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    Updated on Jun 21, 2020. Posted on Jun 12, 2020

    40 Scary Books I Think You Need To Read If You Love Creepy Stuff

    You may wanna snag a nightlight while you're at it. Y'know, for, uh, bathroom trips.

    We hope you love the products we recommend! All of them were independently selected by our editors. Just so you know, BuzzFeed may collect a share of sales or other compensation from the links on this page if you decide to shop from them. Oh, and FYI — prices are accurate and items in stock as of time of publication.

    We asked the BuzzFeed Community to tell us about books that gave them the creeps and you can consider my spine tingled just from gathering these suggestions! Here are the ~spooky~ results:

    1. I'm Thinking Of Ending Things by Iain Reid is incredibly suspenseful with tons of twists and, as you can see, is at the top of our list because it messed with several readers.

    Gallery/Scout Press

    "It gets more sinister with every page and everything is described in graphic detail." —emmanz

    "I read it last night and it was so dreadful. I was scared for hours and kept thinking there was someone standing outside the window. I actually slept with the light on — when I could actually get to sleep." —jacquis4aab3991e

    "I’m Thinking of Ending Things was TERRIFYING! It’s also going to be a movie of Netflix soon!" —keniabarba1

    Get it from Barnes & Noble for $11.99+, Bookshop for $14.71+ (to support local bookstores), or check your local library.

    2. A Head Full Of Ghosts by Paul Tremblay follows along with a family whose 14-year-old daughter starts showing signs of schizophrenia... and is then told it could be demonic possession, which then leads to a reality TV show opportunity.

    HarperCollins Publishers

    "Employing the use of an unreliable narrator intensifies the horror and leaves you questioning what’s up and what’s down. The traditional possession storyline is twisted into something new and terrifying once you combine it with the reality show aspect and the point of view from the youngest daughter — only, really being told through the mouth of her adult self, where her shadowy memories are put into question by her interviewer.

    Had a chance to do a Q & A with the author and asked him this: 'When you set out to write the book, did you know what the REAL ending was even if readers never would, or did you intend for there to be no truth at all, and leave it up to philosophical debate?' His reply? 'You’ll never know ;-).'” —annag4cb252ed5

    Get it from Barnes & Noble for $11.99+, Bookshop for $15.63+ (to support local bookstores), or check your local library.

    3. The Exorcist by William Peter Blatty (while we're on the subject of exorcism) is one of the most controversial novels ever written. You've (hopefully!) seen the original movie that still slaps, it's time you read the book too.

    HarperCollins Publishers

    egg_lady

    Get it from Barnes & Noble for $7.49+, Bookshop for $15.63+ (to support local bookstores), or check your local library.

    4. House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski takes the haunted house frame of yore to new terrifying levels when a family realizes their new house is larger on the inside than the outside. And the way the book is printed fully immerses the reader in it!

    Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group

    "The more you read it, the more it messes with your mind." —facebook_2312527008822847

    "It was recommended to me by a horror buff, who said that he had lent his copy to a friend and had them call him in the middle of the night to 'get the damn book out of my house!' Picked it up a few weeks later and not only is it one of the most interesting books I've ever read, its absolutely the scariest. Not for the faint of heart, for sure. —katth3

    Get it from Barnes & Noble for $19.80+, Bookshop for $19.80+ (to support local bookstores), or check your local library.

    5. The Laws of the Skies by Gregoire Courtois involves camping in the woods... and no one escapes! A terrifying tale as old as time *worth* your time. (And people wonder why I don't camp.)

    Coach House Books

    "Crazy shit happens in the woods! A group of 6-year-olds and three adults goes for an end-of-summer camping trip. Once they enter the woods, none of them will exit (not a spoiler — literally revealed in the opening lines)." —jenniferk14

    Get it from Barnes & Noble for $9.49+, Bookshop for $15.59 (to support local bookstores), or check your local library.

    6. The Thief of Always by Clive Barker is a modern fable in which the house has a mind of its own. And (super)naturally, things go awry!

    Barnes & Noble

    "About a house called the Holiday House that makes time go slow inside." —eljkvc3

    Get it from Barnes & Noble for $3.99+, Bookshop for $9.99+ (to support local bookstores), or check your local library.

    7. Small Spaces by Katherine Arden follows an 11-year-old girl who reads a ghost story (at least she thinks it is), only to find the graves of the people involved. So maybe "The Smiling Man" (seen on this terrifying cover) exists after all....

    Puffin Books

    "Super duper creepy, suspenseful, and it was even featured in the New York Times paper." —killerkat11

    Get it from Barnes & Noble for $8.99+, Bookshop for $8.27+ (to support local bookstores), or check your local library.

    8. Crota by Owl Goingback features a small-town sheriff investigating a gruesome double murder that seems like it couldn't have possibly been perpetrated by a mere human.

    Independent Legions Publishing

    "So very good!" —cr1stalfairie

    Get it from Barnes & Noble for $13.90, Bookshop for $13.90 (to support local bookstores), or check your local library.

    9. The Haunted by Bentley Little lets you into the world of a family who moved into a lovely historic house, only to find there's something in the corner of the basement, nobody wants to drop by their new abode, and horrible, unexplained things are happening. What joy!

    Berkley Books

    "This is one that really gets into your brain and stays with you for years." —karenweezlew

    Get it from Barnes & Noble for $8.99, Bookshop for $8.99+ (to support local bookstores), or check your local library.

    10. The Ruins by Scott Smith takes you on a couple's trip to Mexico when one person disappears and the rest go looking for him. And, shocker, it becomes a total nightmare when they come upon a ruins site.

    Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group

    "The Ruins is horrifying. The characters are a little flat and one dimensional, but what HAPPENS to them is not. Pure horror." —seanpf

    "The Ruins stayed with me for years afterward. Truly scary." —jayelle1683

    Get it from Barnes & Noble for $4.99+, Bookshop for $15.59 (to support local bookstores), or check your local library.

    11. And A Simple Plan by Scott Smith isn't a neat fit in the "horror" genre BUT the characters' decision-making processes can make it feel that way. Get ready to scream "DON'T GO IN THERE" to your book.

    Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group

    "A Simple Plan is not horror, but I love it because the characters continue to make decisions they THINK are right (they rationalize the hell out of them), but it’s a complete downward spiral." —seanpf

    Get it from Barnes & Noble for $11.99+, Bookshop for $15.59 (to support local bookstores), or check your local library.

    12. Basically every Jack Ketchum book. But you can start with The Girl Next Door, a tale of torture that'll feel all the more horrifying once you realize it's based on a true story.

    Amazon Publishing

    "Almost every book by Jack Ketchum! They're realistic but so, so twisted! I'm talking rape, cannibalism, torture..." —staerchen

    Get it from Barnes & Noble for $13.46+, Bookshop for $13.75+ (to support local bookstores), or check your local library.

    13. Night Film by Marisha Pessl starts with the discovery of a dead young woman, who just so happens to be the daughter of a famous reclusive cult-horror director. An investigative journalist digs for more info, and finds more than he expected.

    Random House Trade

    "It’s more of a thriller and a mystery than a horror novel, but still includes many, many spooky elements and you never felt like you knew what was real and what wasn’t." —ashlynnwinchester

    Get it from Barnes & Noble for $13.99+, Bookshop for $16.56 (to support local bookstores), or check your local library.

    14. The Girl from the Well by Rin Chupeco features a Japanese ghost who takes revenge on killers, until she meets moody teen Tark who needs her help.

    Sourcebooks

    thechellebelle

    I read this after my coworker Nusrat Sultana lent it to me and I could barely put it down!

    Get it from Barnes & Noble for $8.99+, Bookshop for $10.11+ (to support local bookstores), or check your local library.

    15. Haunted by Chuck Palahniuk is something that I can personally vouch will leave you thinking about it YEARS later. It's told in separate stories by people who showed up for a writers' retreat. (You may never look at a swimming pool the same way again.)

    Anchor Books

    "Very disturbing, but couldn’t put it down." —arenatak

    Get it from Barnes & Noble for $13.99+, Bookshop for $15.59 (to support local bookstores), or check your local library.

    16. Wanderers by Chuck Wendig starts with a lot of people "sleepwalking" toward an unknown location while loved ones follow them to see what the deal is, which of course causes havoc. Of course it would.

    Del Rey Books

    "And Kill Creek by Scott Thomas (next!). They are two of the very best books I read in recent memory in addition to being super creepy in interesting and different ways. Wanderers has more of an epic, sweeping apocalypse feel with some amazing horror elements." —jayelle1683

    Get it from Barnes & Noble for $11.99+, Bookshop for $16.56+ (to support local bookstores), or check your local library.

    17. Kill Creek by Scott Thomas has four horror writers spending Halloween night in one of the most haunted houses in the US. Sounds like my ideal first date!

    Inkshares

    "Kill Creek is actually about horror writers and is one of (if not the most) the most effective haunted house stories I’ve EVER read. Cannot recommend it more!!" —jayelle1683

    "A crazily fantastic ghost/haunted house story. Takes its time getting going, but once it hits that cliff it’s a million miles an hour with great twists, scares, and characters." —entertainmentjunkie

    jayelle1683

    Get it from Barnes & Noble for $11.49+, Bookshop for $14.71+ (to support local bookstores), or check your local library.

    18. The Archived series by Victoria Schwab in which the dead are catalogued in libraries with their "histories" that only librarians can read.

    Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

    "If you’re into YA books, The Archived series by Victoria Schwab is fantastic. I’m not one for books involving primary romance themes but The Archived is a plot line never done before. The bodies of everyone who has ever died are literally stored in a supernatural library, and the main protagonist is assigned as their Keeper, with her sole duty being to keep any violent 'histories' inside. It’s a fresh concept with a dynamic female lead and makes you question what truly makes us alive: our memories, our bodies, our emotions, or something else on another plane of existence altogether?" —annag4cb252ed5

    Get it from Barnes & Noble for $7.99+, Bookshop for $9.19 (to support local bookstores), or check your local library.

    19. Naomi's Room by Jonathan Aycliffe is about a missing child and, apparently, is so scary that the BuzzFeed reader who recommended it said they got rid of it after they finished it.

    HarperTorch

    "Naomi's Room by Jonathan Aycliffe doesn't get talked about often enough. It's about a couple's daughter who goes missing one Christmas Eve night and the terrifying aftermath. The ending to this book is NOT OK. I bought it because my local library didn't have it, but I ended up getting rid of it immediately after I finished it because it scared me so much."—staceyface80

    Get it from Barnes & Noble for $7.99, Bookshop for $7.99 (to support local bookstores), or check your local library.

    20. Come Closer by Sara Gran starts off with odd things happening to Sarah, a successful architect in a happy marriage who seems to have a lot going for her. In her pursuit to find out what the heck is happening, a book on demon possession leads her to believe the woman haunting her dreams is Naamah, the second wife of Adam.

    Soho Press, Incorporated

    thechellebelle

    Get it from Barnes & Noble for $10.99+, Bookshop for $15.64 (to support local bookstores), or check your local library.

    21. The Unspoken by Thomas Fahy follows along as teens who escaped a cult start dying of their worst fears. And, uh, the death scenes are VIVID.

    Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers

    "It’s a book detailing how a group of kids all die by their worst fears. Truly shook me to the core when I was in middle school because of how descriptive it is about each of the deaths." —emmaastone

    Get it from Barnes & Noble for $6.99+, Bookshop for $6.99+ (to support local bookstores), or check your local library.

    22. Penpal by Dathan Auerbach has the protagonist reconstructing his past and digging into some STUFF that definitely won't make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

    1000vultures

    "It started as a Reddit post and is now a book." —c4241901a1

    Get it from Barnes & Noble for $4.99+, Bookshop for $9.99 (to support local bookstores), or check your local library.

    23. Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo, in which a 20-year-old who survives a multiple homicide gets a do-over as a freshman at Yale — but that entails her monitoring the university's secret societies.

    Flatiron Books

    amberw4450b7d7c

    Get it from Barnes & Noble for $14.99+, Bookshop for $25.19+ (to support local bookstores), or check your local library.

    24. Daughters Unto Devils by Amy Lukavics gets a little Laura Ingall Wilder (but scary!) when 16-year-old Amanda and her family move from their mountain cabin to one on the prairie that's covered in blood when they arrive. Also there's a weird doctor and his son who live nearby. Oh, and Amanda is pregnant.

    Harlequin

    thechellebelle

    Get it from Barnes & Noble for $7.49+, Bookshop for $9.19+ (to support local bookstores), or check your local library.

    25. The Dead House by Dawn Kurtagich is the "found" diary of the main suspect of a high school fire that took the lives of three. BUT Kaitlyn, the diary's author, was actually the alter ego of one of the students who disappeared. You could say things are a bit complicated.

    Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

    "It's terrifying. It’s about a girl and during the nighttime she is taken over by this other girl. it’s written in the POV of the person who takes over her body during the night. What happens though is one day she wakes up and is still in the body." —laniekaye

    Get it from Barnes & Noble for $9.99+, Bookshop for $10.11+ (to support local bookstores), or check your local library.

    26. The Anomaly by Michael Rutger stars a "rogue" archaeologist who hosts a TV show popular amongst conspiracy theorists and is on the hunt for a cavern in the Grand Canyon a 1909 explorer supposedly found.

    Grand Central Publishing

    "Not exactly horror but pretty damn horrific at times." —acaciam4d34723d6

    Get it from Barnes & Noble for $7.99+, Bookshop for $7.35+ (to support local bookstores), or check your local library.

    27. The Winter People by Jennifer McMahon takes place in West Hall, Vermont, a town where ~weird~ things always seem to happen, including a legendary 1908 death. In present day, Sara lives in the house where it happened and her mom goes missing one day.

    Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group

    thechellebelle

    I read this and, let me tell you, the twists! I honestly didn't see them coming.

    Get it from Barnes & Noble for $14.36, Bookshop for $7.35+ (to support local bookstores), or check your local library.

    28. Intensity by Dean Koontz has protagonist Chyna up against a home invader and self-professed "homicidal adventurer" which of course sounds completely terrifying.

    Random House Publishing Group

    "It’s more along the lines of a psychological horror/thriller, but it left me shaken for days. It was an emotional roller coaster and I felt physically exhausted by the end of it." —famousjamus83

    Get it from Barnes & Noble for $8.99+, Bookshop for $9.19+ (to support local bookstores), or check your local library.

    29. And Phantoms by Dean Koontz finds a California mountain town silent with more than a hundred dead and even more missing. The culprit is something truly horrible that you'll of course have to read to learn about, hehe.

    Berkley Books

    pearlfoxes

    Get it from Barnes & Noble for $7.99+, Bookshop for $8.27+ (to support local bookstores), or check your local library.

    30. My Best Friend’s Exorcism by Grady Hendrix. The year is 1988, BFFs go skinny-dipping and then one of them starts acting strange as heck. And you thought *your* friendships have gone through some stuff.

    Quirk Books

    "My Best Friend’s Exorcism was so amazing, super scary, and has some crazy body horror stuff while still featuring the power and intensity of female friendships while maintains a great plot. Unputdownable! Honestly, all of Grady Hendrix’s stuff is great, you can’t go wrong with any of them. He just put out a new book, too, that I can’t wait to read!" —jayelle1683

    "It’s creepy, funny and just unsettling enough. Worth the read." —antonettea

    "Love Grady Hendrix! He also has a sort of encyclopedia of pulp horror called Paperbacks from Hell that I love." —pearlfoxes

    Get it from Barnes & Noble for $9.99+, Bookshop for $13.79+ (to support local bookstores), or check your local library.

    31. What The #@&% Is That?: The Saga Anthology of the Monstrous and the Macabre is packed with terrifying but entertaining tales for those who like to mix their horror with some humor (so most people?!).

    Gallery / Saga Press

    "Twenty stories to make your blood run cold!" —antonettea

    Get it from Barnes & Noble for $12.99+, Bookshop for $16.99+ (to support local bookstores), or check your local library.

    32. HEX by Thomas Olde Heuvelt, a contemporary tome about a cursed town that's haunted by a witch who was executed there centuries ago. It's *too* real and perhaps you too will imagine the witch standing at the foot of your bed at 3 a.m. too?

    Tom Doherty Associates

    "Honestly one of the best things about HEX is that there are two different endings to the story. When Olde Heuvelt was translating the story to English (from Dutch) he not only changed the name and location of the town and the historical background (he wanted it to feel close to home and a Dutch town just doesn’t do that for English readers), he also decided to make some changes to the end. This second ending is more subtle and yet more terrifying (as said by Olde Heuvelt himself). I myself am still a bit afraid to read the original version, but I can assure that the 'American' ending will keep you awake for a while." —loisnova01

    Get it from Barnes & Noble for $10.99+, Bookshop for $15.63 (to support local bookstores), or check your local library.

    33. The Twisted Ones by T. Kingfisher takes place in a ~spooky~ cabin in the woods that a woman is clearing out after her grandmother passes, only to find stuff related to a colony of beings (not humans?!) in the woods.

    Gallery / Saga Press

    "I am a horror fanatic. It is genuinely hard to scare me, very few books have been able to successfully do as such. That being said, The Twisted Ones can be added to my limited list. The story follows a young woman who has been tasked to clean our her late grandmother’s house in the woods of North Carolina (it should be noted that my own grandmother lives in the woods of North Carolina and I’ve always hated that house) and discovers secrets buried deep within the horde of junk her grandmother collected. As the main character delves deeper into the mysteries her grandmother’s husband has left behind, strange visions and sounds from the woods become evident — and soon a creature of true horror makes itself known.

    Without utterly spoiling the story, I can tell you that this book is worth the read of every horror lover. I will also be carrying holy water and a crucifix with me the next time I visit my grandma’s for Christmas." —sirwmhenryiii

    Get it from Barnes & Noble for $7.99+, Bookshop for $15.63+ (to support local bookstores), or check your local library.

    34. The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware has major Agatha Christie vibes thanks to its setting on an exclusive luxury cruise where the protagonist, a travel writer, witnesses a woman being thrown overboard.

    Gallery/Scout Press

    “It’s more of a mystery novel with some psychological thriller aspects" —chloeann18

    Get it from Barnes & Noble for $3.99, Bookshop for $14.72+ (to support local bookstores), or check your local library.

    35. Diary of a Haunting by M. Verano is a found diary retelling of a teen's experiences when her family moves into a haunted house possibly (re: probably) related to a cult having conducted rituals there.

    Simon Pulse

    thechellebelle

    Get it from Barnes & Noble for $8.99+, Bookshop for $10.99+ (to support local bookstores), or check your local library.

    36. Baby Teeth by Zoje Stage keeps you on the edge of your seat as you figure out the relationship between a mother and 7-year-old daughter who may be out to destroy each other? Read it and decide for yourself!

    St. Martin's Griffin

    "It’s an amazing story about a mother and her 7-year-old daughter, who doesn’t speak. The mother is convinced the daughter is trying to kill her, and the daughter....actually might be?? I can’t say too much more without giving everything away, but I read this book over a year ago and I still think about the ending at least once a month. I literally had to lie down for a couple minutes after I finished reading this one, that’s how hard it hit me." —queenofjacks

    Get it from Barnes & Noble for $10.99+, Bookshop for $8.27+ (to support local bookstores), or check your local library.

    37. The Remaking by Clay McLeod Chapman starts with the brutal burning of two "witches" in a small town, which turns into an urban legend, then a '70s horror film, and then a '90s horror remake...and an actress cast in the original film has her life more or less ruined with a chance at redemption.

    Quirk Books

    "It’s about a girl and her mother who were killed for being witches whose story gets made into a cult horror movie and how the movie ruins the life of its child star. It came out in October last year and is a great ghost story." —aeh2os

    Get it from Barnes & Noble for $2.99+, Bookshop for $18.39+ (to support local bookstores), or check your local library.

    38. The Girl With All The Gifts by M R Carey is about a little girl who has a lot depending upon her in a post-apocalyptic environment. If you're over the general zombie genre, this is still worth a read.

    Orbit

    "Usually horror/thrillers/etc. don’t get to me but this book really got under my skin!" —khandcock

    "I'm reading it now! So far SO GOOD." —amier91

    Get it from Barnes & Noble for $9.99+, Bookshop for $15.63+ (to support local bookstores), or check your local library.

    39. Dominion by Bentley Little begins with Dion moving to a new town where he meets Penelope, who's also experiencing a lot of strange things. Turns out, they could literally raise hell together.

    Cemetery Dance Publications

    "Bentley Little. So many of his books. My brother got me hooked on him with Dominion. I started reading it, set it down, flipped it over, and couldn't continue reading it for weeks after." —stephamaboble

    Get it from Barnes & Noble for $4.99+ or check your local library.

    40. The Outsider by Stephen King is currently an HBO series that I've heard some fellow creepsters at BuzzFeed say (with good authority) is well worth your time. Which brings me to the source material, the discovery of a dead 11-year-old boy and evidence pointing to a beloved local little-league coach. But of course, things aren't what they seem!

    Gallery Books

    "It is a thought-provoking thriller that forces a detective to consider the impossible when evidence places the suspect in two places at once." —annis4d77f95cf

    Get it from Barnes & Noble for $11.99+, Bookshop for $17.47 (to support local bookstores), or check your local library.

    Have fun with those new reads!!

    NBC Productions

    Submissions have been edited for length and/or clarity.

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