Get Spooked with these YA Halloween Reads

Posted by on Oct 22, 2013 | 2 comments


What will you be reading this Halloween?

I’ve never been a horror fan, but I adore the romantic darkness of Gothic fiction. Some of my favourite novels and short stories are Gothic classics—Dracula, Wuthering Heights, The Monk, Melmoth the Wanderer; anything by M. R. James, Edgar Allan Poe or Ann Radcliffe.

Not surprisingly, I love the dark and Gothic in YA too. Here are my Halloween recommendations:

The Forest of Hands and Teeth trilogy by Carrie Ryan

the forest of hands and teeth

I’ve read a number of YA zombie novels, but The Forest of Hands and Teeth trilogy stands out as favourites. Each of the three books follow different (but connected) characters through a series of zombie-filled landscapes: isolated villages, forests, deserted fairgrounds, beaches, boats and cities. Lots of claustrophobic scary bits, emotional heart-ache and love-triangle-age.


Doll Bones by Holly Black

doll bones holly black

I read Doll Bones a few weeks ago and adored it. Although it’s Middle Grade rather than YA, I’m including it here as it contains some seriously creepy moments (it is, after all, about a china doll that haunts children, and claims to be made from the ground bones of a murdered girl…). It’s a great story, with wonderfully fleshed-out characters.


Smoulder by Brenna Yovanoff

smoulder brenna yovanoff

If you haven’t read any of Brenna Yovanoff’s books yet, get reading. Any of them would be perfect for Halloween.

Smoulder (also titled The Space Between) is about humans and demons, with a smattering of fallen angels, but is nothing like other YA books about demons and angels. Yovanoff puts her unique spin on Hell and its occupants. As with all her books, the darkness of the subject matter is balanced by the exploration of real-life themes and characters it’s easy to warm to.


Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake

anna dressed in blood

Anna Dressed in Blood is the closest to horror I’ve read in YA. About a ghost-killing boy and a vengeful spook who literally rips people apart, it contains some seriously scary, gory scenes. The sequel, Girl of Nightmares, has some even gorier moments.


The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black

the coldest girl in coldtown holly black

This is my current Halloween read. I’m only part-way through The Coldest Girl in Coldtown, but I’m loving what I’ve read so far. Refreshingly, Holly Black’s vampires are true monsters, not paranormal romance hotties. Very dark, as so many of Black’s YA books are.




What will you be reading on the 31st?



Scary reads photo credit: Stephanie Massaro / Foter / CC BY-NC-ND


  1. This is great! I’ve got a similar post ready for next week. I’ll be reading Sean Cumming’s POLTERGEEKS this year, about a teenage witch and high levels of poltergeist activity all over town!

  2. Thanks, Kate! Will check out your post next week. POLTERGEEKS sounds a ton of fun!

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