Ginger Nuts of Horror
With Christmas fast approaching and the dread of all that Christmas shopping ahead of you, why don't you let Ginger Nuts of Horror take some of the pressure of you? With our four part guide to purchase horror books suitable for your precious ones.
Our Festive 50 is designed as a buying guide for parents who would love to introduce their younglings to the horror genre, but who might be a little concerned with exposing them to something that might distress them too much. The books featured here have all been vetted and deemed suitable for teenage readers.
And as a special treat for you stressed out parents there is a handy click to purchase from Amazon.com and Amazon UK feature at the end of each of these articles.
Another rollercoaster of a tale from one of the shining lights of UK YA horror. Set in a town where hauntings are almost seen as common place a couple of teenagers stumble on a mystery surrounding the Ghost Machine, a dangerous contraption which can pull the dead back into the land of the living. It doesn’t rely upon gore and as the ghosts appear the author really ramps up the atmosphere and the battle to save the town from the evil Necromancers is on. Go kids go! Hussey continues to reinvent and explore big themes from ‘horror past’ and repackage them in very readable teen novels for today which I always enjoy recommending.
I really adored this highly original and inventive debut novel and I guess you could argue it’s not strictly horror, but it other ways it kind of is…. I like the blurriness of it all…. Towards the end of October, Cara’s family seem to be cursed for a month or so. They call it the ‘accident season’ and whatever they do they fall over, break bones, horrible things happen, no matter what they do to protect themselves. They presume themselves to be cursed, but why? It’s quite funny also, as the family go to extraordinary lengths to protect themselves, but to no avail!I’m really looking forward to seeing what this author comes up with next.
I really like the jib of this author…. Nobody knows much about him, except that ‘Tom Hoyle’ might be a pseudo name for a school Headmaster! It’s a cool story if it’s true…. True or not, Adam is the target of a cult that believes boys born close to midnight on 31st December 1999, Millennium night, must die before the end of their thirteenth year so that some dastardly prophecy will come true. “Spiders” is the second book in the series, I really hope he is a Headmaster, that would be very neat.
This novel had a pretty neat premise: Imagine if one day, without warning, the entire human race turns against YOU. Every single person you meet becomes a bloodthirsty, mindless savage, hell-bent on killing you - and only you. And here begins ‘The Fury’ where a group of teenagers are targeted by this invisible force that turns groups of people against each other. This clever twist on the zombie novel (no zombies in sight…) really plays on primeval fears as often it’s your nearest and dearest which wants you dead. This 500 page beast really deserves to be better known. I also really dug the author’s great supernatural prison series “Furnace” although this book is aimed at a slightly older audience.
Published in 2008 and the author’s only novel to date is a terrific horror thriller in which two pre-teens, who are in the early stages of their friendship, are effectively tricked and kidnapped ending up in a big deserter house which would be perfect for any slasher film. Without being explicit, this terrific 180 page short read pulls no punches and spells it out what the creeps have in store for the kids. The interaction between the two is brilliant, one holds it together and the other collapses under the stress. Highly recommended, realistic, and stuff like this really does happen. Highly recommended. Savita come back YA horror needs you!
Really tasty horror thriller from an author who also featured in my previous ‘Top 50’ and because he’s not exactly prolific I always enjoy him bringing out a new novel. This is a juicily gruesome Canadian tale in a remote town where an old legend of an ancient creature from Native American folklore is perhaps more than a story when trouble hits the local teenagers.
This highly prolific writer can turn his hand to just about anything and is best known for the Charlie Parker series and his own brand of detective, thriller and horror novels. However, as well as teen science fiction, I would recommend this great supernatural horror trilogy which begins with “The Gates” in which a comedy of errors leads to a gate to hell opening and poor old Samuel (and his pet dog) is just the kid to close it. Deserves to be much better known in the YA horror world.
Utterly chilling novel set in the underground fear of a collapsed tunnel and the threat of rising water. This claustrophobic page-turner will put you off pot-holing for life as you’re never quite sure whether something is in the tunnels with this squabbling bunch of teens who have to get along to get about or not. Ok, it’s not ‘The Descent’ but a good romp for a 11-13 year old from an author who has a substantial back catalogue of great novels, “Roy’s Baby” being another of my favourites and is a terrific page-turner thriller.
Grant has written a massive, and I mean MASSIVE amount of novels and is probably best known for the six book “Gone” series which is more SF than horror and “BZRK” which fuses action with SF. I’ve got a soft spot for this rather odd novel and sequel in which a supernatural being known as the ‘Messenger of Fear’ punishes those who act maliciously by balancing out the injustice done via a game, and if they lose they must pay by enduring their worst fear as their penance and if they win go on with their lives.
Thrilling and enticing tale of a seventh son of a seventh son who is apprenticed to an exorcist (the Spook of the title), who funnily enough, keeps losing his trainees….. Great fusion of fantasy, horror and adventure which was turned into a pretty horrible film called “The Seventh Son” which really botched a great book lifting various bits from the first couple of novels in the series. This thirteen book series just went on too long, but the first three or four were terrific, and the world the author creatures full of creatures such as boggarts is incredibly well drawn.
I really love this guy as he can expertly move around the genres and age groups and is best known as a highly distinguished crime novelist, of which my favourite is the absolutely superb “Fifty Grand”. “Deviant” is most definitely YA though and blends his trademark mystery style with clever crossovers into horror with a troubled teenager biting off more than he can chew when he is sent to an experimental school in Colorado where a killer awaits and a tale which seamlessly blends horror and thriller.
This is an odd but funny blend of teen angst, thriller, horror mixed with Bible prophecy. Vivian lives in an America which is dominated by the sinister Church of America who insist The Rapture is just around the corner. Before long her parents disappear, some friends and others she know and the media claim The Rapture has really happened…. I really cannot imagine this series went down well in the USA, but it really made me chuckle and Vivian really was a spunky, if reluctant, heroine. The series is still ongoing. Go Vivian go!
This is both a decidedly creepy and odd novel from one of the UK’s finest teen writers which is a clever play on our modern obsession with plastic surgery. It mixes the lives of a famous rock star who has had so much plastic surgery (Michael Jackson?) his face is disintegrating with a teenage girl who is invited to stay in the star’s mansion (Neverland Ranch?) who has her own issues with cosmetic surgery and other underlying problems. Throw in a ghost with no face, lots of atmosphere and some pretty challenging themes and you have an excellent novel which refuses to play by the rules and is very difficult to categorise.
Two teenagers are cursed after breaking into an old lady’s house. They play a dare type game where you hover above the face (nose to nose) of the sleeping person who the house belongs to. Caz acquires a bracelet during one of these dares which begins to make her feel different. Not strictly a horror novel, but both clever and inventive, as you would expect from the late Graham Joyce who wrote several great books for teens.
Coldtown exists to keep vampire like creatures and infected humans caged inside a walled city in which life is very cheap and very, very dangerous. The problem is once you get stuck in a Coldtown you can never leave, or will end up dead before you get the chance to. Black is most famous for the “Spiderwick Chronicles” and has been pretty prolific in recent years with urban fantasy which crosses with horror, but this is much more fun as it is aimed at older teen readers.
High quality ghost story based on a ‘Bloody Mary’ dare that goes too far after some kids say ‘Bloody Mary’ five times in front of a mirror. Sure, this novel nicks loads from various horror films like ‘Candy Man’ but I really loved the highly-atmospheric setting, a brooding dilapidated boarding school. Soon the first message appears on a bathroom mirror “five days”…. Dawson is one of the UK’s top teen writers and effortlessly moves between teen reads and horror fiction in which “Under My Skin” is also recommended, a quirky horror comedy about a cursed tattoo which messes with the personality with a teenage girl.
This lovely ghost story is for those of you who like something gentler and silkier in your supernatural fiction, perfect for Christmas perhaps? Helen is a ghost who has been haunting a school for a long 130 years and early in the novel realises a pupil in her latest class can see her. This has never happened before and she soon realizes another ghost is inhabiting the body of a human boy. This is a really nice, sexy in parts, supernatural tale which is aimed at the girl audience and is really worth your time. A sequel followed in 2013, a whole eight years after the 2005 debut.
Ever wondered what books inspired some of the authors on this list? We have that covered as well, with our "The Books of Our Childhood" feature