Spooky, Bone-Chilling Tales for Middle Graders & Young Adults

By Ruth Guerrier-Pierre, Supervising Librarian, Youth Services
October 19, 2020
Kips Bay Library

Spooky season has arrived. Turn off your lights, turn on your flashlights  and  be prepared to be spooked by these bone-chilling tales. The books below—some old and some new—are also available as e-books and/or e-audiobooks. Take a read or a listen, if you dare....

sleepy Hollow

The nightmare, with her whole ninefold. NYPL Digital Collections, Image ID: 1703683

Middle Grade Fiction

Bone Jack

Bone Jackby Sara Crowe

Ash Tyler hopes to make his psychologically scarred father proud by training for his town's Stag Chase, but when he meets the mysterious Bone Jack, dark energies take root and the world as he knows it is upended.


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City of Ghosts by Victoria Schwab

Cass and her personal ghost companion, Jacob, are about to find out that a city of old ghosts can be a very dangerous place indeed.

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Doll Bones by Holly Black

Zach, Alice, and Poppy, friends from a Pennsylvania middle school who have long enjoyed acting out imaginary adventures with dolls and action figures, embark on a real-life quest to Ohio to bury a doll made from the ashes of a dead girl.

ghost squad

Ghost Squad  by Claribel  Oregta 

Casting a spell that accidentally awakens malicious spirits that wreak havoc throughout St. Augustine, Lucely and Syd team up with the latter’s grandmother and tabby cat to break the curse and save Lucely’s firefly spirits.

The Girl and The Ghost

 The Girl and The Ghost by Hanna Alkaf

Inspired by a Malaysian folktale, this book follows the story of a witch’s granddaughter who receives the gift of a ghost servant from her grandmother before discovering its dark, all-consuming nature.

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The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

Nobody Owens is a normal boy, except that he has been raised by ghosts and other denizens of the graveyard.

The House of Die Drear

The House of Dies Drearby Virginia Hamilton 

A Black family tries to unravel the secrets of their new home which was once a stop on the Underground Railroad.


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The Jumbies by Tracey Baptiste 

Eleven-year-old Corinne must call on her courage and an ancient magic to stop an evil spirit and save her island home.

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The Legend of Sleepy Hollow  by Irving Washington

A superstitious schoolmaster in love with a wealthy farmer's daughter, has a terrifying encounter with a headless horseman.

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The Nest  by Kenneth Oppel

When wasps come to Steve in a dream offering to fix his sick baby brother, he thinks all he has to do is say yes. But yes may not mean what Steve thinks it means.

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The Night Gardener by Jonathan Auxier

Irish orphans Molly, fourteen, and Kip, ten, travel to England to work as servants in a crumbling manor house where nothing is quite what it seems to be, and soon the siblings are confronted by a mysterious stranger and secrets of the cursed house.


Sauerkaut by Kelly Jones 

 To earn money for the parts, HD has promised to clean out his uncle's basement. Simple enough—until a voice starts talking to him about cabbage. Funny thing—it seems that the ghost of his great-great-grandmother is haunting a dusty old pickling crock.

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The Screaming Staircase by Jonathan Stroud 

Follows three young operatives of a Psychic Detection Agency as they battle an epidemic of ghosts in London.


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Scream and Scream Again! Spooky Stories from Mystery Writers of America by R.L. Stine 

Scream and Scream Again! is full of twists and turns, dark corners, and devilish revenge. Collected in conjunction with the Mystery Writers of America, this set includes works from New York Times bestselling authors telling tales of wicked ice-cream trucks, time-travelling heroes, witches and warlocks, and of course, haunted houses.

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Serafina and the Black Cloak by Robert Beatty

In order to save the children of Biltmore, Serafina must seek the answers that will unlock the puzzle of her past.

Skeleton Man

Skeleton  Manby Joseph Bruchac 

After her parents disappear and she is turned over to the care of a strange "great-uncle," Molly must rely on her dreams about an old Mohawk story for her safety and maybe even for her life.


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The Skull of Truth by Bruce Coville

Charlie, a sixth-grader with a compulsion to tell lies, acquires a mysterious skull that forces its owner to tell only the truth, causing some awkward moments before he understands its power.

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Small Spaces   by  Katherine Arden

Finding solace in books in the wake of a tragic loss, 11-year-old Ollie rescues a book from being destroyed and discovers within its pages the chilling story of a girl who made a fateful bargain with a sinister specter. 

The Spirit Hunters

The Spirit Hunters: The Island of Monters by Ellen Oh

Harper Raine faces new challenges ahead when her parents take the whole family to a remote tropical island for vacation. As Harper starts to have visions of the resort's history of disappearances and discovers more about the island's dark and fabled past, she must use her newly acquired spirit hunting talents to save everyone on the island from murderous spirits on the attack.


Young Adult 

with born

Witch Born by  Nicholas Bowling

Two queens, two religions, two visions for the future of the nation. Fleeing to London with a witch hunter on her trail, Alyce discovers her own dark magic and lands herself embroiled in the struggle. 

Revenge of The Witch

Revenge of The Witch by Jospeh Delaney 

Young Tom, the seventh son of a seventh son, starts work as an apprentice for the village spook, whose job is to protect ordinary folk from "ghouls, boggarts, and all manner of wicked beasties."

Tales of the Peculiar

Tales of the Peculiar  by Ransom Riggs 

A lavishly illustrated edition of the fantastical book featured in the best-selling Miss Peregrine series includes unusual fairy tales about wealthy cannibals, a fork-tongued princess, the origins of the first ymbryne, and more.

Sawkill girls

Sawkill Girls by Claire Legrand 

After girls mysteriously disappear on the island of Sawkill Rock, three unlikely friends come together to destroy the Collector, a monster from another world who grows stronger with each kill.

The Outliers

The Outliers  by Kimberly McCreight 

When Wylie's drama-prone friend Cassie appeals to her for help through a text message followed by a series of cryptic clues regarding her whereabouts, Wylie realizes that her friend is in far more serious trouble than she realized as she ventures deep into the Maine woods to uncover deadly secrets. 


The Hazel Wood

The Hazel Wood  by Melissa Albert 

Seventeen-year-old Alice and her mother have spent most of Alice's life on the road, always a step ahead of the uncanny bad luck biting at their heels. But when Alice's grandmother, the reclusive author of a cult-classic book of pitch-dark fairy tales, dies alone on her estate, the Hazel Wood, Alice learns how bad her luck can really get.

The raven's tale

The Raven's Taleby Cat Winters 

Seventeen-year-old Edgar Poe's plans to escape his foster family, begin classes at the prestigious new university, and marry his beloved Elmira Royster go awry when a macabre Muse appears with a request.

Have trouble reading standard print? Many of these titles are available in formats for patrons with print disabilities.

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Summaries provided via NYPL’s catalog, which draws from multiple sources. Click through to each book’s title for more.