Horror is an ever-trending genre and terrifies and entertains adults, children, and teenagers. For young teens, scary books are a true treat, and the best scary books for teens can help them improve their imagination skills and teach them about the element of suspense. However, we advise you to check with your children before you decide to get your hands on these scary books. If you have a child interested in horror stories and scary books, we list the top scary books.
Elisabeth Daly, a book blogger, and English teacher, says, “The horror genre appeals to many teenagers and can be an excellent avenue to build strong reading habits. However, be mindful of your child’s natural fears and anxieties while choosing horror books.”
Go through our list and see which best-selling book your teen would love to read.
17 Best Scary Books For Teenagers
1. Best Teenage Horror Revenge Novel: Carrie
Author: Stephen King
The story is about Carrie White, a teenage girl and a victim of bullying at school, who discovers that she has telekinetic powers. She does not have any friends and is mostly alone in school or at home, which gives her enough time to explore her powers. Carrie tries to act normal until an unexpected event forces her to use the powers to take revenge on her bullying classmates. This is a fictional story and one of the best horror novels for teenagers.
2. Best Zombie Attack Short Story: Dread Nation
Author: Justina Ireland
The story is about Jane McKeen, a teenager living in militant America, where she is undergoing combat training to protect African American and Native American children from zombie attacks. As the dead begin to rise on the battlefields of Chancellorsville and Gettysburg, Jane is left with no choice but to fight the zombies on her own while the African American soldiers are forced to get into the war to protect the natives. Learn more about the book in this video detailing a reviewer’s experience.
3. Best Post-Apocalyptic Zombie Story: Rot And Ruin
Author: Jonathan Maberry
The story is set in the post-apocalyptic American era. A boy named Benny Imura is in search of a job that he needs to support his family. His older brother, Tom, works as a zombie hunter. Benny is reluctant to take up the same job but has no other choice. His job as a zombie hunter teaches him what it means to be a human. This teen thriller book will keep your teenagers engrossed until the end. Check out this review video to learn more.
4. Best With Illustrations: Frankenstein: Or The Modern Prometheus
Author: Mary W. Shelley
The best-selling story is about Dr. Victor Frankenstein, a scientist and a genius in natural sciences. Through his research, he discovers that electricity can resurrect the dead and creates a monster assembled using parts of dead bodies. The result turns out to be disastrous as the creature begins to kill Victor’s family and his loved ones one after the other. Finding out how it turns back on Victor, his creator, is a thrilling surprise for the readers.
5. Best Entertaining Horror Story: A Monster Calls
Author: Patrick Ness
Conor O’Malley is a thirteen-year-old boy who wakes up every day at exactly seven minutes past midnight to find a monster at his bedroom window. The monster visits him for three nights and tells him one real story each night. After the monster narrates his stories, it is Conor’s turn to narrate a real-life story. If the story is not real, then the monster will eat away Conor. This horror fiction is one among the good scary books for teens. This video offers a detailed review of the book.
6. Best Epistolary Horror Story: Dracula
Author: Bram Stoker
Loved by reviewers worldwide, the story revolves around a young English lawyer named Jonathan Harker, who goes to Transylvania to meet a client named Count Dracula. Harker feels that something is amiss about Dracula and soon realizes that his client is a vampire and is going to make him his next victim. He seeks help from a vampire hunter called Dr. Van Helsing and embarks on a journey to destroy the vampire forever.
7. Best Mystery: We Have Always Lived In The Castle
Author: Shirley Jackson
The story is about eighteen-year-old Mary Katherine, also known as Merricat, and her older sister Constance. The two girls live with their uncle Julian, who is bedridden due to arsenic poisoning, which has killed the rest of the family of Merricat. This suspenseful book for young adults seals the suspense till the end before disclosing the actual murderer behind the entire family’s murder and the reason behind the crime.
8. Best Thriller: Asylum
Author: Madeleine Roux
Here’s a thrilling young adult fiction novel for your teen. Sixteen-year-old Dan Crawford is spending his summer attending the New Hampshire College Prep program. During this time he befriends Abby and Jordan, and the trio embarks on a journey to unlock the secret of a mental asylum in Brookline. As they go digging deeper, strange truths are revealed. The suspense and the mystery keep the reader hooked on till the end of the book.
9. Best Murder Mystery: The Telling
Author: Alexandra Sirowy
Life was peaceful for Lana and her brother Ben at their woodland island home, at least until the day he dies. After Ben’s death, Lana starts to remember the childhood stories that Ben had narrated to her. Soon, life has some new twists in store for her. A series of murders start taking place in her town, and when analyzing them, she finds that they are similar to the stories told by Ben. The story is filled with horror and terrorizing scenes that might be liked by teen horror fans.
10. Best Suspense Story: Chain Letter
Author: Christopher Pike
A group of seven teens gets a threatening letter that demands them to reveal their one sinful night. If they don’t, then they may have to face horrifying consequences. As the first round of the game starts, one among the teens named Neil is killed. This forces the others in the group to find the person who is behind the crime. This thrilling suspense story makes a good scary read for the teens.
Author: Rin Chupeco
Okiku’s spirit has been wandering around the world for centuries, freeing the spirits of the murdered ones. She herself is a victim of a heinous crime and is all set to take vengeance on the people who are killing the innocent souls. She drifts on until she finds Tark, who she believes is not a monster and needs to be released from his malevolence.
12. House Of Furies
Author: Madeleine Roux
Seventeen-year-old Louisa escapes her school and finds a job as a maid at a boarding house owned by Mr. Morningside. At Coldthistle House, she finds her master and the rest of the staff mysterious as they offer their guests with more than lodging. She fears for the life of a young man named Lee and wants to get him out of the place. But who can she trust to help execute her plan? This creepy fantasy story book for young readers is an excellent read for teens who are new to horror fiction.
Author: Courtney Alameda
The story revolves around a girl named Micheline Helsing, who is the last descendant of the Van Helsing lineage. Since her childhood, she has been trained to fight monsters that are both spiritual and corporeal. The only weapons that she uses to combat these monsters include bullets and an analog, SLR camera. The corporeal’s go down by gunshots, whereas the spirituals one’s energy can be captured only through the camera film. Shutter is an excellent chilling tale for teens who love scary stories.
Shutter is an excellent book that showcases the author’s literary expertise and is great for teens who love spine-chilling scary stories.
Author: Robert Louis Stevenson
The best-selling story is about Dr. Jekyll, a genius who develops a potion that transforms him into a person with beast-like behavior, revealing his dark side. He aims to prove to the world that a person has both a good side and an evil side. But, his experiment results in horrific consequences, and by the time he realizes it, it is too late.
Author: Laura Bickle
Katie is enjoying and experiencing her freedom before entering the Amish life. However, her destiny takes a turn following some mysterious events. A helicopter crash into the cornfield brings unrest, spreading rumors that a outsider is killing the people. During this period, Katie decides to bring a stranger into her community against all the rules, leading to a number of horrifying consequences. The Hallowed Ones is an ideal mysterious novel for teenagers.
Author: Amy Plum
A group of seven teens dealing with insomnia issues is made subjects for a study of the treatment for sleep disorders. As the test begins, a small earthquake causes malfunctioning of the equipment and puts the teens into a coma. In the dream world, they confront their terrifying nightmares and need to find a way out of the dream world without being killed.
17. The Summoning
Author: Hillary Monahan
The story is about four teenage girls named Jess, Shauna, Kitty, and Anna who try summoning the Bloody Mary Worth. They must link their hands firmly, follow the rules and should never let go. But, the summoning circle breaks and Bloody Mary slips through the glass to take revenge.
This instance tears apart their friendship and lives forever. Shauna finds the horrifying clues that uncover Mary Worth’s legacy, but will they be able to save them from Mary? This haunting story for teens can keep a horror lover hooked till the end.
Why Trust MomJunction?
Wedesto Chirhah is an English literature graduate and an avid reader. He combines his love for literature and vast knowledge of books to compile informative and objective book review lists. In this article, he has reviewed the best scary books for teens. He has compiled these books after critical evaluation of various factors to help prospective buyers make the right decision. These horror books are age-appropriate and will keep your teens hooked.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Are scary books appropriate for teens?
Keeping the PG-13 classification in mind, if the teen is beyond 13 years of age and the book isn’t too gory or vivid, they could indulge in them once in a while if horror happens to be one of their favorite genres.
2. Is reading horror good for teens?
Apart from improving one’s language, a well-balanced and child-friendly horror book can help children handle negative emotions, such as fear, nervousness, and anger in a vicarious manner. Certain books could also help them get a glimpse of the world outside and aspects of mental well-being (1).
3. How do horror books affect the teen brain?
Too much of anything can be detrimental. Likewise, little to no exposure may not help as kids may face more difficulty in handling fear in the future (2). At the same time, if your child is prone to anxiety, it may not be advisable to indulge much in horror literature.
Whether your teen loves terrifying stories for young readers or books belonging to the horror genre or is looking for a new genre to explore, horror books for teens are exciting options. They have an element of suspense and often come with nail-biting cliffhangers at the end of each chapter to make you want to read more. Our top recommendations include Carrie, which showcases telekinetic power, and Dread Nation, which portrays the protagonist’s gruesome fight against zombies. At the same time, the book A Monster Calls features a monster that tells stories to keep teens on their toes. When buying the best scary book for teens, it is crucial to research top authors and buy a book with excellent reviews.
Infographic: Why do People Enjoy Horror Content?
As strange as it may sound, many people seek and enjoy horror-based content. The ghosts, vampires, strange sounds, weird creatures, and outlandish settings bring joy to the thrill-seeking audience. Read the following infographic to figure out why some people love spooky movies, books, and shows.
- Fear with a safety net: Why children should read scary books:
- One-third of parents avoid reading children scary stories study finds
- Best Love Story Books For Teenagers
- Best Non-Fiction Books For Teens
- Magical Books Like Harry Potter For Kids
- Best Books For 11 And 12 -Year-Olds