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Stuff for the Teen Age, Children's Literature @ NYPL

Dark, Creepy, Scary, Spooky Crossover Books


One of the most common questions we get from our young readers is "Where are your scary books?" Unfortunately, books for children and teens that will keep readers on the edge of their seats are usually mixed in with the rest of the fiction section, so they can be a little tricky to find… until now.

Here is a list of twenty-five great crossover books (that is, for older children and younger teens) about lots of scary subjects. Sure, there will be plenty of vampires, ghosts, and even zombies. But there will also be nightmares, mysterious phone calls, dark whispers, and other things that will give you goosebumps and make your hair stand on end!

You'll be able to find some of these books in our children's collections (CR), some in our young adult collections (YA), and some in both collections (CR & YA).

Wolf Rider by Avi is the story of a boy named Andy who gets a phone call that changes his life. The person on the other end of the line confesses that he's just killed someone, and Andy has no idea what to do. But he never imagines that when he asks his friends and family for help, that no one will believe him. (CR & YA)

iDrakula by Bekka Black takes the classic Dracula novel by Bram Stoker and brings it into our century by reimagining the story and retelling it through text messages, emails, websites, and photos. (YA)

Chronicles of Vladimir Tod: Eighth Grade Bites by Heather Brewer begins a series of books about a boy who is trying his best to act like a normal middle school student, even though he's half vampire and half human. His major challenges include learning how to use his powers, keeping his appetite under control, and getting Meredith to notice him. (YA)

Anya's Ghost by Vera Brosgol is a graphic novel about a girl who has trouble fitting in and making friends. But then one day she falls down a well, finds a skeleton, and meets the ghost of a girl who changes her life. (YA)

Notes From a Totally Lame Vampire: Because the Undead Have Feelings Too! by Tim Collins is a great book to share with fans of Jeff Kinney's Diary of a Wimpy Kid series, because it has a very similar cartoony look and feel. This book is written as a diary by a boy named Nigel who is almost 100 years old but who will always look and sound fifteen. Nigel's diary is mostly humorous, but there are some gruesome elements, too. (CR)

The Last Apprentice: Revenge of the Witch by Joseph Delaney is the story of Thomas Ward, the seventh son of a seventh son. This means that he is eligible to be chosen as the Spook's apprentice, where he will learn to protect farms and villages from ghouls, witches, ghosts, and other wicked things. (CR & YA)

Scream Street: Fang of the Vampire by Tommy Donbavand is about a boy named Luke who happens to be a werewolf. When he and his family move to Scream Street, their neighbors include vampires, poltergeists, zombies, mummies, and other creepy creatures. (CR)

A Tale Dark and Grimm by Adam Gidwitz is a great read for fans of scary books as well as fans of fairy tales. The hilarious narrator escorts you through different fairy tales, each more gruesome and surprising than the last. And by the end of this book, you'll see Hansel and Gretel in a whole new light. (CR)

What Happened to Cass McBride? by Gail Giles tells the story of a girl who wakes up to discover that she's been buried alive. She doesn't know where she is, what time it is, or what day it is. But most importantly, she doesn't know WHY someone would do this to her. (YA)

Lovecraft Middle School: Professor Gargoyle by Charles Gilman is an excellent choice for fans of scary books, especially if you enjoy being scared by things like hideous monsters, ancient evil, and rats. Lots and LOTS of rats. (CR)

Coraline by Neil Gaiman is one of my favorite scary stories of all time. It is dark, and deliberate, and poetic, and chilling. A girl named Coraline discovers a doorway to a world where everything seems just like it is at home … but not quite. She also learns that if something seems too good to be true, it probably is. If you enjoy this story, you should know that this excellent book was also made into a really good movie! (CR & YA)

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman blurs the line between reality and fantasy. A little boy's parents are murdered, but before the murderer can find him the boy crawls out of his crib and finds his way into a nearby graveyard. There he finds the ghosts who will take care of him, become his new family, and name him "Nobody." (CR & YA)

Closed For the Season: A Mystery Story by Mary Downing Hahn tells the story of a boy named Logan and his new friend Arthur who try to solve a cold case -- the mystery of someone who was murdered in Logan's house three years earlier. (CR)

Legend of the Ghost Dog by Elizabeth Cody Kimmel is the story of a girl named Tee who goes with her father and brother to the end of the earth (also known as Nome, Alaska). When Tee goes exploring in the woods she feels herself being observed by something that she can't quite see, and soon she learns that there's a local legend about a ghostly creature named Shadow. (CR)

Rot & Ruin by Jonathan Maberry is on the one hand a zombie novel, but on the other hand an emotional rollercoaster of a story. It's the story of a boy named Benny Imura who survived a zombie apocalypse when he was just a baby. Now that he's fifteen it's time for him to get a job, which means leaving the safety of his town and learning from his older brother how to kill zombies for a living. (YA)

Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead kicks off a VERY popular series that tells a vampire story with all the drama of a soap opera. Our protagonist/hero is Rose, who is a Dhampir (vampire/human hybrid). She attends a secret boarding school called St. Vladimir's Academy where she trains to become a bodyguard to protect the Moroi (living, magic-using vampires) from the Strigoi (evil, undead vampires). (YA)

A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness is a hauntingly illustrated book that tells the story of a boy named Conor who keeps having the same nightmare over and over again. But then one night, he wakes up from that nightmare to hear a strange voice calling his name, and discovers that there's a monster waiting for him outside. (CR & YA)

Three Quarters Dead by Richard Peck is the story of a girl named Kerry who has no idea why she's suddenly befriended by three of the coolest and most popular girls in school. Little by little, she discovers that these girls are not exactly what they seem, and that they have an agenda of their own. (YA)

Dead City by James Ponti is about a girl named Molly who is following in her mother's footsteps. But since her mother was one of the most famous zombie hunters in history, those footsteps are pretty dangerous to follow. This adventure takes place all over New York City, from the sewers to the skyscrapers, and readers will get a kick out of all the New York locations and landmarks in this book. (CR)

Case File 13: Zombie Kid by J. Scott Savage begins the story of Nick, Carter, and Angelo, three boys who are obsessed with monsters. This book tells the first of their weird, hilarious, gruesome, and amazing stories. (CR)

Guys Read: Thriller edited by Jon Scieszka is a collection of suspenseful short stories featuring guys as protagonists. Some stories have supernatural themes while others feature real-life dramatic situations, but all of them are page-turners! (CR)

Zom-B by Darren Shan opens with a zombie outbreak that begins in an Irish village. Soon it begins to spread, putting more and more people at risk. When the zombies attack a high school, a group of teens try to fight back and escape with their brains intact. This novel is the start of what is expected to be a 12-book series. (YA)

The Boy Who Couldn't Die by William Sleator is about a boy who is obsessed with death after his best friend dies in a plane crash, so he pays money to have his soul taken away so that he can never die. But unfortunately, he never imagined that there was a downside to being immortal. (YA)

Strange Angels by Lili St. Crow features one of my favorite heroines EVER. Dru's father was always the one to fight ghosts, zombies, and other monsters and Dru took care of him when he came home. But when he is killed by one of those monsters, Dru has to use her own powers to take his place and seek revenge. (YA)

Skary Childrin and the Carousel of Sorrow by Katy Towell is about three peculiar girls who try to untangle a curse and discover why people in their town have been mysteriously disappearing. (CR)



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Scary books

Please put more scary books and even mores scarier.

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