Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. This week’s topic is a Halloween freebie. I rarely read scary stories or watch scary movies. I avoid anything horror or paranormal and I hate gore. I’m more of a realistic contemporary kind of reader, although lately I’ve been enjoying magical realism and poetry as well. I do enjoy a good suspense-filled mystery, however. As such, this list features books that are mysterious or creepy or subtly scary — perfect October reads.
1. The Accident Season by Moira Fowley-Doyle: The Accident Season is a strange, lyrical, atmospheric novel. Cara’s family is cursed: they become accident-prone every October, and family members have even died in the past. Cara is determined to find answers. The book culminates in a Halloween party, the Black Cat and Whiskey Moon Masquerade Ball. Read my full review here.
2. Paper Valentine by Brenna Yovanoff: Ghosts and murder: Hannah is being haunted by the ghost of her best friend who died from anorexia. Oh, and someone is on the loose killing girls in her small town. What I love about this book is that it’s difficult to assign to one genre. Yes, it has mystery and suspense that keep you wanting to find out what happens next. However, it’s also full of interesting and complex characters, so many well-written and quotable passages, and a multitude of insights about love, death, guilt, relationships, and imperfection.
3 & 4. Sammy Keyes and the Skeleton Man/Sammy Keyes and the Night of Skulls by Wendelin van Draanen: Sammy Keyes was such a fun series to read. I remember getting the very first book at a Scholastic Book Fair back in elementary school. The Skeleton Man is the first one I read in the series, so for that reason it stands out. But The Night of Skulls is great, too: graveyards, undertakers, and death rites abound.
5. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J. K. Rowling: While of course all the Harry Potter books have witches and goblins, magic spells and ghosts, and all manner of Halloween-related things, this one out of all seven makes me think of Halloween the most. It must be the introduction of Dementors, those horrible cloaked figures; an escaped “mass murderer” on the loose; Trelawney’s talk of the Grim and the sightings of the black dog; and the whole werewolf situation. Plus Hagrid’s giant pumpkins. Definitely the pumpkins.
6. The Walls Around Us by Nova Ren Suma: I once saw this book described as “Orange is the New Black Swan” and I think that is a very apt description. It is dark, disturbing, and creepy. It alternates between the cutthroat world of ballet and the strange events at a juvenile detention centre. I don’t even know what genre it could be considered; it has elements of horror, mystery, paranormal, fantasy, and more.
7. The Ghosts of Ashbury High by Jaclyn Moriarty: This is probably the most humourous pick on this list of “spooky Halloween” reads. Chock-full of Jaclyn Moriarty’s signature humour and quirky writing, it features possible ghosts haunting the school, mysterious new students with unsettling pasts, and gothic writing assignments.
8. Of Scars and Stardust by Andrea Hannah: A younger sister who is attacked. An unsolved mystery. Obsessions and myths. Creepy cornfields in a small town. The howling of wolves – wolves that the main character believes were her sister’s attackers. Wolves that may strike again.
Happy Halloween everyone!