Savvy Recommendations: Books that Put the “Boo” in Books

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! No, I don’t mean that Christmas is just under two months away, I mean that Halloween is HERE! For all of us horror heads, this is basically our second Christmas, so we put together a lineup of spooktacular books to get you into the Halloween spirit. Continue reading to see our latest Savvy Recommendations!

Marisol’s Picks

When No One is Watching by Alyssa Cole

When it comes to all things scary, there’s nothing I love more than a long, drawn-out story of psychological suspense, and Alyssa Cole’s When No One Is Watching delivered! Perfect for fans of Get Out, the story follows Sydney Green, a Brooklyn native whose neighbourhood is rapidly changing. Neighbours she’s known her entire life are disappearing and Sydney suspects something more sinister is at play. Haunting and totally thought-provoking, this gripping story asks, “where do people go when gentrification pushes them out?”.

A Head Full of Ghosts by Paul Tremblay

I hope you like stories that keep you guessing, because Paul Tremblay already told us he’s NEVER going to let us know what really happens at the end of this story! A chilling tale of psychological suspense that will send shivers up your spine, this story follows one woman’s descent into madness. A truly mind-bending tale of psychological horror, this story left me questioning everything I know about memory, reality, and the nature of evil.

Catherine House by Elisabeth Thomas

Gothic stories are always a joy to read, and Catherine House’s literary elements made it all the more enjoyable! A suspenseful story set at an elite university, Catherine House follows a dangerously curious undergraduate student who uncovers the shocking secret and dark truths that lie behind her school’s promises of power and prestige. If you love schools set at boarding schools, stunning writing, and a setting to spook you, I highly recommend checking this one out!

Alice’s Picks

Cirque du Freak by Darren Shan

I have been waiting for a perfect opportunity to include this in a recommendation and now is my time to shine. This series was my ABSOLUTE favourite when I was a youngin’. I remember terrifying my 9th grade English class with my book report by reading out a particularly gory passage. I actually met up with this teacher recently (14 years later…..yikes) and she still remembers it! It’s gory and terrifying and skews older than a typical middle-grade book and even adults will enjoy it, too. It’s well-written and funny and each book is a quick and engaging read and perfect for a Hallowe’en curled up on the couch.

Plain Bad Heroines by Emily M. Danforth

Gothic comedy… need I say more? This book is spooky, funny, queer, feminist and it will amaze you. It’s full of black-and-white Hollywoodesque illustrations and footnotes that make it an especially immersive experience. I HIGHLY recommend.

The Devil and the Dark Water by Stuart Turton

Genre-bending and delightfully unsettling, The Devil and the Dark Water is a murder mystery that will have you awash in mystery and drowning in suspense. So batten down the hatches and prepare yourself for a thrilling mystery on the high seas.

Jesse’s Picks

Survivor Song by Paul Tremblay

Earlier this week, Alice called me her “horror encyclopedia,” so I’m taking my newfound role of resident horror historian to bring you some especially spooky reads. First up is Survivor Song by Paul Tremblay. Did you love 28 Days Later? If you said yes, then this is the book for you. The first scene is especially gruesome, and the *expletive deleted* really hits the fan for the next 300 pages or so. Know how some people say certain books are a marathon, not a sprint? This one’s the opposite: it’s a mad dash for your life that’ll leave you out of breath, sweaty, and panting by the end. But don’t stop running, because the infected (and anti-vaxxers) are coming.

Full Throttle by Joe Hill

There is nothing better in the horror genre than a true chilling collection of short stories, and this collection from Joe Hill, famed son of horror legend Stephen King, is just the latest in a long line of incredible horror story collections. A door that opens to a fairy-tale world becomes a blood-drenched stomping ground; a librarian drives a Bookmobile to deliver reads to the dead; a trucker finds himself caught in a sinister dance with a tribe of motorcycle outlaws (and this one was co-written by Stephen King!)… Those are just a few of the pulse-pounding tales that make up this shocking, chilling, and terrifying collection.

Lovecraft Country by Matt Ruff

Though this novel was originally published way back in 2016, it has roared back to relevancy (and praise) after being adapted into an incredible series on HBO earlier this year. In Lovecraft CountryMatt Ruff takes us into the heart of Jim Crow America and its lingering effects as he blends historical fiction, pulp noir, and Lovecraftian horror and fantasy. Much like Lovecraft’s own works, these tales may straddle the line between fantasy and horror, but be warned that the scares come in buckets. This is a truly unique novel, and if you haven’t watched the series yet, I highly recommend you check it out as well.

There you have it, Savvy Readers! Halloween might look a little different this year, but if you’re looking for some books to up the spook factor, look no further than these books. But, if you’re still not scared enough, be sure to check out the interview with Paul Tremblay that we ran earlier this week and our reading recommendations based on the scariest movies/TV shows around that we ran last week.

Tell us, Savvy Readers: What’s the scariest book you’ve ever read? Let us know in the comments or on Twitter @SavvyReader!

Happy Spooky reading,

Jesse

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