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YA Book Reviews by Amy


YA Book Reviews by Amy: Horror & Suspense

Occasionally, I like to be scared when I’m watching movies or reading books. Finding the right YA horror book can be hard; especially since I feel like the genre has a limited selection.

While mystery and suspense are some of my favorite genres, supernatural or paranormal fiction is less sought out by me. I have split up my picks into murder mysteries that have slasher-film moments and creepy paranormal reads.

It may not be October yet, but I could read a good horror book!

Ten by Gretchen McNeil

During a weekend party at an exclusive island, friends Meg and Minnie do not realize that there is a dastardly plan in place that could cost them more than their reputations; it might cost them their lives. In the middle of the party, dirty laundry is blasted on the stereo about all ten of the attendees; things no one is supposed to know, things that will make everyone a suspect when teens start dying mysteriously.

Ten is a dark YA book that was inspired by Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None. This book is a page turner that can easily be read in one sitting! It has an eerie vibe and the setting is right out of a classic horror movie.

Available as an eBook on Overdrive and on Hoopla.

The Box in the Woods by Maureen Johnson

After solving the Ellingham Academy case, both from the past and the present mysteries, Stevie is itching to solve another case. Stevie receives an email from the camp that once was the location of a several murders that were never solved. Stevie decides she wants to investigate Camp Wonder Falls and the Box in the Woods Murders. She invites her friends to examine this case while posing as camp counselors. Will Stevie solve these deaths from the 1970’s?

The flashbacks that we get from 1978 at the camp screams Friday the 13th vibes. It was so creepy that it had me on edge! There were moments in the current day mystery that had similar tones. I really enjoy Maureen Johnson’s mystery writing because she is really a master of suspense and spine-chilling scenes that will make you have goosebumps.

Available on Overdrive and at the library* for checkout.

Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake

Cas hunts the supernatural following in his deceased father’s footsteps. When Cas hears the locals talking about a ghost named Anna Dressed in Blood, Cas decides he must find and destroy her before she can do anymore harm. The legend goes that Anna was murdered in 1958 in her house in which she now haunts. She has attacked and killed all who have entered until Cas is able to walk out alive.

This story reminds me a lot of the television show Supernatural. It has that paranormal twist of supernatural creatures with some genuinely scary moments. I love Kendare Blake’s writing because it is so atmospheric and dark. This was a lot of fun.

Available as an eAudiobook on Overdrive and Hoopla.

There’s Someone Inside Your House by Stephanie Perkins

Makani wants to forget about her past and live in the now in Nebraska with her grandmother. All of a sudden, classmates are being murdered one by one, and while Makani does not know what connects them, she does not want to be next on the list.

This reads like a slasher film perfectly; in October, Netflix will be releasing the movie version of this story. This is definitely quite violent and more graphic than many other YA thrillers, but this is the epitome of horror. There are creepy scenes in which you will feel like you are in Makani’s shoes and are being watched, followed, and targeted. Such a quick read that you could read in one sitting.

Available on Overdrive and at the library* for checkout.

The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein by Kiersten White

Elizabeth Lavenza is groomed to be the friend and companion of the young and disturbed Victor Frankenstein. Throughout the years, she realizes that Victor has a troubled mind, but he’s controlled the people around him to believe that he is “normal”. Kiersten White tells the story of Frankenstein through the eyes of a side character and love interest Elizabeth, and she put a dark twist into Victor’s character: making him an unreliable character from the original.

This dark atmospheric story connects to the classic almost perfectly and that makes it a fun read to compare the original to this scary retelling. The character of Victor is terrifyingly real and made me sit on edge.

Available on Overdrive and at the library* for checkout.

Burn Our Bodies Down by Rory Power

Margot’s family has always just consisted of her and her mother. Not knowing any other family, and her mother is unwilling to talk about her past, Margot wants to dive into that history. What has her mother been trying to hide and why? Margot finds a photograph of a place called Phalene and believes this will lead her to her answers.

This was an interesting read! Burn Our Bodies Down is a science fiction YA novel with horror elements and an intriguing mystery. Definitely creepy at moments, this book could be a fan favorite for many readers that enjoy the horror genre with a twist.

Available on Overdrive as an eBook and eAudiobook and at the library* for checkout.

Through the Woods by Emily Carroll

Five scary and eerie tales about what could happen if someone enters the woods and may not come back.

I love fairy tale retellings and this horror version of these tales is creepy and harkens to some of the original Grimm tales. Many of the tales are suspenseful, and the entire collection reminded me of the stories that are told around the campfire. The art is hauntingly chilling without it being graphic or gory. This graphic novel is recommended for readers that enjoy being a little creeped out and like folk and fairy tales.

Available at the library* for checkout.

House of Salt and Sorrows by Erin A. Craig

A dark and atmospheric retelling of the Twelve Dancing Princesses tale in which Annaleigh is surrounded by death and despair. Annaleigh is one of twelve sisters and her fourth sister just died under mysterious circumstances; everyone is telling her that it was an accident, but Annaleigh is convinced that her sister was murdered. A couple days after the funeral, Annaleigh and her sisters find a secret entrance that magically transports them to surrounding countries to attend their dances. There is a dark force that is compelling the sisters to dance every night, destroying their shoes and their minds. Can Annaleigh save them or has she lost her sanity in the process? Read this dark retelling if you like psychological thrills with a tad bit of magic.

The Twelve Dancing Princesses is my favorite fairytale and this reimagining was very entertaining with dark details and setting. The mystery surrounding Annaleigh and her family was so well done and the ending paid off.

Available on Overdrive and at the library* for checkout.

*check the link for available copies or to place on hold


Hello everyone! I’m Amy and I am a Youth Services Librarian at the Public Library of Youngstown and Mahoning County. When I’m not trying to reach my reading goal for the year, I like to talk about what I’m reading to my family, friends, and coworkers. You could say I am a little obsessed with reading Young Adult books. I enjoy most genres, but my favorites include: Westerns, Historical Fiction, Contemporary, Fantasy, and Mystery. I am always looking for the next great book that makes me connect to its characters and hits me in the feels.