Scary Books Worth Keeping

I know, I know. It’s Thursday, and this is SO NOT a weather entry! My apologies for that, but I read a guest post on Nova Ren Suma’s (Imaginary Girls) blog from one of my YA favorite authors, Courtney Summers, titled, Books that Scare Courtney Summers. In the post, she looks at some of the books from her childhood that creeped the legwarmers off of her and it got me thinking about books that I’ve kept throughout the years.And besides, it’s almost Halloween!

We all had a few books growing up that we read over and over, right? We hung onto them for years and when we moved away from home, some got left behind, some were donated, and some packed away. Add another move, maybe marriage, kids…more of those cherished books were pared down.

Yet some we still kept. The best of the best.

For me, I loved scary books SO HARD. Some I couldn’t part with, not through moves, marriage and kids. And after reading Courtney’s post, I dug them out of the bookcase to show you. Maybe you remember them. Maybe you read them too.

First up is the PRIVATE SCHOOL series. OMG, these were so awesome: a private school. Missing Teenagers. People who had the same eerie green eyes. And, yes could it be? ALIENS who were SHAPE-SHIFTING WEREWOLVES. A recipe for deliciousness.

Look at the covers! I remember the thrill I got when book 4 came out. I mean, the main character is in the pool WITH A WEREWOLF! Dear God, it was MG ecstasy, I kid you not. I devoured this series.

The next series that I adored was the DARK FORCES line. Now I had many of these books, but only 7 have remained with me throughout the years. The two that are imprinted on my mind most are The Doll and The Game. I must have read each close to 20 times. In one, a Psychotic possessed doll. YESSSSS! And in the other, an Ouija Board that opens the door to something that begins to take over the mind and body of the MC. This book series was like crack, I tell you.

Of the third series, I kept only two of the hoard of books I used to have. They were the TWILIGHT books (Yep, the Twilight BEFORE Twilight!) Both of these, Scavenger’s Hunt and Blink of the Mind, were huge favs. One was about the deadly power of Premonition, the other a reliving of an ancient game…of murder! (dun-dun-dun)

These were my first real foray as a MGer into horror books. They left a huge impression on me, so much so that now, *coughalmostthirtycough* years later, I still have them on my bookshelf. As I look at each cover, a swarm of memories hits me: reading in bed while I was sick; long car rides made bearable only by cracking open the pages of a book or three.

So, I turn this over to you…what books are still on your shelf after all these years?  How did they shape you? Scary or not, tell me about the books YOU couldn’t part with in the comments. Or better yet, POST about them just as I have! Those old, special books deserve to shine one last time…don’t they? 🙂


Angela is a writing coach, international speaker, and bestselling author who loves to travel, teach, empower writers, and pay-it-forward. She also is a founder of One Stop For Writers, an online library packed with powerful tools to help writers elevate their storytelling.
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Kelly Hashway
8 years ago

I grew up reading R.L. Stine’s Fear Street series. I loved them. I still have a few, but my younger cousin claimed a lot of them.

Angela Ackerman
8 years ago

I thought he was still at it–that man has written so many books, very prolific.

Sarah Pearson
8 years ago

Actually, I just looked him up, and he’s still at it. Nice one!

Sarah Pearson
8 years ago

John Saul – horror writer for teens in the late 70’s and early 80’s. I just can’t bring myself to get rid of his books 🙂

8 years ago

Oh wow, I remember some of these! I started reading Stephen King at a very young age (it explains a lot, I know) so the memorable horror novels for me are Salem’s Lot, Carrie, and The Stand.

erica and christy
8 years ago

I remember a lot of so-called true ghost stories making the rounds back in the mid-80s, so those were my first scary books. After that I remember reading a lot of John Saul for some reason.

Gail Shepherd
8 years ago

My mother read Edgar Allen Poe aloud to me when I was still almost too young to read myself. I vividly remember The Pit and the Pendulum; The Telltale Heart; and The Monkey’s Paw. These were absolutely terrifying. Talk about atmosphere!

Michael Offutt
8 years ago

Oh the scary scary books that come bubbling out of the woodwork in October. Thanks for the stroll down memory lane.

Aldrea Alien
8 years ago

I still have all, but the very last book, of the Animorphs series.
My first foray into the Science Fiction genre (was a horsie book gal beforehand ^_^ ). After that, I moved more towards Fantasy.
But the books … they take up a drawer under my bed and whenever I got to liberate the space, I end up reshuffling the books instead. It’s strange how much I can recall of a story by just looking at the cover.

I have recently re-bought a couple of books I used to have and still love: ‘Halfmen of O’, ‘Black Beauty’ and ‘The Juniper Game’.

Sam Wood
8 years ago

Hullo GOOSEBUMPS! My sister owned them (she still has them on her shelf) and I would steal them and read them. Last month we had a big power outage and I was stranded at my sister’s apartment. We dug out a choose-your-own-adventure and I read it to my siblings by flashlight.

Martha Ramirez
8 years ago

Oooh I lovge scary. Thank you:0

Traci Kenworth
8 years ago

Any Stephen King book. Ramsey Campbell. John Saul. Lois Duncan. OMG. So, So many. Great memories.

Lisa Gail Green
8 years ago

this is awesome, Angela! Now I want to go find and read those books! I remember liking scary books by Lois Duncan at that age.

Marsha Sigman
8 years ago

These are all great!

Mine were Stephen King and Anne Rice. Still have them. And the Flowers in the Attic series, although not sure if that’s really scary. Just disturbing.

Matthew MacNish
8 years ago

I haven’t heard of any of these! H.P. Lovecraft will always be the master of horror in my book. No one can describe the indescribable as he does.

Bish Denham
8 years ago

I wasn’t much into scary. But here are a few of the books that I have hung on to and still have:
The World of Pooh and the World of Christopher Robin
The Cat in the Hat
The Patchwork Girl of Oz
A Child’s Garden of Verses
The Princess and Curdie

There are many more.

Angela Ackerman
8 years ago

Miranda & Stacy–Ah, Anne Rice. I read her a bit when I was a touch older, but yes, a great set of books.

JeffO & Becca–Stephen King. *swoons* Someday I’ll post a picture of my bookshelf…I have every Stephen King book made. :)They’re turning his Dark Tower series into a movie, and I couldn’t be happier!

Southpaw & Kristen–Hey non scary books are perfectly okay. I remember another one of my favorites was called “The Tree Fort War”, which had nothing to do with anything scary–just a group of kids trying to keep a vacant lot from being developed by a greedy realtor. Any genre that we got into is made of win–it turned us into the book lovers we are today. 🙂

Marcy, I don’t think I read those, but you know it’s good if you read the covers off!

Hi Eve–thanks for the visit! 🙂

Clarissa, that’s cool. As I said, any books that got us reading while we were young are special. For me, Creating new readers is one of my hopes as a writer for kids. 🙂

Have a great day, all!


Clarissa Draper
8 years ago

I don’t really read scary books so I don’t have any on my shelves but those look super scary.

Stacy Green
8 years ago

I’ve never read those! I was more of a chicken when I was younger. I do still have the Anne Rice books and reread them every couple of years.

8 years ago

I never read any of those! I was kind of a chicken about any kind of horror, but I have to say those Private School covers are tantalizing!

8 years ago

hi angela

Thank you so much for popping by my blog. I did have a great weekend and a fab birthday, thanks for your birthday greeting. Hope you are well 🙂
hugs eve.x

Marcy Kennedy
8 years ago

My favorite MG books growing up were the ones in the Chronicles of Prydain series by Lloyd Alexander. I don’t know if they’re even sold anymore, but they were fantasy at its finest, and I read them so many times the covers are falling off. I won’t part with them no matter how limited my shelf space gets.

8 years ago

You know, I haven’t heard of any of those books, but they look pretty cool.

I was a scaredy-cat growing up and stayed away from most scary books.

Becca Puglisi
8 years ago

I was SUCH a wimpy kid. I read no scary books. But in high school, ALAS BABYLON creeped me out pretty good–just the idea that a nuclear war could happen and people would have to survive in the aftermath. And the setting was only about a half-hour from where I lived at the time.

I toughed up as I got older, and PET SEMATARY is my creepiest read ever.

As for non-scary childhood books on my shelf: Anne McCaffrey’s Dragonriders of Pern, Lloyd Alexander’s Black Cauldron series, The Little House books

8 years ago

Salem’s Lot by Stephen King. That one gets a read every few years, and it can still creep me out after all this time.

I am *so* glad my parents didn’t censor my reading.

Miranda Hardy
8 years ago

I have all of Anne Rice’s vampire chronicles books, as well as the witching hour books.