While a good horror story is welcome all through the year, there’s something extra spooky about curling up with a frightful novel under an October moon. Not only is there a fantastic history of the horror genre to unpack, the YA world has seen some killer tales of things that go bump in the night. If you’re looking to pair your favorite classic horror with recent YA, we have you covered. Warning: you might want to leave the lights on before you start these.
For It, by Stephen King, try Mary: The Summoning, by Hillary Monahan
Do you fancy horror that focuses on common scary figures like clowns? While Stephen King’s It gives the clown a refreshing take, Hillary Monahan’s Mary: The Summoning gives the legend of the terrifying mirror figure of Bloody Mary a new spin. When four teens attempt to summon Bloody Mary, they don’t think it will actually work…except perhaps for Jess, who has done all the research. When they do succeed, however, they find themselves part of a cycle of revenge that almost always ends in death, unless they can figure out a way to stop it. We guarantee both will haunt your dreams. (Also, be sure to check out Monahan’s latest horror, The Hollow Girl).
For The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, by Robert Louis Stevenson, try The Last Harvest, by Kim Liggett
The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is renowned for its examination of the duality of the human self. While reading, you may start to wonder if you’re hiding your own Mr. Hyde inside. While Stevenson’s classic focuses on how we internally shape the relationship with ourselves, Kim Liggett’s The Last Harvest examines how external forces shape that relationship. After Clay Tate finds his dad dying in the barn, holding a crucifix, and talking about pleading the blood, the people in town start treating him differently. They look at him like he could suddenly descend into madness at any moment. Clay initially brushes it off, but through a series of strange, inexplicable occurrences that leave more questions than answers, he begins to doubt his own sanity.
For Frankenstein, by Mary Shelley, try The Grave Keepers, by Elizabeth Byrne
If you’ve read Frankenstein and looked up any information on Mary Shelley, you’ll know she invented being extra at horror. She herself loved spending time at graves, just like the protagonist in Elizabeth Byrne’s The Grave Keepers does. In The Grave Keepers, Athena and Laurel Windham’s family owns a cemetery in update New York where their parents protectiveness combined with the location leaves the girls fairly secluded. While they attempt to navigate a new school year, a nearby ghost is plotting how to make sure the sisters never leave their home…ever. In the vein of Frankenstein, Byrne’s novel, deals with tough questions of humanity, family relationships, and what it means to be among the living.
For The Complete Works of Edgar Allan Poe, by Edgar Allan Poe, try The Ravenous, by Amy Lukavics
Edgar Allan Poe’s tales are ripe with terror, existentialism, and they often explore what lies beneath a nice façade (which, spoiler, is often a dead body). Amy Lukavics’ latest, The Ravenous, explores similar themes with the Cane family: a family that looks perfection on the outside but hides dark secrets inside. The father is barely present, the mother struggles with addiction, and the sisters aren’t anywhere near loving towards each other. Their world is shaken when the youngest daughter, Rose, dies…and is then brought back to life, this time with a hunger for human flesh. Like Poe’s works, The Ravenous challenges whether the supernatural is truly scarier than the actions of humans.
For The Haunting of Hill House, by Shirley Jackson, try House of Furies, by Madeleine Roux
The frequency of haunted house stories has made me an adult who becomes on edge the second she’s alone in a house at night. If you love the creepy home setting that holds dark secrets of Shirley Jackson, pick up Madeleine Roux’s House of Furies. House of Furies follows Louisa Ditton, the new maid at Coldthistle House. Louisa is thrilled at the new job until she discovers Mr. Morningside, the owner of the house, is enforcing a lot more than lodging on his guests. As a bonus, Roux’s novels, including this one, also have frightening visuals throughout for that extra spine tingle.
For The Complete Works of H.P. Lovecraft, by H.P. Lovecraft, try Calla Cthulhu, by Evan Dorkin, Sarah Dyer, Erin Humiston, Mario A. Gonzalez, and Bill Mudron
H.P. Lovecraft excelled at bringing mysterious monsters and fright into a story, including the creature, Cthulhu. Calla Cthulhu is a knockout first volume in a new graphic novel series following Calla, heir to Lovecraft’s Great Old Ones. While her uncle urges her to join the family business, Calla spends her time saving people from supernatural monsters, saving herself from assassins, and figuring out what her destiny truly is. In one volume, this series has already become one of my favorites that deserves plenty of attention.