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Do you ever catch yourself reminiscing about telling scary stories at sleepovers when you were a kid? Taking turns passing the flashlight, you and your frightful foes would share a creepy tale from the crypt in hopes of getting the biggest scream. With October in full swing, we got to thinking: Why not bring back that sleepover nostalgia with our spine-tingling book recommendations!
There’s nothing more fitting for the festive season than curling up with a glass of red wine and some candy corn, and tearing into a terrifying new read. And this October, you have no excuse for not having a great and ghoulish new book on you at all times. With a wide range of new and classic titles—from Stephen King to Lisa Jewell—there’s definitely a world of modern monsters to keep you up at night this fall.
Here are 15 of our must-read spooky book picks to haunt your dreams.
The Exorcist by William Peter Blatty
William Peter Blatty created an iconic novel that focuses on Regan, the eleven-year-old daughter of a movie actress residing in Washington, D.C. A small group of overwhelmed yet determined individuals must rescue Regan from her unspeakable fate, and the drama that ensues is gripping and unfailingly terrifying.
The Institute by Stephen King
Stephen King’s latest scare tells the story of Luke Ellis whom is kidnapped by intruders and brought to The Institute where he learns gifted kids like him are brought as captives. Run by a sinister staff—led by Mrs. Sigsby—Luke becomes more desperate to get out. But no one has ever escaped from the Institute…
The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson
If you’ve already watched the spooky series on Netflix, try reading the book! The Haunting of Hill House is the story of a family’s history with a haunted house. At first, what seems like a home to start their perfect lives in, quickly turns into a horrifying encounter with inexplicable phenomena.
Daughters of Eve by Lois Duncan
Sponsored by their new art teacher, Ms. Stark, the girls of Modesta High School band together to form the Daughters of Eve—a secret society and sisterhood—wherein the girls cast spells on boys to treat them nicely. A few incantations quickly turns into brutal revenge and the girls must stop it before tragedy unfolds.
The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
Nobody Owens, known as Bod, is a normal boy. He would be completely normal if he didn’t live in a graveyard, being raised by ghosts, with a guardian who belongs to neither the world of the living nor the dead. There are adventures in the graveyard for a boy—an ancient Indigo Man, a gateway to the abandoned city of ghouls, the strange and terrible Sleer. But if Bod leaves the graveyard, he will be in danger from the man Jack—who has already killed Bod’s family.
The Turn of the Key by Ruth Ware
A nannying job turns nightmare in this page-turning thriller about a woman—Rowan Caine—whom finds herself in prison awaiting trial for murder after answering a nanny ad. What seemed like the picture-perfect family (and a fat salary) at first, quickly turns into a horrifying conclusion in this fast paced read from Ruth Ware.
Stranger With My Face by Lois Duncan
What would you do if somebody looked exactly like you? Laurie Stratton finds herself in this predicament when her long-lost sister—with years of growing bitterness and resentment—comes to town to haunt her. Laurie must act fast as her doppelgänger wants her life!
Jaws by Peter Benchley
The classic suspense novel of shark versus man, which was made into the blockbuster Steven Spielberg movie. The Jaws phenomenon changed popular culture and continues to inspire a growing interest in sharks and the oceans today.
We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson
We Have Always Lived in the Castle is a deliciously unsettling novel about a perverse, isolated and possibly murderous family and the struggle that ensues when a cousin arrives at their estate.
Rosemary’s Baby by Ira Levin
If you have already seen the renowned film, now it’s time to read the book! Follow Rosemary Woodhouse and the horrors of an old New York City apartment building where all the residents—led by the Castavets—are birthing something truly horrific.
Dracula by Bram Stoker
Bram Stoker tells the story of Dracula’s attempt to move from Transylvania to England so he may find new blood and spread the undead curse, and the battle between Dracula and a small group of men and women led by Professor Abraham Van Helsing.
Then She Was Gone by Lisa Jewell
Laurel Mack’s life is turned upside down when her daughter Ellie goes missing. Fast forward to ten years later when the grief ridden mother meets a new love interest Floyd and his daughter Poppy. Poppy is the spinning image of Ellie and all of Laurel’s unanswered questions about her own daughter come back to haunt her in this action packed nightmare of a novel.
The Testaments: The Sequel to The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
When the van door slammed on Offred’s future at the end of The Handmaid’s Tale, readers had no way of telling what lay ahead for her—freedom, prison or death. With The Testaments, the wait is over. Margaret Atwood’s sequel picks up the story fifteen years after Offred stepped into the unknown, with the explosive testaments of three female narrators from Gilead.
Pet Sematary by Stephen King
Dr. Louis Creed and his family learn of a mysterious pet cemetery near their new home in Ludlow and its mystical powers of bringing the undead back to life. In this classic novel, Louis and his family discover that sometimes, dead is better…
Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
Frankenstein is the monstrous tale of Dr. Frankenstein and the creature he creates. In this literary classic, Mary Shelley makes us as readers reflect on who the real monster is.