a few questions. Is this girl possessed by a demon? Are any of the girls who are actually performing the exorcism possessed by demons, or is this all an example of pure human treachery? The book is super creepy and can be a little difficult to get through at times (a warning for torture might be needed). But if you like horror, then this might be a book you should check out.
I recieved an ARC copy of The Merciless for review. Check out my thoughts on the novel here.
3. THE HAUNTING OF ALAIZABEL CRAY – CHRIS WOODING
To this day if I’m walking down the street by myself I refuse to look over my shoulder more than twice. This book is pretty much the greatest hits of things that will terrify you. Monsters that stalk you on the streets? Check. A scarecrow who is also a serial killer? Check. Creepy witches? Yup. Demons? Got those too. We originally read this book in high school because we had loved Chris Wooding’s Poison and it’s been on my re-read list for a while now. I really want to know if this book is as scary as I remember it being.
2. CORALINE – NEIL GAIMAN
In an interview someone asked Neil Gaiman about the horror elements in Coraline and reader’s reactions to them. Gaiman responded with:
Reading audience number one is adults. Adults completely love it and they tell me it gave them nightmares. They found it really scary and disturbing, and they’re not sure it’s a good book for kids, but they loved it. Reading audience number two are kids who read it as an adventure and they love it. They don’t get nightmares, and they don’t find it scary. I think part of that is that kids don’t realize how much trouble Coraline is in — she is in big trouble — and adults read it and think, “I know how much trouble you’re in.” (x)
I find myself agreeing with him on this. I never read Coraline as a kid, I read it when I was an adult (and at this point I had read many other Gaiman novels) and it did unsettle me. Would I have been afraid as a kid? Maybe, I was easily scared by a lot of things, but I don’t think I would have felt unsettled. I’d be interested to see how the perspective would change for someone who had read the book as a kid and then reread it now.
But the buttons for eyes thing is creepy as hell. Just saying.
1. THE BOOK OF LOST THINGS – JOHN CONNOLLY
I had read The Gates by John Connolly and loved it. When I found out that he had written a fantasy novel based off of fairy tales I was super excited and rushed to check it out. Worst mistake of my life.
Okay, that’s a lie. I adore this book to pieces. It’s just that this book messed with me on a different level. Lost Things takes then darkness of fairy tales and turns it up to eleven. The world of this story just feels wrong and you’re following this little kid as he wanders through it and you’re afraid for him. This book was originally marked as a horror fantasy novel but somebody got a brilliant idea to slap a teen cover on it and stick it in the YA section.
What could go wrong?
So there you have it, a list of some of our favourite YA horror novels. We’re sure that there are more out there. Tell us about them in the comments below! We’ll see you next Wednesday with our next list!