YA and Middle Grade Books to Get You Ready for Spooky Season


Since it’s the start of the scariest month of the year, why not get ready for the scary season? Who wouldn’t want to engage with books that will make you turn your lights on before bed? Being frightened is a fundamental part of October. Here are five books that made me shake in my boots! 

Slime Doesn’t Pay

by R. L. Stine

R.L. Stine, author of the Goosebumps series, is back with a brand new middle grade horror story! Twelve-year-old Amy has an annoying little brother, Arnie, who bullies her. Lissa, her best friend, is also exhausted by his antics. One day while watching YouTube, the girls find a tutorial on how to make slime. Amy and Lissa concoct a devious plan: they make the slime and decide to dump it on Arnie during his birthday party. To their dismay Arnie turns into a slime monster and becomes more of a nuisance than he already is. The girls have to find a way to turn him back before he destroys the whole town!

Be on the lookout for our upcoming review of Slime Doesn’t Pay on October 17th, 2023!

The Clackity

by Lora Senf

In this middle grade novel, young Evie resides in Blight Harbor, one of the most haunted towns in America. She lives with her Aunt Desdemonda, a famous ghost hunter. One day, Evie’s aunt goes missing in the forbidden part of town where an old slaughterhouse stands. Evie goes to find her aunt, but instead she finds a creature called the Clackity. It promises to find Evie’s aunt under one condition: Evie captures and presents the Clackity with the ghost of John Pope, a killer whose victims lived in Blight Harbor a hundred years ago. She goes on a dangerous journey where she meets other creatures and monsters all while being hunted by the Clackity, who wants to take possession of her soul. 

Check out our review of The Clackity here!

The Cellar

by Natasha Preston

In Natasha Preston’s young adult debut, sixteen-year-old Summer lives an ordinary life until she ventures out on a nighttime walk and is spotted by a mysterious man. Unfortunately, the man takes an interest in her, then kidnaps and places her in a cellar with three other girls. The kidnapper calls all of his victims by the names of flowers to represent their purity. He goes by Clover, and he had traumatic events happen to him at the hands of his own mother. In his mind, his mother represents what is wrong with the women in the world. He thinks he’s saving his victims from this dirty, disgusting world, but he doesn’t realize that his flowers don’t agree. Summer and the other girls are plotting a way to escape, but it’s harder than expected…

The Weight of Blood

by Tiffany D. Jackson

At Springville High School in Georgia, Maddy, a biracial girl, has kept her race a secret at the insistence of her father. It’s 2014, but the town has always had backwards thinking. She has always passed for White, but is still bullied for being the weird girl at school. One day, a student finds out that Maddy is Black and a video of her being bullied for her race goes viral, exposing the school’s issues with race. To save their image, the student government decides to host the school’s first ever integrated prom. The class president lets her Black boyfriend ask Maddy out as a sign of unity. Maddy has another secret that not even her father knows about, which has the potential to make this prom a real night to remember. 

The Counselors

by Jessica Goodman

This young adult horror story stars Goldie, who loves Camp Alpine Lake. Every summer she’s dumped at the camp by her rich parents. This summer is different, however, because Goldie decides to be a counselor, along with her friends, Ava and Imogen. She can’t wait to see them again so she can tell them the dark secret that she’s been holding in. She craves the comfort that only Ava and Imogen can give her. Alas, the secret she holds so deeply in her chest is put on hold when a teenager is found dead in the lake in the middle of the night. Ava was the only counselor by the lake that night and Goldie has her suspicions. She knows the death wasn’t accidental and suspects Ava is more involved with the death than she’s leading on. 

Sadelle Gibson, Pine Reads Review Writer