The Horror Honeys: Horror Novels for the Tween in Your Life!

Horror Novels for the Tween in Your Life!

A Revenge Honey "Horror Kid" Top 5 by Linnie with a Head Honey Kat Bonus!

It is a fairly safe bet that if you are a fan of horror movies, you probably also read your share of horror novels as well. Most of us at the Honeys have been reading horror books since we first started reading. Whether it was Stephen King, true crime, or epic fantasy, our black hearts have been skipping beats for the literary dark arts since we were wee.

These days, it feels like young adult (YA) fiction is more popular than ever, but even as that is the case, YA tends more toward the romantic than the horror. Still, there are plenty of horror novels out there to encourage the young reader in YOUR life, or if you're anything like THIS Honey, perhaps just to go back and revisit some of your childhood favorites.

This week for Spooky Kid Saturday, I've picked some of my favorite YA horror novels (with a bonus pick from Head Honey Kat) to share with you little creepers! I probably could have picked a hundred... so five was really hard.

The Midnight Club ~ Christopher Pike

“If you honestly feel you have done something so terrible that you cannot be forgiven, then I am willing to share your sins with you. When we die, if we should have to stand before god and be judged, then I will tell him I am as much to blame as you and that half your punishment should be portioned out to me.” 

For me, this whole list could have been nothing but Christopher Pike books. I devoured everything Pike put out, because while his books were horror, they were so beautifully written as well. Every story was steeped in history, emotion, romance, terror, and love. Out of every Pike book that I've read multiple times, The Midnight Club is the one I go back to at least once a year, and it makes me cry every damn time. Set in a hospice for teens with terminal illnesses, a group of kids meet at midnight every night to share their scariest stories. But along the way, they begin to confront their true greatest fear: their own mortality. Loaded with really heavy themes considering it was a book for teens, The Midnight Club is the kind of novel that will linger in your memory forever.

The Graveyard Book ~ Neil Gaiman

“Kiss a lover, 
Dance a measure, 
Find your name 
And buried treasure. 
Face your life, 
It's pain, 
It's pleasure, 
Leave no path untaken.” 

Picking a single Neil Gaiman book is about as impossible as picking just one Christopher Pike novel, but for the purpose of this piece, I went with The Graveyard Book. I always loved the way that The Graveyard Book crossed so many genres: crime, supernatural, YA, science-fiction, and no matter how many times you read it, it always feels fresh. The Graveyard Book follows Nobody Owens, a young boy raised by the supernatural residents of a graveyard after his whole family is murdered. A film version of this Gaiman classic has been trapped in development hell for ages, but I am actually hopeful we might see something in the near future.

The Diviners ~ Libba Bray

“Some mornings, she’d wake and vow, 'Today, I will get it right. I won’t be such an awful mess of a girl. I won’t lose my temper or make unkind remarks. I won’t go too far with a joke and feel the room go quiet with disapproval. I’ll be good and kind and sensible and patient. The sort everyone loves.' But by evening, her good intentions would have unraveled. She’d say the wrong thing or talk a little too loudly. She’d take a dare she shouldn’t, just to be noticed. Perhaps Mabel was right, and she was selfish. But what was the point of living so quietly you made no noise at all? “Oh, Evie, you’re too much,” people said, and it wasn’t complimentary. Yes, she was too much. She felt like too much inside all the time. So why wasn’t she ever enough?” 

I know that quote is insanely long, but it was one of those passages I went back and read over and over again. If you haven't read Libba Bray's The Diviners, stop reading this list and go buy it right now. Set in the fictional "Museum of American Folklore, Superstition, and the Occult," Evie O'Neil aids her uncle in uncovering the perpetrator behind a series of gruesome murders. Bray plans a sequel for The Diviners, but in the meantime, Paramount snatched up the rights for a film, so we'll see if that ever happens!

The Stepsister ~ RL Stine

"She didn't see the shovel coming down on her until it was too late. Even as the metal blade of the shovel swung down onto her arm, she didn't realize what was happening. She heard a loud crack, like someone breaking a celery stalk, and started to slip back down into the grave even before the pain arrived..."

I think pretty much anyone can pick out a favorite R.L. Stine book, be it from the Goosebumps series, or from the more YA-oriented Fear Street novels. The Stepsister was always one of my favorites, despite my distaste for stories in which, "one person knows another person is crazy and NO ONE believes them." The Stepsister was probably my first interaction with The Cassandra Complex, so perhaps it's just the yard stick I measure everything else against. Either way, if you haven't read The Stepsister, or any of the Fear Street series, get on it! You have a lot of catching up to do.

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children ~ Ransom Riggs

“I used to dream about escaping my ordinary life, but my life was never ordinary. I had simply failed to notice how extraordinary it was.”

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children is one of those once-in-a-lifetime books: the perfect intersection of haunting vintage photography, an author that found a way to bring those photos to life through words, and a story that draws you in and makes you care about everyone in it, even when you're terrified. When young Jacob learns through his grandfather that his family has history with a Welsh island full of gifted children, Jacob is drawn into a mystery that he may not be equipped to handle. A quick read, Miss Peregrine will worm its way into your heart... so read it fast before Tim Burton turns it into a movie that may or may not suck.

From the Head Honey:

The Nancy Drew Files

When I was but a young Horror Honey, I was more of a reader than a movie watcher, and when I wasn't skipping down Fear Street with R.L Stine, I was solving crimes with Nancy Drew… sometimes before she did, but that's ok. Back when I was choosing books to read based on their cover art, I discovered the Xanth series (whole other story) and a "new" take on some vintage crime stories that were way less annoying than The Hardy Boys. Don't judge me, it was just way easier for me to get into the thought of a sassy girl in big sweaters and oversized blazers solving crimes than a bunch of dudes who should have been looking for their dad's gun collection or their Playboys instead of having a sense of social justice. I dunno.  

I read The Nancy Drew Files obsessively, usually due to their cover art. Anything fashion or ocean related I ate up like enthusiastically-iced pastry, and I was never disappointed. With a cliffhanger at every chapter end, Nancy and her friends had the best and worst luck at the very same time. How terribly exciting to be mistaken for an heiress, or trapped in a net of intrigue involving arsenic laced makeup samples or a fashion photoshoot involving really big shoulder pads and MURDER! Ooooh! Nancy Drew is the reason I have a taste for crime novels and maybe why I adore True Crime. Either way; thanks, girl.  

What was YOUR favorite horror book when you were a kid? 
Tell me on Twitter: @linnieloowho