It’s Halloween! Real life has been scary enough these past few months but if you’re looking for something to do to celebrate the holiday that is fun and safe, check out our list of horror film YA read-alikes. From haunted houses to zombies, this list has a little bit of everything to get your heart racing and feeling spooked. Indulge in some escapism and choose a horror movie you like to get matched with its book counterpart. You can place a hold to pick it up at one of our sidewalk pickup locations.
From the Teen Services Staff at the Oakland Public Library, we wish you all a Happy Halloween!
Film: The Conjuring Book: The Dead House by Dawn Kurtagich
Haunted houses are a staple tradition in Horror. If haunted houses and demonic possession is your cup of tea, you’ll enjoy this book, which documents the history and haunting of a high school. Two decades have passed since an inferno swept the hallways of Elmbridge High and claimed the lives of three teenagers. The diary of the suspected arsonist has been found and details the sinister events leading up to the murders. A mixed media novel featuring letters, photos and other documents that add chill factor and realism to the story, The Dead House is sure to have you reaching for the light to keep the spirits at bay.
***BONUS*** Amity by Michel Ostow
Two families living in the same house ten years apart, Amity documents 28 days of horrifying events. Check out this book that pays homage to the real-life Amity house and haunting.
Film: Cabin in the Woods Book: Ten by Gretchen McNeill
A group of teenagers arrive on a deserted island for a fun-packed, carefree weekend after receiving an invitation to a house party. What starts out as harmless, frivolous fun turns dark and twisted as the friends realize there’s a mysterious killer picking them off one-by one. If you’re into the suspense of campy horror films like I Know What You Did Last Summer and Scream, you’ll definitely enjoy this book.
Film: The Exorcist Book: Shutter by Courtney Alameda
Micheline Helsing is the last living descendent of Van Helsing, the renown vampire-slayer and exorcist. From birth she has been conditioned to exorcize demons and is skilled to kill them multiple ways. Her weapon of choice is a digital SLR camera that traps evil spirits on film. When one of her missions goes awry, Micheline and her team become cursed with the “soulchain”. She has only seven days to exorcize the demonic entity from her body or risk her and her friends dying a horrible death. If you’re looking for a exorcism books that blends together many different components of the horror genre then you should check out this blood-chilling book.
***BONUS*** The Merciless by Danielle Vega
School newcomer Sofia Flores befriends the most popular girls in school. But, when the girls decide to “help” one of their classmates, a night of fun and gossip turns into a sadistic nightmare. A mash-up of Mean Girls and The Exorcist, this book that shows the horrors of peer pressure and how the need to be popular and belong can go horribly wrong. This book is not for the faint of heart or those sensitive to violence. There are scenes depicting torture so only read if you have a strong stomach for films that depict violence and gore such as the Saw or Hostel films.
Film: The Grudge & The Ring Book: The Girl From the Well by Rin Chupeco
A vengeful spirit with unfinished business that seeks to right the wrongs inflicted on her in her former life, The Girl From the Well is based on a Japanese ghost story. Unlike the ghosts in The Grudge and The Ring who inflict evil and harm for the sake of vindictiveness, Okiku seeks revenge and justice for those who abuse children. This story is rooted in Japanese folklore and possesses some of the same Japanese storytelling elements and symbolism that make the films that follow this tradition so creepy, dark and sinister. The quick snappy prose is sure to entice you in this terrifying mystery.
Film: 28 Days Later Book: Rot & Ruin by James Marberry
Rot & Ruin takes place in post-apocalyptic America. In this intense, action-packed thriller, 15-year old Benny finds a gig apprenticing for his zombie hunting brother to earn extra rations to survive. Even though this book has violent and gory moments, this isn’t just a book about killing zombies. Similar to 28 Days Later where the characters discover that zombies are not the only monsters they have to survive, the characters in Rot & Ruin have to salvage what is left of humanity and discover the true horror that exists in society. Check out this book if you’re looking for a book that perfectly blends together plot, world-building and character development.
***BONUS*** Dread Nation by Justina Ireland
If you’re looking for a zombie book that is completely unique, check out this book. It takes place in the U.S during the reconstruction period after the civil war. The dead have risen from the graves of Gettysburg and what started out as a war between North and South has now become a war between humankind and zombies. Ireland explores themes of race, classism and feminism in this allegorical historical fiction featuring a Black zombie-slaying heroine whose journey is sure to keep you at the edge of your seat.
Film: The Craft Book: Labyrinth Lost
Alex is the most powerful Bruja (witch) of her generation. Although she is skilled and revered for her power she doesn’t want to be a witch. When she tries to cast a spell to get rid of her powers, her entire family vanishes. In order to get them back, she must join forces with Nova, a Brujo (warlock) she doesn’t trust. This book explores the rich history of Brujas and Brujos in Latinx folklore and also examines themes of power and fear. If you are into t.v/film that feature teen witches, such as the new reboot of Sabrina the Teenage Witch, then you’ll enjoy Alex and her struggle to embrace herself and power.
Film: US Book: Pet by Akwaeke Emezi
Set in an utopian world Jem, a selectively mute girl, accidentally awakens a monster. But nothing is as it seems. The monster is there to root out and destroy the true evil that exists in the town and Jem soon learns that monsters live among those she knows and trust. Similar to US, this book shows how everyone has a dark side. There are two sides to every coin and just because you ignore and supress that dark side doesn't mean it doesn't exist and it can reveal itself in horrorifying ways.