Stories to Haunt Your Socks Off, a haunting guest post by Britney
I love this time of year. The weather is starting to get chilly, everything smells like pumpkins and spiced apples, and my love of all things spooky is justified. I love horror stories. I like reading them, watching them, and hearing them. I like paranormal horror stories and thrillers that show how terrifying humans can be. I like zombie novels and ghost stories and anything that goes bump in the night. Halloween is one of my favorite times of the year because it feels like the line between reality and all the big What Ifs is at its thinnest.
One creepy genre that I love reading about are ghost stories. I grew up with a family that tried to out scare each other with ghost stories, which has made me always on the hunt for the next one. Some ghost stories aren’t necessarily scary—they can be touching and powerful in a sad, heartbreaking way—but they make for great Halloween (or any stormy night) reading.
Here are my top 5 ghost stories:
1. Scary Stories To Tell in the Dark by Alvin Schwartz
I LOVED reading the stories in this book when I was a kid. They were spooky and had me staying up late at night. I remember retelling them to my friends and family because they would get stuck in my head. Great book to read on chilly nights while you’re curled up on the couch. Just make sure your doors are locked and keep all your lights on.
2. The Tell-Tale Heart by Edgar Allan Poe
The Tell-Tale Heart straddles the line of ghost story and psychological thriller. You know the story: a man murders someone and then he hears their heart beating below his floorboards, where the narrator has hidden the body. Poe knows how to write unreliable characters, which makes you question the sanity of the narrator or if maybe, just maybe, the dead has came back to haunt him. Either way, it’s a creepy short story that is perfect for the Halloween season.
3. Frost by Marianna Baer
Frost is another story that could be either creepy ghost story or psychological thriller. Unlike The Tell-Tale Heart, I didn’t end the book with a definite opinion on which way it went. I’m still not sure if the Frost House was really haunted or not. Marianna Baer has done an amazing job of leaving you with goosebumps and your mind playing tricks on you.
4. The Mediator series by Meg Cabot
Suze can see and speak to the dead. She doesn’t necessarily like it but she’s trying to get used to it. When she moves with her mother from New York to California, she finds a VERY good-looking ghost in her room. Everyone, meet Jesse. He’s my number one dead crush because he’s got the charm, old school chivalry, and looks tan even while he’s dead.
The series follows Suze as she deals with her abilities and the ghosts that she meets along the way. Some are pretty intense and some are heartbreaking. Perfect series to read and reread when you’re looking for something that has paranormal, romance, and hilarious dialogue.
5. Shade series by Jeri Smith-Ready
Shade is the first in a trilogy that is set in alternate present-day, where people born after a certain day can see ghosts. The government has found ways to prevent ghosts from entering public buildings and there are limits on where ghosts can travel to (only places they’ve been to unless they turn into a violent ghost). At the very beginning one of the main characters dies and becomes a ghost. It’s a YA trilogy that I love because of how unique it is. It turns ghost stories on their head and makes sense out of ghosts and spirits. It’s not dark and eerie but it is a great read that I gushed about to everyone who would listen.
About Britney: Britney is one-third of the review site I Eat Words (www.ieatwords.com). When not blogging about books, pop culture, and TV shows, she spends her time advising people on what to read at the library and working on her book. She may have seen a ghost of her own before but that’s a different story.
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About Karen Jensen, MLS
Karen Jensen has been a Teen Services Librarian for almost 30 years. She created TLT in 2011 and is the co-editor of The Whole Library Handbook: Teen Services with Heather Booth (ALA Editions, 2014).
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