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YA Book Reviews by Amy: Spooky Short Stories

‘Tis the season for some spooky stories, and while it seems like there may be a lot of stories I could talk about, I really wanted to focus on some of my favorite unnerving short stories that I read throughout school.

Since these are short stories, I will briefly (without spoilers) describe the story in the form of a question. I am hoping that I appeal to your senses and make you spend the next 30 minutes or so reading some of my favorites.

There is so much powerful writing within a short amount of words. The symbolism of names and numbers stand out, the mood and atmosphere creepily done, dark questions about humanity hang in the pages, and so much more.

Give one or all of these short stories a read in October!

The Monkey’s Paw by W.W. Jacobs

A short tale that asks the question: what is the price you are willing to pay for your wishes to come true?

This was such a distinct short story that I remember reading in school and that definitely left an impression on me. The mood is haunting and while it is a short story, it plays like a movie in my head. I highly suggest reading this if you haven’t already especially because it is perfect for this time of year!

Available in eBook on Overdrive and on Hoopla, as an eBook and eAudiobook.

The Veldt by Ray Bradbury

What happens when the house is too smart and is more of a parent than you are?

Set in the future, Ray Bradbury creates an amazing sense of suspense; it feels like this story could easily be a part of The Twilight Zone line up. A spooky read that left me stunned when I read this in my American Horror class in college; while I read this in college, I think this can be enjoyed by teens and adults.  

Available as an eAudiobook on Overdrive and in this collection of short stories at the library* for checkout.

The Lottery by Shirley Jackson

A small and mysterious town has an unusual tradition to follow, what will the outcome be?

An ominous feeling settles over you when you read this tale—everything is kind of confusing until everything comes to light at the end. There is a YA book that might have been inspired by this short story, can you guess which popular novel?

Available as an eAudiobook on Overdrive  and in this collection of short stories at the library* for checkout.

The Most Dangerous Game by Richard Connell

A hunter extraordinaire finds himself on an island in which the most dangerous game is hunted, will the prey escape?

This was the first short story that I read Freshman year of high school, and I remember that we had a writing prompt to write a part of the story that is ‘missing’ and my teacher loved what I wrote! It made me feel like I belonged in that class. I love the double meaning of the title and the story had me on the edge of my seat. I think it still holds up after reading it again this week.

Available on Hoopla.

The Cask of Amontillado by Edgar Allen Poe

A man seeks the most extreme revenge, will it be as satisfying as he hopes?

I think that this might be my favorite Edgar Allen Poe short story! I also read this Freshman year and really liked how dark it was. This is another story that reminds me of The Twilight Zone or Are You Afraid of the Dark? It’s a good tale that would be great to tell in the dark.

Available on Hoopla and are in several collections of short stories, including this one at the library* for checkout.

The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman

A woman is confined to a singular room, the nursery, is she losing her mind, being tortured, or is there a supernatural-being underneath the wallpaper?

I have read this short story so many times… it has followed me around for several years, kind of like how the yellow wallpaper follows our main character around. I have analyzed this story a lot throughout the years, have written papers about it, and have a fondness of this creepy tale. I think the thing that I like most is that the readers are not sure if the narrator is reliable and that causes this story to be read in multiple ways.

Available on Overdrive, Hoopla, and are in several collections of short stories, including this one 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.