Ginger Nuts of Horror
And so we come to the final part of Tony Jones' fascinating look at his top fifty young adult horror books. I hope you have had as much fun reading this as we have. If you have any comments about the books featured here, or any books that we have missed off the list, please leave a comment below. And if you enjoyed this rundown please share the article tagging your favourite author.
Lisa McMann - Wake Trilogy
Janie has the ability to see other people’s dreams. This isn’t as much fun as it sounds as soon she realizes she is being stalked by a being from a nightmare. It’s a pretty nasty curse (and is in no way a gift) to have, as when someone falls asleep close to Janie, like on a bus or train, the poor girl is pulled into their dream, like it or not. Because of this poor old Janie ends up struggling to cope with life in school in this series which blends drama and the supernatural really well. McMann is pretty prolific and has had some successful supernatural themed novels in the USA.
Derek Landy - Demon Road Trilogy
Sixteen year old Amber has to go on the run when she
uncovers a horrible secret: her parents are monsters which are hundreds of years old and to prolong their own lives will eat her on her next birthday. This has the same sort of pace and style as the author’s mega selling “Skullduggery Pleasant” series.
Courtney Summers - This Is Not a Test
A teenage girl who has a violent father wakes up to a zombie holocaust. In this great teen read as she and five friends battle for survival in their school as the zombie hordes attack. This was very much a character driven novel that was very moving and raw with emotion as they struggled for survival. It didn’t sensationalise anything and it took a while before I realized I was reading a horror novel, never mind a zombie novel, which I thought was pretty clever.
Sarah Brennan - Demon’s Lexicon Trilogy
A great series which deserves to be much better known than it is, is a terrific fusion of urban fantasy, horror and demon hunting. The author has recently been co-writing with Cassandra Claire of Mortal Instruments fame.
Michelle Harrison - Unrest
After a car-crash a teenager begins to have out of body experiences, suffers from sleep paralysis and has problems with insomnia. He is concerned that his near death experience in the crash has brought entities from beyond the grave to his bedside which are now stalking and surrounding his paralyzed body when he sleeps. A highly entertaining paranormal thriller.
Edward Hogan - Daylight Saving
Very clever and atmospheric ghost story about a fat kid spending time with his dad in a holiday camp, it’s not often you’ll read a ghost story almost set exclusively during the day, but this works very well. Hogan is an author to watch and I also enjoyed his supernatural thriller “Messengers”.
Neal Shusterman - Everlost (Skinjacker Trilogy)
Everlost is the place where people who suffer violent deaths are sent before they completely severe their connection with our world, it is a type of Purgatory and a place that is very dangerous with its own set of rules. This is a gripping horror fantasy which explores questions of life, death, and what just might lie in between from a fantastic and versatile author. His dystopian novel “Unwind” is also highly recommended and I enjoy keeping an eye on his work.
Isaac Marion - Warm Bodies
Odd novel seen from the point of view of a zombie who can both feel and think and explains his humdrum existence as he wanders aimlessly around an airport. When these zombies chow down on brains they have flashes into the lives of those they are eating and a reminder of life as human. Sure that’s lifted from lots of other zombie films, but it’s written with a very engaging style. It was originally sold as an adult novel, but wisely repackaged as a YA read when the decent film version came out.
Bill Hussey - Witchfinder Series
Jake Harker does his own thing, has few friends and loves comic horror. That is until horror becomes real and the Pale Man and his demon Mr Pinch stop Jake on a dark, lonely road and his previously humdrum life will never be the same again. Tremendous series for young teens looking for quality horror. Bill Hussey is always one of my favourite tips for budding horror fans.
Cliff McNish - The Hunting Ground
Nobody does haunted house stories better than McNish and this chilling tale set in a decrepit and atmospheric mansion and featuring vulnerable children who are prey to pretty nasty spirits from the world of the dead. More great stuff from one of the genre’s greats as he takes us on a scary trip where even the walls and paintings seem alive.
Charlie Higson - The Enemy Series
Huge selling teen series in which everyone over the age of fourteen has succumbed to a deadly zombie virus and now the kids must keep themselves alive by hiding in empty shops in central London, adopting a gang life style. Bring on The Waitrose Gang, The Morrison Gang and the battle across London. But beware what lurks in London Zoo! A top quality series, which just went on a bit too long.
Dave Shelton – Thirteen Chairs
More of a children’s than YA read, but an expertly rafted collection of 13 ghost stories intertwined together by a little boy dared to go into a ‘haunted’ house and finds himself in a room with twelve strangers and an empty chair waiting for him. All with a story to tell.
Jeyn Roberts - Dark Inside Trilogy
Great teen series in which a huge earthquake releases a poisonous gas which turns vast numbers of the population into uncontrollable killers. ‘Inner rage’ is released from the cracks and many people succumb and turn to horrible violence as they become complete nutters. For those who can the battle for their souls has just begun as anarchy and chaos become common bedfellows.
Kenneth Oppel – A Dark Endeavour
One of my favourite ‘when they were young type books’, this one tells the story of the 16 year old Victor Frankenstein. Oppel is a very talented and versatile Canadian writer who expertly moves amongst different genres. I’m a big fan of his recent novel “The Nest” which also cleverly stretches genre boundaries.
So there you have our top 50 horror books suitable for young adults and kids. If you have enjoyed this list please consider sharing the post on your social media, tagging your favourite authors, and clicking the Facebook and Twitter buttons below. Doing this helps to support not just this site, but the authors featured here.