Halloween is a favorite in my household. Candy, costumes, and gore galore. ‘Tis the season for horror! If you’re looking for some chilling reads to get you in the holiday spirit, here are my top five horror reads from the last two years!
5. The Year of the Witching by Alexis Henderson
A young woman in the small town of Bethel finds her world turned upside when the first sign of her womanhood includes dark magic and dire consequences.
- The social commentary surrounding the main character’s mixed race added to the otherness she feels as she finds her dark magic creates an intense story of self loathing and self-discovery.
- A misfit tale in a historical puritanical setting, The Year of the Witching was both engaging and distinctive, and I would recommend it to any fans of the occult!
- P.S. I can’t wait for the next book in the series, The Dawn if the Coven.
4. Shutter by Courtney Alameda
A teenaged student at an academy for monster hunters battles a new kind of monster and tries to survive while she challenges beliefs about herself, her past, and a forbidden romance.
- The lore is captivating and effortlessly woven into the plot without a whiff of exposition.
- Alameda’s marriage of tech and the supernatural was a refreshing spin on traditional ghost stories and provided the heroine ample opportunities to drive the story.
3. Horrorstör by Grady Hendrix
A disgruntled employee of her town’s premier Ikea knock-off stays late to help solve the mystery of the closing time store vandals, but instead of just her job being at risk, she soon learns that her life is as well.
- The physical copy is a must here. Much of the shock and awe of this horror comedy came from the furniture-manual-style of the book and it’s illustrations.
- Hendrix created a main character so relatable to a small town millennial like me that I was hooked instantly.
- Horrorstör was well paced, mysterious, and unique, and I would recommend it to anyone who like a good ghost story.
2. Clown in a Corn Field by Adam Cesare
A teen girl moved from the city to a dying rural town with her father. Entertainment is scarce and the kids aren’t quite what she expects, but as it turns out, fun and fitting in are the least of her problems.
- There is so much mystery, and Cesare creates a vivid picture that adds to the horror. The action and fights are well choreographed and add to the thrill.
- A classic teen slasher with a strong culty, rural community vibe, Clown in a Cornfield was an excellent read full of twists and turns as well as those perfect characters that you love to hate.
1. The Shining by Stephen King
While the KWP blog primarily features reviews of young adult and new adult titles, I can’t ignore my dalliances in the works of Stephen King. A master of character, suspense, and all things disturbing, I admire his work as an author and cower before it as a reader. From Salem’s Lot to Needful Things to A Good Marriage, I have loved immersing myself in the lives and trials of King’s characters.
But if I had to choose just one, I would be lost without The Shining. As much as I enjoyed the movie (which I thankfully saw first), it pales in comparison to the book. Aside from the obvious terrors of isolation in a haunted hotel, the suffering from straining against the influence of evil was emotionally disturbing. When I finished reading this masterpiece, I was preoccupied with King’s mastery of the craft and with my sympathetic connection to each of the characters trying to survive the plot.
In short, ten out of ten. Would recommend.