Top Twenty Spooky Middle-Grade Novels! (And you could win one of these!!!)

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Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish.
Every once in a while I participate in this one when I either
1) Like the theme, and/or 2) Have the time!

This week's topic:
Top Spooky Middle-Grade Novels!

Last year for Halloween on Top Ten Tuesday, the theme was to do something Halloween-related. I loved it so much that I wanted to revive the list this year for The Books Hiding Under Your Bed Week...and this time around, Mandy has some titles to feature, too!

We're often asked for good spooky reads for kids. Kids WANT to be scared. They want more than just GoosebumpsSo here's a list of scary books kids might enjoy!!!

In No Particular Order...

1) THE SPINDLERS by Lauren Oliver

I wish Lauren Oliver's middle-grade books were more well-known with children...and more popular with them! LIESL AND PO was enchanting--my favorite of all her books--and THE SPINDLERS was the most terrifying! Spindlers are scary spider-like creatures and noooooo, I wouldn't want to be stuck with one!!

2) JUNIPER BERRY by M.P. Kozlowsky

JUNIPER BERRY has so many awesome creepy elements. In some ways, it reminds me of CORALINE by Neil Gaiman. It has the same creepiness to the illustrations that make you shiver and get goosebumps. Um, and Skeksyl's character description reminds me of Kamaji from SPIRITED AWAY, which I quote in my review of the book! (Along with showing you some creepy artwork!)

3) CORALINE by Neil Gaiman

How can the book NOT be on this list!? It's so deliciously creepy that it was even turned into a movie that's perfect to watch at this time of year...but only if you watch with your Other Mother, of course! If you want spooky, this one is a childhood staple!

4) THE DOLLHOUSE MURDERS by Betty Ren Wright

This book scared me SO MUCH when I was younger. I'd gotten it at the library and it had me sooooooo terrified that I couldn't even sleep. The book is still in print and still scaring new generations of children!

I was actually reminded of this video recently when I watched the music video "Dollhouse" by Melanie Martinez, which had the same creepy vibe! (Watch it!)


5) DOLL BONES by Holly Black

 Even the cover for this one is creepy! Last year, DOLL BONES was my favorite middle grade novel for so many reasons. A lot of those reasons have nothing to do with creepiness, though. But I love recommending it when kids want a great creepy read and think it's such a great book!



This is another book that scared me as a kid. The version I read had a much creepier cover, ebcause there were ghost arms coming up out of the floor! It set the tone from the very get go. Avi is still a staple that kids love, and so many of his books have won awards, so he's a great author to introduce kids to!

7) THE GRAVEYARD BOOK by Neil Gaiman

I never read this book until last year when I was sent review copies of the new graphic novel edition. THE GRAVEYARD BOOK has a timeless classic feel, like when multiple adventures took place in one story! Some of the tales are creepier than others, but come on, just LIVING in and GROWING UP IN a graveyard is hella creepy on its own!!! This book is also a little more mature--or at least, the visual graphic novel is--due to an opening scene with a grisly murder scene. But if you're actively looking for a kid's horror novel/thriller? Oh yeah! I believe this is still in the works to become a movie!


I'm really excited to read Lauren DeStefano's first middle-grade because I enjoyed her Chemical Gardens Trilogy so much! I've been saving this one to read during October, so I hope to get to it this week. This is a great new ghost story that kids likely won't have heard about yet!

9) WAIT TILL HELEN COMES by Mary Downing Hahn

I never read this one, but kids LOVE it. So many kids have told me that WAIT TILL HELEN COMES scared the pants off of them and they want another book like it. I usually introduce them to Mary Downing Hahn's entire backlist. If you want to give a kid an author with a huge number of scary books to enjoy, this is the one to recommend!

10) CURIOSITY HOUSE: THE SHRUNKEN HEAD by Lauren Oliver and H.C. Chester

Okay, I haven't read this one yet. BUT I REALLY WANT TO. It's on my nightstand! I should read it this week, shouldn't I!? I know Lauren Oliver can do scary/spooky because, as you saw earlier, THE SPINDLERS is a big scary MG title for me! I'm hoping her brand-new book will be as well!

1) A MONSTER CALLS by Patrick Ness

A Monster Calls

For me this book was like...if the BFG were a little darker and more grown up. It's scary in different ways, pulls a lot of emotions from the reader, and definitely leaves you wanting a hug and the lights on.

2) A TALE DARK AND GRIMM by Adam Gidwitz
A Tale Dark & Grimm (A Tale Dark & Grimm, #1)

Some people like their fairy tales with a little blood. This series is a middle grade appropriate twisted fairy tale with darkness and gore that makes it something I'd recommend for 4th grade and up.


The Cavendish Home for Boys and Girls

If you like Coraline, Splendors and Glooms or The Mysterious Benedict Society, you will love this book. Mystery mingled with beautifully dark aspects that both chill and thrill.


Deep and Dark and Dangerous (A Ghost Story)

Mary Downing Hahn just has a lot of really fantastic middle grade scary fixes. Amazing supernatural horror that will ensure you get tingles down your spine.


5) THE SHADOWS by Jacqueline West

The Shadows (The Books of Elsewhere, #1)

 The Shadows is oddly creepy, in the same way A Series of Unfortunate Events was. I'd definitely recommend this for 4th grade and up but if you're a fan of Neil Gaiman you will love this. And it's a series so you can come back for more!


6) A PATH BEGINS by J.A. White

A Path Begins (The Thickety #1)

I have not read this series yet, but I've heard amazing things. High fantasy, but decadently dark.


Welcome to Dead House (Goosebumps, #1)

Are you flashing back to your childhood? I mean who didn't read R.L. Stine as a kid? This was the scariest stuff my mom would let me get my hands on, and Welcome To Dead House started it all. Scary, funny at times, with those question mark endings where nothing felt safe and you wanted a bigger nightlight next to you.


The Aviary

Imagine if the Anne of Greene Gables world had a bit of gothic flare to it, and you've got the feel of The Aviary.  I'd dare say that it makes me feel like it's the middle grade version of Miss Peregrine's home for peculiar children. Creepy visuals, some moments that make the hairs on your neck rise...but not a ghost or monster sort of scary.


The Whispering House

The Whispering House is a gorgeous ghost story guaranteed to captivate those looking for middle grade chills. The imagery in the books is creepy and other wordly, but nothing so intense it should concern parents of middle grade readers.

10) THE NIGHTMARYS by Dan Poblacki

The Nightmarys

This cover immediately made me think of that scene from The Shining. It's instantly ethereal and creepy, and it gives you just a hint of waits awaiting you inside. Poblocki captures the middle grade narrative well and provides a creepy storyline I'd recommend for ages 12 and up.

What scary books would you recommend to young readers? 0_0


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