Spooky season is still going strong, so here are a handful of new Young Adult horror reads! My four picks include a a creepy town with a sinister secret, a paranormal historical fiction, a boarding school with a monster that lurks in the surrounding woods, and a ballerina making a deal with a river of blood,
Monstrous by Jessica Lewis
Don’t go outside past dark. Come straight home after church. And above all–never, ever, go into Red Wood.
These are the rules Latavia’s aunt gives her when Latavia arrives in Sanctum, Alabama, for the summer. Though, weird as they are, living in Sanctum does have its pros. Mainly, the cute girl who works at the local ice cream shop.
But Sanctum is turning out to be as strange as the rules–and the longer Latavia’s in town, the more suspicious she is that the people there are hiding something, and the more clear it is that she’s an outsider. Everyone’s nice enough, but they seem determined to prove everything is normal. But it’s not. Because there’s something in Red Wood that the townspeople are hiding. And if Latavia doesn’t follow her aunt’s rules, she might not be able to leave Sanctum. Ever…
The Spirit Bares its Teeth by Andrew Joseph White
Mors vincit omnia. Death conquers all. London, 1883. The veil between the living and dead has thinned. Violet-eyed mediums commune with spirits under the watchful eye of the Royal Speaker Society, and sixteen-year-old trans, autistic Silas Bell would rather rip out his violet eyes than become an obedient Speaker Wife. After a failed attempt to escape an arranged marriage, Silas is diagnosed with veil sickness—a mysterious disease sending violet-eyed women into madness—and shipped away to Braxton’s Finishing School and Sanitorium.
When the ghosts of missing students start begging Silas for help, he decides to reach into Braxton’s innards and expose its guts to the world—so long as the school doesn’t break him first.
The Forest Demands its Due by Kosoko Jackson
Regent Academy has a long and storied history in Winslow, Vermont, as does the forest that surrounds it. The school is known for molding teens into leaders, but its history is far more nefarious.
Seventeen-year-old Douglas Jones wants nothing to do with Regent’s king-making; he’s just trying to survive. But then a student is murdered and, for some reason, by the next day no one remembers him having ever existed, except for Douglas and the groundskeeper’s son, Everett Everley. In his determination to uncover the truth, Douglas awakens a horror hidden within the forest, unearthing secrets that have been buried for centuries. A vengeful creature wants blood as payment for a debt more than 300 years in the making–or it will swallow all of Winslow in darkness.
And for the first time in his life, Douglas might have a chance to grasp the one thing he’s always felt was missing: power. But if he’s not careful, he will find out that power has a tendency to corrupt absolutely everything.
I Feed her to the Beast and the Beast is Me by Jamison Shea
Laure Mesny is a perfectionist with an axe to grind. Despite being constantly overlooked in the elite and cutthroat world of the Parisian ballet, she will do anything to prove that a Black girl can take center stage. To level the playing field, Laure ventures deep into the depths of the Catacombs and strikes a deal with a pulsating river of blood. The primordial power Laure gains promises influence and adoration, everything she’s dreamed of and worked toward. With retribution on her mind, she surpasses her bitter and privileged peers, leaving broken bodies behind her on her climb to stardom. But even as undeniable as she is, Laure is not the only monster around. And her vicious desires make her a perfect target for slaughter.
As she descends into madness and the mystifying underworld beneath her, she is faced with the ultimate choice: continue to break herself for scraps of validation or succumb to the darkness that wants her exactly as she is—monstrous heart and all. That is, if the god-killer doesn’t catch her first.