Maybe it’s the 90-degree weather or my intense dislike of sandals, but lately I’ve been craving the arrival of autumn. The start of fall brings some of my favorite things: warm apple cider, big cozy sweaters, and terrifying ghost stories. Okay, one of those things isn’t quite like the others, but think about it: soon it’ll be getting dark earlier, the leaves will die on the trees, and Halloween will be right around the corner. Of course I have ghosts and ghouls on my mind! Fittingly, the books below contain elements of everything you’re afraid of.
Nightfall, by Jake Halpern and Peter Kujawinski
On Marin’s island, it’s been sunny for the last 14 years. But now night is falling, and every adult is in a big hurry to get the heck off the island. No one will tell Marin and her brother Kana why, however, nor will they explain the bizarre rituals they insist on doing before they depart. But before they can sail away, Marin and Kana’s best friend goes missing. They must find Line before darkness falls…and discover just what it is everyone’s so desperate to run away from.
Appearance of Annie Van Sinderen, by Katherine Howe
This is your classic story of boy meets girl, boy falls for girl…girl turns out to have a dark supernatural secret. Wes is an NYU film student who’s blown away by the gorgeous Annie, an elusive girl he meets at a seance. But the more time he spends with her, the more questions he has. She’s different from anyone he’s ever met, and not just because she uses slang he’s never heard, and doesn’t seem to exist outside of one specific block in New York. What’s Annie’s secret? Take this as a warning, folks: be wary of girls you meet at a psychic’s shop.
The Dead House, by Dawn Kurtagich
Twenty-five years ago, a massive fire broke out at a boarding school, killing three and leaving one missing. A diary is found among the wreckage, supposedly written by the twin sister of the missing girl, Carly Johnson. Only problem? As far as anyone knew, Carly didn’t have a twin. Through a story made up of diary fragments, police reports, and psychiatric reports, we learn Carly shared her body with another distinct entity, dark nighttime persona Kaitlyn. When Carly disappears from their shared form, Kaitlyn is left to search for her other half, in a story combining psychosis with supernatural horror.
The Suffering, by Rin Chupeco
Tark may be free of his own evil spirits, but he isn’t done with ghosts. Along with Okiku, the vengeful spirit who trained him, this formerly vulnerable teen is in the business of avenging murdered children. But when things go awry and someone ends up dead by Okiku’s hands, Tark begins to rethink his career path. Then a disappearance of a friend in Aokigahara, the suicide forest, brings the two back together. They’ll need each other if they have any hope of finding her and bringing her back…alive.
Daughters Unto Devils, by Amy Lukavics
Amanda, daughter of a religious mountain-dwelling family, spent a long winter losing her mind to cabin fever, but little did she know her horror story had barely begun. Secretly pregnant and terrified, she moves with her family to a house on the prairie. But their new house is covered in blood, they have some seriously creepy neighbors, and Amanda is starting to suspect something dark lives on their land. Or is Amanda the only evil thing on the prairie?