The horror and suspense genres provide us with a running list of creatures, supernatural beings, evil humans, demons, and more to give us the frights, but my personal favorite “leave the night light on” trope is Don’t Go in the Water. Whether the source of terror is in the water or the water itself, I’m all about it. If you’re looking for a nice, scary beach read that will make you wonder what’s really happening below the surface, pick up one of these YA books featuring dangerous waters.
The Wicked Deep, by Shea Ernshaw
What do you do when you live in a waterfront town where multiple boys drown each summer? If you’re Penny Talbot, you do your best to stay safe, and keep your ears covered lest you become host to the spirit of one of three vengeful, drowned sisters accused of witchcraft centuries ago, who take the boys to punish their murderers’ descendants. But this summer, something is different. Mysterious Bo Carter arrives in town hiding more than one secret. And as Penny and Bo grow closer, their secrets and the hidden evils of the past threaten to pull them under for good.
Fear the Drowning Deep, by Sarah Glenn Marsh
Bridey Corkill hates the sea that took her grandfather from her. Years after his death, more villagers start to go missing. Only Bridey, the island’s witch, and strange boy Fynn, who washed up on shore with no memories, believe something in the sea is taking them away. In order to face whatever is taking her neighbors, Bridey will have to face her fear of the water at last.
To Kill a Kingdom, by Alexandra Christo
In Christo’s standalone fantasy debut, sirens are on the hunt. They are vicious, competitive, and strive to rip out the hearts of men. Princess Lira is eager to follow in the footsteps of the current Sea Queen, who also happens to be her mother. When an accident leaves one of Lira’s own kind dead at her hands, the Sea Queen gives her the ultimate punishment and test: transformed into a human, bereft of her enchanting song, Lira must take the heart of land prince Elian. The problem? Elian is a deadly siren hunter. As the two are forced into each other’s orbits, they they have more in common than not, including a shared enemy lurking beneath the waters.
The November Girl, by Lydia Kang
Kang delivers a highly original and dark tale with The November Girl. Anda is the daughter of the lake and controller of the November storms that wreck ships. Until now, she has managed to channel her half-human side enough to keep her destruction limited to November. But as each day of the new storm season passes, she feels her mother’s call to sink into the lake forever. As if she wasn’t battling enough demons, human boy Hector has decided to hide out on the island, away from the system, and person, that hurt him. As the storms rage around them, they each must decide who they will choose to be.
The Vicious Deep, by Zoraida Córdova
Once you’ve devoured Córdova’s latest YA, Bruja Born, check out her other series, beginning with The Vicious Deep. Tristan Hart was taken by the ocean for three days. When he’s returned, he has no memory of what happened, but he can’t get the image of a mermaid, a kingdom, and an ancient battle out of his head…a battle he might be in the middle of. When he’s pulled back to the waters, he will find that the ocean doesn’t like giving up what it has claimed.
Lies Beneath, by Anne Greenwood Brown
In the depths of Lake Superior, you’ll find more than fish. Calder White and his sisters prey on human energy to stay alive. Normally, their victims are the unlucky ones who happen to be in the lake at the wrong time and place, but now, they have a single, focused target in mind: Jason Hancock, the man they believe caused their mother’s death. In order to lure Hancock to the lake, Calder is tasked with seducing his enemy’s daughter, Lily. As his feelings turn from fake to real, Calder must choose between fighting by his family’s side or standing with the girl he now loves.