Whether they’re craving a good scare to be immersed in spooky season or they’re seeking spine-tingling reads year-round, teens are sure to find thrills and chills aplenty with the horror books featured here.
1. Ten by Gretchen McNeil
McNeil’s thriller—inspired by Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None—puts 10 teens on an island with a killer who’s seeking vengeance.
Buy it: Ten at Amazon
2. The Honeys by Ryan La Sala
Fans of Midsommar will devour La Sala’s sharp and observant horror novel set at a summer camp that’s idyllic on the surface but is hiding dark secrets.
Buy it: The Honeys at Amazon
3. The Island by Natasha Preston
Preston is considered one of the top authors of young adult thrillers. This novel sends six highly sought-after influencers to an amusement park for the extremely wealthy, but they soon learn their lives are in danger.
Buy it: The Island at Amazon
4. Killing Mr. Griffin by Lois Duncan
This reissue of Duncan’s excellent novel has been updated for today’s teens (’70s era references have been tweaked for the social media set), but the story of students seeking to teach their mean teacher a lesson remains as gripping as ever.
Buy it: Killing Mr. Griffin at Amazon
5. You’re Not Supposed To Die Tonight by Kalynn Bayron
Slasher-flick fans will adore Bayron’s novel, set at a horror movie–themed summer camp where counselor Charity is having a blast playing “final girl”—until the role-play becomes all too real.
Buy it: You’re Not Supposed To Die Tonight at Amazon
6. Squad by Maggie Tokuda-Hall
Tokuda-Hall’s feminist graphic novel invites readers to step inside the most popular clique at a San Francisco high school. The twist? The girls are werewolves.
Buy it: Squad at Amazon
7. Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
Looking for classic horror books for teens? Anyone into horror has to read Mary Shelley’s classic monster story, written when she was just a teen herself.
Buy it: Frankenstein at Amazon
8. There’s Someone Inside Your House by Stephanie Perkins
Perkins’ novel—already adapted for Netflix—centers on a new girl in town whose classmates are being murdered one by one.
Buy it: There’s Someone Inside Your House at Amazon
9. Carrie by Stephen King
King is the king of horror for a reason—this early novel of his moves at a fast clip and centers on a high school misfit who can move things with her mind. The rare King book with a slim page count that makes it perfect for busy teens.
Buy it: Carrie at Amazon
10. Frightmares by Eva V. Gibson
This 2023 Edgar Award nominee for Best YA Horror Novel centers on the teen employees of a Florida haunted house attraction who have to seek answers when one of their co-workers turns up dead.
Buy it: Frightmares at Amazon
11. Clown in a Cornfield by Adam Cesare
The winner of multiple awards, Cesare’s novel is set in a small town whose teen population can’t wait to leave. And they might not be able to when the clown mascot of its corn syrup factory starts murdering them one by one.
Buy it: Clown in a Cornfield at Amazon
12. My Best Friend’s Exorcism by Grady Hendrix
Taking place in 1988, Hendrix’s supernatural horror novel focuses on a pair of best friends whose enduring bond faces a test when the devil possesses one of them.
Buy it: My Best Friend’s Exorcism at Amazon
13. Hide by Kiersten White
A fast-paced plot and an appealing cast of characters fill out White’s cinematic novel, where 14 competitors must spend a week surviving in an abandoned amusement park, where the winner gets rich but the losers might not make it out alive.
Buy it: Hide at Amazon
14. #MurderTrending by Gretchen McNeil
Another great read from McNeil, about a near future where entertainment comes via watching live prisoner executions streaming on an app that broadcasts from Alcatraz 2.0. When teen Dee wakes up in a daze and realizes that she’s not at home but next on the chopping block for a crime she didn’t commit, she needs to do whatever she can to save herself.
Buy it: #MurderTrending at Amazon
15. Amity by Micol Ostow
Ostow, who also pens graphic novels based on the Riverdale television series, weaves a genuinely chilling tale about a house that gains an evil grip on all of its inhabitants—and forces them to do its bidding. Based on a true crime story, this one will have teens jumping at every creak and groan of their own homes.
Buy it: Amity at Amazon
16. I Know What You Did Last Summer by Lois Duncan
Duncan’s novel inspired the popular movie of the same name, about four teens who commit a deadly hit-and-run that prompts a killer who knows their secret to haunt them at every turn.
Buy it: I Know What You Did Last Summer at Amazon
17. Fear Street: The New Girl by R.L. Stine
Every ’90s kid remembers the phenomenon that was Fear Street, but R.L. Stine’s series—which kicks off with this book about a mysterious new student—will win over Gen Z, too.
Buy it: Fear Street: The New Girl at Amazon
18. Remember Me by Christopher Pike
A contemporary of R.L. Stine, Christopher Pike’s Remember Me is one of his best. Shari Cooper wakes and can’t remember getting home—only to find that she’s dead and must confront a nightmarish being called The Shadow to learn the truth about her death.
Buy it: Remember Me at Amazon
19. The Merciless by Danielle Vega
First in a trilogy, MTV.com described Vega’s novel as The Exorcist meets Mean Girls. This page-turning fright fest features a clique that believes one of its members is possessed.
Buy it: The Merciless at Amazon
20. Horror Hotel by Victoria Fulton and Faith McClaren
When a group of YouTubers who go by the Ghost Gang visit a haunted hotel, they’re expecting a spooky atmosphere with no real threats. But in the room once rented to a serial killer, they get more than they bargained for.
Buy it: Horror Hotel at Amazon
21. All These Bodies by Kendare Blake
In the Midwest in 1958, Michael Jenson’s journalistic dreams lead him to investigate the mystery of violent murders in which the bodies turn up drained of all their blood. But when the killer strikes close to home—murdering a family he knows—Michael gets pulled in deeper when the girl at the scene of the crime says she’ll only speak to him about what really happened.
Buy it: All These Bodies at Amazon
22. I Feed Her to the Beast and the Beast Is Me by Jamison Shea
Perfectionist Laure Mesny will do anything to prove that a Black dancer can be the star of the Parisian ballet, even descend into the Catacombs to strike a deal with a river of blood. As she becomes a star and a vengeful monster, Laure must contend not only with the demons haunting her but with the bloodthirsty monsters—both human and demon—who are out to get her.
Buy it: I Feed Her to the Beast and the Beast Is Me at Amazon
23. Lord of the Fly Fest by Goldy Moldavsky
Moldavsky, also author of The Mary Shelley Club, delivers excellent social commentary in this satirical thriller about influencers stranded at an exclusive music festival on a tropical island.
Buy it: Lord of the Fly Fest at Amazon