So, I realize that this is slightly late for a post recommending creepy books for October – being that it already is October – but it’s still spooky month, so I thought I could get away with it!
Plus, these are definitely some darker novels – some of them are straight up horror books – so I thought that I’d post this anyway, even though Halloween is only a week and a half away now. So here ya go!
Another by Yukito Ayatsuji
Length: 496 pages
Publication Date: October 28, 2014
Publisher: Yen On
Blurb: In the spring of 1998, Koichi Sakakibara transfers to Yomiyama North Middle School. In class, he develops a sense of unease as he notices that the people around him act like they’re walking on eggshells, and students and teachers alike seem frightened. As a chain of horrific deaths begin to unfold around him, he comes to discover that he has been placed in the cursed Class 3 in which the student body head count is always one more than expected. Class 3 is haunted by a vengeful spirit responsible for gruesome deaths in an effort to satisfy its spite. To stop the vicious cycle gripping his new school, Koichi decides to get to the bottom of the curse, but is he prepared for the horror that lies ahead…?
Brief Review: Look, I know all the weeb alarms are going off cuz I put this one first, but I only did it because I really, really like it, and I want to get more eyes on it. (Actually, I really like all of these books – but we’re not talking about them right now!) I will warn you, some of this book gets a little graphic, so if you can’t handle reading about some gore, you might want to steer clear of this one. Also, it’s already been adapted – as a manga and an anime – so if you can’t trust my word yet, trust the word of the thousands of people that made it popular enough to get an adaptation.
This Monstrous Thing by Mackenzie Lee
Length: 400 pages
Publication Date: May 16, 2017
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books; Reprint Edition
Blurb: In an alternative fantasy world where some men are made from clockwork parts and carriages are steam powered, Alasdair Finch, a young mechanic, does the unthinkable after his brother dies: he uses clockwork pieces to bring Oliver back from the dead.
But the resurrection does not go as planned and Oliver returns more monster than man. Even worse, the novel Frankenstein is published and the townsfolk are determined to find the real-life doctor and his monster. With few places to turn to for help, the dangers may ultimately bring the brothers together – or ruin them forever.
Brief Review: In some ways, this one might just be my favorite on the list. (In some ways!) It was a really fast-paced read for me – I powered through it in like three hours one evening – and it pretty much has great everything. Great plot, great writing, great characters – it’s got the works people! Lee just has a way with words. (In this book at least. I haven’t actually read any of her other novels, but they have excellent reviews, so take that as you will.) It’s a brilliant Frankenstein retelling, and there are a few surprisingly real people characterized her. (Shhh, no spoilers!)
How to Hang a Witch by Adriana Mather
Series: How to Hang a Witch
Length: 368 pages
Date Published: July 26, 2016
Publisher: Knopf Books
Blurb: Salem, Massachusetts is the site of the infamous witch trials and the new home of Samantha Mather. Recently transplanted from New York City, Sam and her step-mother are not exactly welcomed with open arms. Sam is a descendent of Cotton Mather, one of the men responsible for those trials – and almost immediately, she becomes the enemy of a group of girls who call themselves the Descendents. And guess who their ancestors were?
If dealing with that wasn’t enough, Sam comes face-to-face with a real, live (well, technically dead) ghost. A handsome, angry ghost who wants Sam to stop touching his stuff. But soon Sam discovers she is at the center of a centuries-old curse affecting anyone with ties to the trials. Sam must come to terms with the ghost and find a way to work with the Descendents to stop a deadly cycle that has been going on since the first accused witch was hanged. If any town should have learned its lesson, it’s Salem. But history may be about to repeat itself.
Brief Review: Out of all the recs on this list, I must confess that this one may be my least favorite. Don’t get me wrong – I enjoyed it quite a bit! But it just didn’t really click with me that well. And hey, if the summary looked great to you, then feel free to give this one a shot! It also has a sequel as well, if you really, really like it. It’s been compared to Mean Girls, so if you enjoyed that movie and YA is your thing, definitely look it up.
Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl
Series: Caster Chronicles
Length: 577 pages
Publication Date: November 11, 2009
Blurb: Little Brown; 1st Edition
Synopsis: Lena Duchannes is unlike anyone the small Southern town of Gatlin has ever seen, and she’s struggling to conceal her power, and a curse that has haunted her family for generations. But even within the overgrown gardens, murky swamps, and crumbling graveyards of the forgotten South, a secret cannot stay hidden forever.
Ethan Wate, who has been counting the months until he can escape from Gatlin, is haunted by dreams of a beautiful girl he has never met. When Lena moves into the town’s oldest and most infamous plantation, Ethan is inexplicably drawn to her and determined to uncover the connection between them.
In a town with no surprises, one secret could change everything.
Brief Review: So, um, I put one of the paranormal romance books that spawned from the Twilight craze on this list. Yeah…
I have a confession: I don’t know if this book (or its sequels) still hold up. I haven’t read this since the early 2010s. But it was one of my guilty pleasures back then, and I actually reread it a few times, and I don’t do that often. I gotta really like a book. And hey, it spawned three sequels and a sequel series, as well as a movie. A crappy movie, but a movie nonetheless. So that’s gotta count for something, right?
The Replacement by Brenna Yovanoff
Length: 368 pages
Publication Date: January 2, 2011
Blurb: Mackie Doyle is The Replacement – left in the crib of a human baby sixteen years ago. He had been raised among us. But he is not one of us. Now, he must face the dark creatures of the slag heaps from which he came and find his rightful place – in our world or theirs.
Brief Review: So, this is a minimalist summary compared to the others, huh? But, sometimes short and succinct is the way to go, cuz this little plot synopsis kind of tells you all you need to know. This is a fun and dark little read that has an interesting portrayal of a certain creature that has taken over YA in the last several years. (I probably don’t need to tell you what it is – you totally already know, lol.) Anyway, if this looks interesting to you, go on and give it a shot.
The Other by Thomas Tryon
Length: 272 pages
Date Published: October 2, 2012
Publisher: NYRB Classics; Main Edition
Blurb: Holland and Niles Perry are identical thirteen-year-old twins. They are close, close enough, almost, to read each others thoughts, but they couldn’t be more different. Holland is bold and mischievous, a bad influence, while Niles is kind and eager to please, the sort of boy who makes parents proud. The Perrys live in the bucolic New England town their family settled centuries ago, and as it happens, the extended clan has gathered at the ancestral farm this summer to mourn the death of the twins’ father in a most unfortunate accident. Mrs. Perry still hasn’t recovered from the shock of her husband’s most gruesome end and stays sequestered in her room, leaving her sons to roam free. As the summer goes on though, and Holland’s pranks become increasingly sinister, Niles finds he can no longer make excuses for his brother’s actions.
Brief Review: So, this book… I absolutely adore this book! It’s a bit of an oldie, compared to the rest of the recs on this list, but it deserves it as much as the rest; perhaps more-so. Thomas Tryon is an acclaimed author of the 20th century and has written for several genres, including horror, contemporary fiction, fantasy, and even western. This book haunted my summer several years ago, and it could haunt your October this year if you give it a try. The prose is awesome, the characters well-developed, and the plot twists are juicy and unexpected.
I would also be remiss if I didn’t recommend Tryon’s other well-known work Harvest Home, even as just an honerable mention. This is the novel that inspired Stephen King’s Children of the Corn, and I don’t believe it needs any other introduction than that! I highly recommend you check that one out as well – it’s just as good, if not even better than The Other.
Congratulations! You’ve made it to the end of this very long blog post. Here’s a virtual cookie! These are all the book recommendations I’ve got for you today. Toon in next time for a book review, probably.
Anyway, thank you so much for reading and have a wonderful day/night!