5 Ghost Books to Read for Halloween
Updated: Sep 30, 2022
Hello, Readers! Spooky Season is on its way 🎃👻 Crawl under the covers and get comfy, but don't turn out the lights! This week's Halloween-inspired list of YA ghost books is sure to give you goosebumps.
If you're just tuning in, this is the second part of my Halloween Bookish Spooktacular. Is the name over-the-top? Decidedly so. You can catch up with the links below.
Week 1: Witches
Week 2: Ghosts
Week 3: Dark Fairy Tale Retellings
Week 4: Vampires (upcoming)
Week 5: Werewolves (upcoming)
I love a good ghost story. I spent most of my summers as a tween/teen outdoors, at camp, or at sleepovers. My parents did not allow us to sit in front of the television all day (though we valiantly tried)!
At summer camp, ghost stories were strictly forbidden. So, of course, we told them constantly. Some of the counselors obeyed the rules, others indulged us and pretended not to hear, and a few of the daring ones tried to scare us out of our wits. But one way or another, as soon as the lights went out, the flashlights turned on and the stories began.
So, without further ado, I bring you a collection of YA ghost books that would have left the younger me shaking in her sleeping bag. I've included a mix of my favorites, fan favorites, and new contenders. Let me know what you think in the comments below!
Asylum by Madeleine Roux
I liked the gothic tone and the way the book kept me guessing. It has been years since I last read this series, but I remember finishing the books in just a few days.
Madeleine Roux's New York Times bestselling Asylum is a thrilling and creepy photo-illustrated novel that Publishers Weekly called "a strong YA debut that reveals the enduring impact of buried trauma on a place." Featuring found photographs from real asylums and filled with chilling mystery and page-turning suspense, Asylum is a horror story that treads the line between genius and insanity, perfect for fans of Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children.
For sixteen-year-old Dan Crawford, the New Hampshire College Prep program is the chance of a lifetime. Except that when Dan arrives, he finds that the usual summer housing has been closed, forcing students to stay in the crumbling Brookline Dorm - formerly a psychiatric hospital. As Dan and his new friends Abby and Jordan start exploring Brookline's twisty halls and hidden basement, they uncover disturbing secrets about what really went on here . . . secrets that link Dan and his friends to the asylum's dark past. Because Brookline was no ordinary mental hospital, and there are some secrets that refuse to stay buried.
The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater
Every year, Blue Sargent stands next to her clairvoyant mother as the soon-to-be dead walk past. Blue never sees them--until this year, when a boy emerges from the dark and speaks to her.
His name is Gansey, a rich student at Aglionby, the local private school. Blue has a policy of staying away from Aglionby boys. Known as Raven Boys, they can only mean trouble.
But Blue is drawn to Gansey, in a way she can't entirely explain. He is on a quest that has encompassed three other Raven Boys: Adam, the scholarship student who resents the privilege around him; Ronan, the fierce soul whose emotions range from anger to despair; and Noah, the taciturn watcher who notices many things but says very little.
For as long as she can remember, Blue has been warned that she will cause her true love to die. She doesn't believe in true love, and never thought this would be a problem. But as her life becomes caught up in the strange and sinister world of the Raven Boys, she's not so sure anymore.
Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake
This is probably the most recommended YA Halloween read I saw in my research. A must read.
Cas Lowood has inherited an unusual vocation: He kills the dead.
So did his father before him, until he was gruesomely murdered by a ghost he sought to kill. Now, armed with his father's mysterious and deadly athame, Cas travels the country with his kitchen-witch mother and their spirit-sniffing cat. They follow legends and local lore, destroy the murderous dead, and keep pesky things like the future and friends at bay.
Searching for a ghost the locals call Anna Dressed in Blood, Cas expects the usual: track, hunt, kill. What he finds instead is a girl entangled in curses and rage, a ghost like he's never faced before. She still wears the dress she wore on the day of her brutal murder in 1958: once white, now stained red and dripping with blood. Since her death, Anna has killed any and every person who has dared to step into the deserted Victorian she used to call home.
Yet she spares Cas's life.
Shadowland by Meg Cabot
Shadowland is the first book in the thrilling, romantic Mediator series, from the New York Times bestselling author of the Princess Diaries, Meg Cabot.
Suze is a mediator—a liaison between the living and the dead. In other words, she sees dead people. And they won't leave her alone until she helps them resolve their unfinished business with the living.
But Jesse, the hot ghost haunting her bedroom, doesn't seem to need her help. Which is a relief, because Suze has just moved to sunny California and plans to start fresh, with trips to the mall instead of the cemetery, and surfing instead of spectral visitations. But the very first day at her new school, Suze realizes it's not that easy.
There's a ghost with revenge on her mind...and Suze happens to be in the way.
Rules for Vanishing by Kate Alice Marshall
In the faux-documentary style of The Blair Witch Project comes the campfire story of a missing girl, a vengeful ghost, and the girl who is determined to find her sister--at all costs.
Once a year, a road appears in the forest. And at the end of it, the ghost of Lucy Gallows beckons. Lucy's game isn't for the faint of heart. If you win, you escape with your life. But if you lose....
Sara's sister disappeared one year ago--and only Sara knows where she is. Becca went to find the ghost of Lucy Gallows and is trapped on the road that leads to her. In the sleepy town of Briar Glen, Lucy's road is nothing more than local lore. But Sara knows it's real, and she's going to find it.
When Sara and her skeptical friends meet in the forest to search for Becca, the mysterious road unfurls before them. All they have to do is walk down it. But the path to Lucy is not of this world, and it has its own rules. Every mistake summons new horrors. Vengeful spirits and broken, angry creatures are waiting for them to slip, and no one is guaranteed safe passage. The only certainty is this: the road has a toll and it will be paid.
Sara knows that if she steps onto the road, she might not come back. But Becca needs her.
And Lucy is waiting.
This article was written by E.V. Everest.
E.V. Everest is a YA fantasy and sci-fi author, best known for her novel Seven Crowns. Check out more of her work by clicking any of the book covers below.