Tuesday, August 7, 2007

What's your favorite teen horror novel?

I'm putting together a list of teen horror fiction for my library's website, for one of the "suggested reading" pages. My definition of horror (although of course it does overlap with fantasy and suspense) is that it must have a supernatural element that is integral to the story. If that element is removed, the story falls apart. Plus it has to be creepy. The ideal list would have a wide variety of creepy things, vampires, ghosts, haunted houses, werewolves, witches, curses, etc.

Does anyone have any not-to-be-missed favorites? Favorites that immediately came to my mind are Gaiman's Coraline, M.T. Anderson's Thirsty, Blood & Chocolate by Annette Curtis Klaus, The Dead Connection by Charlie Price, The Loch by Paul Zindel.

I'm thinking about the Twilight series, but are those horror enough? Maybe the first one. Also something by Vivian Vande Velde (any favorite picks there?), Joan Lowry Nixon, Scott Westerfeld, Neal Shusterman, and, possibly, A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray (but I'm afraid that is too far into fantasy. I just like it!).
Any input would be welcome. Thanks!


  1. I think "The Thief of Always" by Clive Barker fits that definition. It's been many years since I read it, so I've forgotten many things about the story, but I remember loving it!

  2. I was wondering myself if Twilight was considered horror. Of the two, I'd say New Moon (which has the werewolf/vampire thing going on) was more horror that Twilight which I would call paranormal romance.

    Great and Terrible Beauty I would not call horror. I'd call it historical fantasy.

    Goodness, there are a lot of sub-genres these days aren't there.

    What about William Sleator? Some of his stuff is pretty scary

  3. Ooh, Clive Barker - perfect, Nymeth! Thanks!

    Nicola - yes, I'm still kind of uncertain about Twilight - it's sort of a supernatural romance, in a way. And I think you're right about A Great and Terrible Beauty, oh well. I found a copy of Sleator's Hell Phone on the shelf - it looks promising. Thank you!

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  5. Oh my God! Nymeth, you stole Thief of Always out of my mouth...and I think you'll like my post later...strange coincidence. Coraline popped up in my head as well. What about John Bellairs' Figure in the Shadows? I don't know if that's too young for teens...

    I got a great looking book in the mail today by Peter Beagle called Tamsin. It's a young adult ghost story. Haven't read it yet, but it sounds great! Orson Scott Card's Treasure Box and Homebody could definitely be read by teens and are both creepy but aren't targeted for teens persay.

    That's all I can think of for now..I'm sure I'll come back later :p

  6. Thanks for your input, Chris! Yes, Bellairs are in the younger fiction section (but they certainly are wonderfully creepy, aren't they?). I will definitely check out the Beagle novel - a ghost story would be great. And also Orson Scott Card. I can't tell you how many reluctant teen boys I have conned into loving books with Ender's Game! Mwa-ha-ha! I'm sure his horror novels will be a hit. Please do come back if you think of anything else, and thank again for the suggestions!

  7. I would include the Twilight series in horror. Not because I really consider it horror, but when you've got vampires and werewolves and stuff, I think most would expect it to be classified in horror. Or basically, if I were looking for that type of thing, I'd look for it there. That make sense?

    A Great and Terrible Beauty, isn't really horror to me.

    Some other possible horror titles:

    - A Certain Slant of Light by Laura Whitcomb - It's about two ghosts who take over two teenagers' bodies and fall in love. It's classified as YA and it's kind of creepy.

    - L.J. Smith's Vampire Diaries - It's a series about vampires (obviously). Smith also wrote a series about teenage witches, but I don't know the title offhand.

    -Oh and Meg Cabot has a series called the Mediator series about a girl who can talk to the dead and help them cross over and stuff. It's YA. The first book is called, Shadowland.

    Oh and The Darkangel by Meredith Ann Pierce. It's like horror/fantasy about a girl who's taken captive by a cruel vampire who takes brides and steals their souls.

    -Prom Nights From Hell is an anthology of YA horror stories all with the theme of prom nights gone bad. It includes vampires, ghosts, grim reapers, zombies, etc.

    There are reviews of all the books I mentioned on my blog with the exception of L.J. Smith's series.

    Hope this helps!

  8. dance chica, you're the best! I'd forgotten all about those L. J. Smith books - I remember devouring them years ago! Those are great suggestions, and I will definitely be reading your reviews. I think I'm going to have a good list! :-)

  9. oh I loved Vampire Diaries - good suggestion Dance Chica!

    When I was growing up I found Christopher Pike books VERY creepy.

    Also a classic that I found scary when I read it, Bram Stoker's Dracula...

  10. Thanks, VA Gal - now that you mention it, I remember reminiscing about those Vampire Diaries books with you - you're the only I knew who'd ever read them. I'm checking into it, but I think I can only put books on the list that are classified in our catalog as YA. I really wanted to put Bradbury's Something Wicked this Way Comes, but it's in adult fiction. Hmph. But maybe they'll let me cross over a bit. And thanks for the Christopher Pike recommendation. Do you have a favorite one?

  11. It may not be quite what you're looking for, but I'd advocate Garth Nix's trilogy "Sabriel," "Lirael," and "Abhorsen." It's sort of an odd horror/fantasy mix, and absolute, positively amazing.

  12. Anything by Stephen King Freaks Me Out. I've only finished half of his I've started. Okay, Cujo and Misery weren't that bad. It's the evil, creepy, Satan thing that gets to me.

  13. Recently I've loved Verdigris Deep by Francis Hardinge. It's seriously creepy.and beautifully written.

  14. Ooh, I haven't seen that one. Thanks for the recommendation, valentina - I'll definitely check it out!

  15. bellezza - yes, Stephen King really gets under my skin, too. I read Salem's Lot in 6th or 7th grade (what was I thinking??), and there was one spooky scene that freaked me out for years afterwards!

    And heather - thanks for the Garth Nix recommendation - I hadn't thought of him. I read Sabriel years ago and can't quite remember it. One of these days I'll reread it and go on to the other two as well. Do you think they are spooky enough to be considered horror?

  16. um i have read twilight and i would say it is definately not horror. its romance! but one horror book i just read literally hours ago was 'The Devouring' by Simon Holt. It gave me chills. hope thats of help. also the 'Wicked Dead' series by Stefan Petrucha i have only read 'lurker' of this but it was really good.

  17. Thanks, Anonymous! It's going to be time to update my website list soon, and the more titles, the better. I will check them out. I love when a book gives chills. :-)


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