October 2021 Staff Picks

Spooky Reads and Scary Stories

Liz, one of our fabulous library assistants, wrote this month’s Staff Picks. She reads horror year-round, and these are some of her favorite terrifying tales! - Note from Readers' Advisory Librarian Nancy

The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson
Occult scholar Dr. Montague is on a mission to explore a notoriously haunted house. Along with three carefully selected recruits, the team aims to retrieve proof of the paranormal forces occupying Hill House. But they soon come to find the dilapidated house has a will of its own. In this timeless classic, Jackson paves the way for all other haunted house stories to come. Truly, a must read for fans of gothic horror and terror.

My Best Friend's Exorcism by Grady Hendrix
The year is 1988. High school best friends Abby and Gretchen have been inseparable ever since the fourth grade. But after an evening out goes disastrously wrong, Gretchen starts to act… different. Irritable. Mood swings. And strange events can’t seem to stop following her. Abby won’t let school drama—or a demonic possession—get in the way of their friendship. Pulsing with 80s pop culture and nostalgia, this coming-of-age tale is both delightfully wicked and a refreshing display of the resilience of friendship.

The Only Good Indians by Stephen Graham Jones
In their youth, four Blackfoot men go on a hunting trip and commit a grave offense against a herd of elk. Years later, the disturbing event resurfaces in their lives as an evil spirit bent on revenge. One by one, the men must face the entity’s fury. A brutal and devastating story exploring vengeance, tradition and identity, this is the perfect book for those looking for a read as lyrical as it is gruesome. Be warned! This is not for the faint of heart!

Teen Services Librarian Maggie has a treat for readers who enjoy supernatural twists and turns!

Whichwood  by Tahereh Mafi
Laylee can barely remember the happier times before she was destined to spend her days washing the bodies of the dead and preparing their souls for the afterlife. She ignores the way her hands are stiffening and turning silver, just like her hair, and her own ever-increasing loneliness and fear. But when a pair of familiar strangers appears, Laylee’s world changes as she rediscovers color, magic, and the healing power of friendship. Even though the premise of this book is dark, the story itself is not grim, making this a perfect horror story for middle schoolers entering the YA genre - or for readers of any age who enjoy a beautiful macabre setting. 

You May Now Kill the Bride by R.L. Stine
Fans of Netflix’s Fear Street film trilogy will enjoy this first book in the Return to Fear Street series. Two Fear family weddings, decades apart – each bride will find that the ancient curse that haunts the Fears lives on. It feeds off the evil that courses through their blood. It takes its toll in unexpected ways and allows dark history to repeat itself. Till death do they part….

House of Hollow by Krystal Sutherland
Ten years ago, the three Hollow sisters went missing after their parents turned their heads for a second. Mysteriously, the three girls all returned a month later with no memory of where they’d been. Now the oldest sister, Grey, has gone missing again. Her sisters Iris and Vivi think it’s related to their disappearance years ago, but how can they find their sister if they have no memory of what happened? This dark and creepy mystery is like a modern Grimm fairytale mixed with Stranger Things

Picture Books 
Snuggle up with your little ones and enjoy a few playfully spooky books recommended by Children's Library Assistant Victoria. 

Creepy Carrots by Aaron Reynolds
Sinister illustrations heighten the suspense of Creepy Carrots!  This is a Caldecott Honor selection about a rabbit who believes the carrots he craves are going to get him! 

The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything by Linda Williams
This book is totally creepy!  The repetitive and interactive stanzas can break up the suspense. It is a great read-a-loud for Halloween.

The Dark by Lemony Snicket
The “dark” is always present so it’s a normal fear for children. Snicket has clearly defined this fear and each page supports the story. By the end, the boy isn’t afraid anymore. This fantastic book may be a way for children to feel a bit more secure with darkness.

Chapter Books
Children's Librarian Marie offers creepy good fun with a list of chapter books that your young reader won't be able to put down.

Monster and Boy (Monster and Boy, Book 1) by Hannah Barnaby
ARRRRRGH! The monster under the bed swallows the boy he claims to love. But things get better from there. Will the boy come to love the monster too? An early chapter book with lots of illustrations and humor!

Ghoulia (Book 1) by Barbara Cantini  
Another early chapter book, this one is loaded with colored illustrations. Ghoulia is a zombie who lives in a large, crumbling manor home with several other unusual residents. She thinks she is perfectly normal but admits that it can be hard for a zombie to make friends. Halloween gives her an opportunity to go out and be herself.

Ghost Squad  by Claribel A. Ortega
A thrilling, spooky middle grade chapter book. Lucely and Syd accidently cast a spell that awakens malicious spirits. We all hate when that happens! Perhaps with the help of witch grandmother, Babette, and a substantial cat, Chunk, they can set things right.