In this article, we will share the 20 best horror books for kids and teens in 2023.
Buying horror books for teens as gifts, if you also give away "One Hundred Thousand Whys" and "Selected Fairy Tales by Andersen", then OUT. Today’s children’s favorites are vampires, zombies, ghosts, and witches...
The reporter learned that the current scary books for teens are very popular among elementary school students, especially among boys.
Whoever has not read such books and companions will not. If you have a common topic, you will be scorned as a coward.
The 20 Best Horror Books for Kids and Teens in 2023
Experts say that most of The Best Horror Books for Kids and Teens on the book market are in Europe and the United States.
In Western culture, zombies, ghosts, and vampires are common cultural symbols. Children are also familiar with them.
In addition, elementary school students are young, lack the ability to discriminate, and are mentally immature. Being in this state of fear for a long time will have an adverse effect on the child's physical and mental development.
I feel that children nowadays seem to be getting more and more courageous, just like when I was in school, let alone reading scary books for teens, even if I heard a ghost story from my classmates, I was so scared. broken.
Children nowadays not only read horror books for teens but even dare to watch horror and supernatural movies. It's amazing.
by Stephen King
Stephen King's legendary debut is about a teenage outcast and the revenge she enacts on her classmates.
Carrie White may have been unfashionable and unpopular, but she had a gift. Carrie could make things move by concentrating on them. A candle would fall. A door would lock.
This was her power and her sin. Then, an act of kindness, as spontaneous as the vicious taunts of her classmates, offered Carrie a chance to be normal and go to her senior prom. But another act--of ferocious cruelty--turned her gift into a weapon of horror and destruction that her classmates would never forget.
2. Dread Nation
by Justina Ireland
New York Times bestseller; 6 starred reviews!
At once provocative, terrifying, and darkly subversive, Dread Nation is Justina Ireland's stunning vision of an America both foreign and familiar—a country on the brink, at the explosive crossroads where race, humanity, and survival meet.
Jane McKeene was born two days before the dead began to walk the battlefields of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania—derailing the War Between the States and changing the nation forever.
In this new America, safety for all depends on the work of a few, and laws like the Native and Negro Education Act require certain children to attend combat schools to learn to put down the dead.
But there are also opportunities—and Jane is studying to become an Attendant, trained in both weaponry and etiquette to protect the well-to-do. It's a chance for a better life for Negro girls like Jane. After all, not even being the daughter of a wealthy white Southern woman could save her from society’s expectations.
But that’s not the life Jane wants. Almost finished with her education at Miss Preston's School of Combat in Baltimore, Jane is set on returning to her Kentucky home and doesn’t pay much mind to the politics of the eastern cities, with their talk of returning America to the glory of its days before the dead rose.
But when families around Baltimore County begin to go missing, Jane is caught in the middle of a conspiracy, one that finds her in a desperate fight for her life against some powerful enemies.
And the restless dead, it would seem, are the least of her problems.
3. Mary: The Summoning
by Hillary Monahan
There is a right way and a wrong way to summon her. Jess had done the research. Success requires precision: a dark room, a mirror, a candle, salt, and four teenage girls. Each of them--Jess, Shauna, Kitty, and Anna--must link hands, follow the rules . . . and never let go.
A thrilling fear spins around the room the first time Jess calls her name: "Bloody Mary. Bloody Mary. BLOODY MARY." A ripple of terror follows when a shadowy silhouette emerges through the fog, a specter trapped behind the mirror. Once is not enough, though--at least not for Jess. Mary is called again. And again. But when their summoning circle is broken, Bloody Mary slips through the glass with a taste for revenge on her lips.
As the girls struggle to escape Mary's wrath, loyalties are questioned, friendships are torn apart, and lives are forever altered. A haunting trail of clues leads Shauna on a desperate search to uncover the legacy of Mary Worth. What she finds will change everything, but will it be enough to stop Mary--and Jess--before it's too late?
by Amy Plum
Cat, the halfbreed telepath hero of "Catspaw "and "Psion," joins a research team on Refuge, the homeworld of his mother's people, the Hydrans. Immediately, he finds trouble when he helps a Hydran woman escape human pursuers. The decimated Hydran population of Refuge is confined to a bleak "homeland," by a huge corporate state, Tau Biotech.
Tau also controls Refuge's one unique natural resource, "Dreamfall." The tangible residue of cast-off thoughts from beautiful, enigmatic "cloud whales," Dreamfall forms vast reefs, sacred to the Hydrans, but mere exploitable data to Tau.
Caught between Tau and desperate Hydrans who fight to reclaim their world, Cat must somehow forge the ruins of the past into a means to defeat Tau's brutality to save his people --and himself.
5. The School is Alive!
by Jack Chabert
Eerie Elementary is one scary school! This series is part of Scholastic's early chapter book line called Branches, which is aimed at newly independent readers. With easy-to-read text, high-interest content, fast-paced plots, and illustrations on every page, these books will boost reading confidence and stamina.
Branche books help readers grow! In this first book in the series, Sam Graves discovers that his elementary school is ALIVE!
Sam finds this out on his first day as the school hall monitor. Sam must defend himself and his fellow students against the evil school! Is Sam up to the challenge?
He'll find out soon enough: the class play is just around the corner. Sam teams up with friends Lucy and Antonio to stop this scary school before it's too late!
6. The House With a Clock In Its Walls
by John Bellairs
A haunting gothic tale by master mystery writer John Bellairs--soon to be a major motion picture starring Cate Blanchett and Jack Black!"The House With a Clock in Its Walls will cast its spell for a long time."--The New York Times Book Review
When Lewis Barnavelt, an orphan. comes to stay with his uncle Jonathan, he expects to meet an ordinary person. But he is wrong. Uncle Jonathan and his next-door neighbor, Mrs. Zimmermann, are both magicians! Lewis is thrilled.
At first, watching magic is enough. Then Lewis experiments with magic himself and unknowingly resurrects the former owner of the house: a woman named Serenna Izard. It seems that Serenna and her husband built a timepiece into the walls--a clock that could obliterate humankind. And only the Barnavelts can stop it!
by Jason Segel
Jason Segel, multitalented actor, writer, and musician, teams up with New York Times bestselling author Kirsten Miller for the hilariously frightening middle-grade novel Nightmares!, the first book in a trilogy about a boy named Charlie and a group of kids who must face their fears to save their town.
Sleeping has never been so scary. And now waking up is even worse!
Charlie Laird has several problems.
- 1. His dad married a woman he sure moonlights as a witch.
- 2. He had to move into her purple mansion, which is NOT a place you want to find yourself after dark.
- 3. He can't remember the last time sleeping wasn't a nightmarish prospect. Like even a nap.
What Charlie doesn't know is that his problems are about to get a whole lot more real. Nightmares can ruin a good night's sleep, but when they start slipping out of your dreams and into the waking world—that's a line that should never be crossed.
8. The Coldest Girl in Coldtown
by Holly Black
Coldtown was dangerous, Tana knew. A glamorous cage, a prison for the damned and anyone who wanted to party with them. Tana lives in a world where walled cities called Coldtowns exist.
In them, quarantined monsters and humans mingle in a decadently bloody mix of predator and prey. And once you pass through Coldtown's gates, you can never leave.
One morning, after a perfectly ordinary party, Tana wakes up surrounded by corpses. The only other survivors of this massacre are her exasperatingly endearing ex-boyfriend, infected and on the edge, and a mysterious boy burdened with a terrible secret.
Shaken and determined, Tana enters a race against the clock to save the three of them the only way she knows how: by going straight to the wicked, opulent heart of Coldtown itself.
9. Anna Dressed in Blood
by Kendare Blake
Amidst the surge of youth fantasy novels, the mysterious and melancholic style of supernatural horror is popular. "Anna Dressed in Blood" is just such a work that blends the two perfectly containing both spirit-hunting elements and a lot of thriller scenes mixed with black humor. Its sequel "Girl of Nightmares" ("Girl fo Nightmares") will be published in August 2012.
Cas Lowood inherited an unusual profession from his father: hunting down "dead people." His father had been in this profession before he was alive until he was killed by an evil spirit he pursued, and his father left Case with a mysterious and terrifying "Holy Blade".
With this knife, Case traveled to different towns and villages with his mother witch, and a cat capable of smelling ghosts. They pursued the folklore wherever they went, tried to contact the undead who died violently, hunted down the ghosts with deep grievances, and prevented them from harming innocent people.
Keith and his party came to a small town to search for the undead called "Anna in Blood" in the legend. Case thinks this is just a trial of the usual spirit hunting operations: search, capture, and hunt. But this is not the case. He found that the girl he was about to face was full of unprecedented anger and curse.
The girl is still wearing the dress she wore on the day of the murder in 1958. This once-white dress is now dotted with red blood. For several years, Anna wandered around the deserted old house, killing all those who dared to set foot in this house. Anna does not allow outsiders to set foot in what she used to call "home".
This girl named Anna, anyway, has entered and occupied Case's life.
With the help of psychic teacher Thomas and popular idol Carmel, Anna's past was revealed little by little. Case tried to safely liberate Anna from the shackles of the curse. Can he succeed?
10. Wilder Girls
by Rory Power
"Wilder Girls is so sharp and packs so much emotion in such wise ways. I'm convinced we're about to witness the emergence of a major new literary star." --Jeff VanderMeer, author of the New York Times bestseller
Annihilation A feminist Lord of the Flies is about three best friends living in quarantine at their island boarding school, and the lengths they go to uncover the truth of their confinement when one disappears.
This fresh, new debut is a mind-bending novel, unlike anything you've read before. It's been eighteen months since the Raxter School for Girls was put under quarantine. Since the Tox hit and pulled Hetty's life out from under her. It started slow. First, the teachers died one by one.
Then it began to infect the students, turning their bodies strange and foreign. Now, cut off from the rest of the world and left to fend for themselves on their island home, the girls don't dare wander outside the school's fence, where the Tox has made the woods wild and dangerous.
They wait for the cure they were promised as the Tox seeps into everything. But when Byatt goes missing, Hetty will do anything to find her, even if it means breaking quarantine and braving the horrors that lie beyond the fence. And when she does, Hetty learns that there's more to their story, to their life at Raxter, than she could have ever thought true.
"Stunningly unique and with bold, atmospheric writing, Wilder Girls hooked me from the very first page. The eeriness of Raxter Island permeates every scene, and Rory Power's characters are fierce and honest, blazing from the pages. This is a groundbreaking speculative story--brutal and beautiful, raw and unflinching. I adored this book." --Emily Suvada, author of This Mortal Coil
11. What the Dead Want
by Norah Olson
Haunting photographs and dark family secrets make this second spine-tingling novel from Norah Olson the perfect read for fans of creepy, suspenseful teen fiction.
A love of photography, an old camera, and countless questions—these are all that sixteen-year-old Gretchen has left of her mother, who mysteriously disappeared years ago.
Now she must return to the place where her mom vanished—a decaying mansion that Gretchen has suddenly inherited from her great-aunt Esther. However, Gretchen won’t find the answers she’s seeking without unraveling the secrets that lurk inside the house.
There are stacks of photographs and letters from her ancestors that go back centuries, pointing to some kind of haunting past. But when proof of the mansion’s dark history appears to Gretchen in the form of ghostly visions and the soft, eerie whisper of her mother’s voice, there’s no doubt that something sinister has taken place there.
No matter how scared she might be, Gretchen must somehow uncover the reasons why this indescribable force has descended upon her family and find a way to set everyone—even the dead—free.
12. Serafina and the Black Cloak
by Robert Beatty
This is the story of a brave and unusual girl who lives secretly in the basement of the grand Biltmore Estate amidst the splendor of the Gilded Age and the rugged beauty of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Serafina and her friend Braeden Vanderbilt must work together to solve a dark and dangerous mystery.
This page-turning thriller from Disney-Hyperion is a #1 New York Times Bestseller and has appeared on the bestsellers list for more than 60 weeks.
It also won the prestigious 2016 Pat Conroy Southern Book Prize for "representing the best in Southern literature." A blend of history, mystery, and magic, this new series has become a favorite for kids, teachers, parents, and readers of all ages (8+)
13. The Graveyard Book
by Neil Gaiman
He would be completely normal if he didn't live in a sprawling graveyard, being raised and educated by ghosts, with a solitary guardian who belongs to neither the world of the living nor of the dead.
There are dangers and adventures in the graveyard for a boy an ancient Indigo Man beneath the hill, a gateway to a desert leading to an abandoned city of ghouls, and the strange and terrible menace of the Seller.
But if Bod leaves the graveyard, then he will come under attack from the man Jack—who has already killed Bod's family...
Beloved master storyteller Neil Gaiman returns with a luminous new novel for the audience that embraced his New York Times bestselling modern classic Coraline. Magical, terrifying, and filled with breathtaking adventures, the graveyard book is sure to enthrall readers of all ages.
14. Doll Bones
by Holly Black
A doll that may be haunted leads three friends on a thrilling adventure in this delightfully creepy novel from the New York Times bestselling cocreator of the Spiderwick Chronicles.
Zach, Poppy, and Alice have been friends forever. And for almost as long, they've been playing one continuous, ever-changing game of pirates and thieves, mermaids and warriors. Ruling over all is the Great Queen, a bone-china doll cursing those who displease her. But they are in middle school now.
Zach's father pushes him to give up make-believe, and Zach quits the game. Their friendship might be over until Poppy declares she's been having dreams about the Queen—and the ghost of a girl who will not rest until the bone-china doll is buried in her empty grave.
Zach, Alice, and Poppy set off on one last adventure to lay the Queen's ghost to rest. But nothing goes according to plan, and as their adventure turns into an epic journey, creepy things begin to happen. Is the doll just a doll or something more sinister? And if there really is a ghost, will it let them go now that it has them in its clutches?
15. This Dark Endeavor
by Kenneth Oppel
Victor and Konrad are the twin brothers of Frankenstein. They are nearly inseparable. Growing up, their lives are filled with imaginary adventures...until the day their adventures turn all too real. They stumble upon The Dark Library, and secret books of alchemy and ancient remedies are discovered.
Father forbids that they ever enter the room again, but this only peaks Victor's curiosity more. When Konrad falls gravely ill, Victor is not satisfied with the various doctors his parents have called in to help. He is drawn back to The Dark Library where he uncovers an ancient formula for the Elixir of Life.
Elizabeth, Henry, and Victor immediately set out to find assistance in a man who was once known for his alchemical works to help create the formula. Determination and the unthinkable outcome of losing his brother spur Victor on in the quest for the three ingredients that will save Konrad's life.
After scaling the highest trees in the Strumwald, diving into the deepest lake caves, and sacrificing their own body parts, the three fearless friends risk their lives to save one another.
16. Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children
by Ransom Riggs
As a kid, Jacob formed a special bond with his grandfather over his bizarre tales and photos of levitating girls and invisible boys. Now at 16, he is reeling from the old man's unexpected death.
Then Jacob is given a mysterious letter that propels him on a journey to the remote Welsh island where his grandfather grew up. There, he finds the children from the photographs--alive and well--despite the islanders' assertion that all were killed decades ago.
As Jacob begins to unravel more about his grandfather's childhood, he suspects he is being trailed by a monster only he can see. A haunting and out-of-the-ordinary read, debut author Ransom Rigg's first-person narration is convincing and absorbing, and every detail he draws our eye to is deftly woven into an unforgettable whole.
Interspersed with photos throughout, Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children is a truly atmospheric novel with plot twists, turns, and surprises that will delight readers of any age.
17. The Last Apprentice: Revenge of the Witch
by Joseph Delaney
Capturing witches Binding boggarts Driving away ghosts For years, Old Gregory has been the Spook for the county, ridding the local villages of evil. Now his time is coming to an end. But who will take over for him? Twenty-nine apprentices have tried -some floundered, some fled, and some failed to stay alive.
Only Thomas Ward is left. He's the last hope; the last apprentice. Can Thomas succeed? Will he learn the difference between a benign witch and a malevolent one? Does Spook's warning against girls with pointy shoes include Alice? And what will happen if Thomas accidentally frees Mother Malkin, the evilest witch in the county ...?
18. The Dead House
by Billy O'Callaghan
Sometimes the past endures—and sometimes it never lets go.
This best-selling debut by an award-winning writer is both an eerie contemporary ghost story and a dread-inducing psychological thriller. Maggie is a successful young artist who has had bad luck with men. Her last put her in the hospital and, after she’s healed physically, left her needing to get out of London to heal mentally and find a place of quiet that will restore her creative spirit.
On the rugged west coast of Ireland, perched on a wild cliffside, she spies the shell of a cottage that dates back to the Great Famine and decides to buy it. When work on the house is done, she invites her dealer to come for the weekend to celebrate along with a couple of women friends, one of whom will become his wife. On the boozy last night, the other friend pulls out an Ouija board. What sinister thing they summon, once invited, will never go.
Ireland is a country haunted by its past. In Billy O'Callaghan's hands, its terrible beauty becomes a force of inescapable horror that reaches far back in time, before the Famine, before Christianity, to a pagan place where nature and superstition are bound in an endless knot.
19. Rot And Ruin
by Jonathan Maberry
In the zombie-infested, post-apocalyptic America where Benny Imura lives, every teenager must find a job by the time they turn fifteen or get their rations cut in half. Benny doesn't want to apprentice as a zombie hunter with his boring older brother, Tom, but he has no choice.
He expects a tedious job whacking zoms for cash--but what he gets is a vocation that will teach him what it means to be human. Acclaimed horror author Jonathan Maberry makes his young adult debut with this detail-rich depiction of a post-apocalyptic world where humanity has fallen, the dead have risen, and danger is always imminent.
20. A Monster Calls
by Patrick Ness
An unflinching, darkly funny, and deeply moving story of a boy, his seriously ill mother, and an unexpected monstrous visitor.
At seven minutes past midnight, thirteen-year-old Conor wakes to find a monster outside his bedroom window. But it isn't the monster Conor's been expecting-- he's been expecting the one from his nightmare, the nightmare he's had nearly every night since his mother started her treatments.
The monster in his backyard is different. It's ancient. And wild. And it wants something from Conor. Something terrible and dangerous. It wants the truth. From the final idea of award-winning author Siobhan Dowd- -whose premature death from cancer prevented her from writing it herself-- Patrick Ness has spun a haunting and darkly funny novel of mischief, loss, and monsters both real and imagined.
You May Also Like: Horror Books for Kids and Teens
- Eerie Elementary series
- The House with a Clock in Its Walls: Lewis Barnavelt, Book 1
- Jason Strange: The Graveyard Plot
- Nightmares!: Nightmares, Book 1
- Rowley Jefferson's Awesome Friendly Spooky Stories
- Serafina and the Black Cloak
- Wretched Waterpark: Sinister Summer, Book 1
- Zombie Mommy
- Archimancy: Shadow School, Book 1
- Case File 13: Zombie Kid
- Dust & Grim
- The Graveyard Book
- The Graveyard Book Graphic Novel: Volume 1
- The House in Poplar Wood
- Professor Gargoyle: Tales from Lovecraft Middle School #1
- The Stars Did Wander Darkling
- Zombie Baseball Beatdown
- Bloom: The Overthrow, Book 1
- The Cavendish Home for Boys and Girls
- The Clackity
- Constable & Toop
- Doll Bones
- The Night Gardener
- Scary Stories for Young Foxes
- Small Spaces
- The Screaming Staircase: Lockwood & Co., Book 1
- This Dark Endeavor: The Apprenticeship of Victor Frankenstein
- The Haunting of Sunshine Girl, Book 1
- In the Shadow of Blackbirds
- Jackaby, Book 1
- Revenge of the Witch: The Last Apprentice, Book 1
- Slasher Girls & Monster Boys
- Tales of the Peculiar
- The Book of Living Secrets
- The Getaway
- Go Hunt Me
- Jane, Unlimited
- Last Things
- Man Made Boy
- Man Made Monsters
- Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children, Book 1
- Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea, Book 1
- The Corpse Queen
- The Dead House
- Evil Librarian
- The Girl from the Well
- Gris Grimly's Frankenstein
- House of Furies, Book 1
- Lycanthropy and Other Chronic Illnesses
- The Madman's Daughter
- The Raven's Tale
- She Is a Haunting
- There's Someone Inside Your House
- This Poison Heart, Book 1
- This Wicked Fate: This Poison Heart, Book 2
- What the Dead Want
- The Weight of Blood
- Wilder Girls
- Anna Dressed in Blood
- The Coldest Girl in Coldtown
- The Sacrifice
- Not Good for Maidens
- White Smoke