It seems as though all of a sudden kids have way more options for horror literature. This is excellent news. Gone are the days of R.L. Stine (not really; still super popular and fun) and Mary Downing Hahn (also not really; still creepy)! Over the past few years we’ve added some genuinely creepy titles to our juvenile fiction shelves. If you have a middle schooler looking to break into horror here a few to suggest:
The Jumbies by Tracey Baptiste
Follow Corinne Le Mer and her friends as they fight legends of Caribbean folklore like the douen or the soucoyant. The Jumbies is fast paced and exciting and introduced me to a whole new group of mythical creatures. There are now two more in the series!
Small Spaces by Katharine Arden
This is an unsettling story about Ollie, an eleven year old who falls into a battle for her life and the life of her friends after stumbling upon a book full of terror that has somehow has connections to the farm she finds herself visiting on a field trip the next day. Bonus, this has also become a series!
Spirit Hunters by Ellen Oh
Spirit Hunters is a classic haunted house tale but also has a possession! Can Harper solve the mystery of who is haunting her beloved little brother and save him from its clutch? This book is as much about cultural identity as it is ghosts and it blends the two themes seamlessly. Also, I just found out there is a second Spirit Hunters. Another series!
Other titles to try:
Scary Stories for Young Foxes by Christian McKay Heidicker
Coraline by Neil Gaiman
City of Ghosts by Victoria Schwab
The Nest by Kenneth Oppel
No Place for Monsters by Kory Merritt