Teen Librarian Toolbox
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Horrifying Reads for October – recommended by teens! (Kearsten’s Booktalk This!)

This September marked my third year doing a themed book club for 7th & 8th graders at a local K-8.  We meet in their school library during their lunch period, and share the books we’ve read recently.  This year, as we only have about 25 minutes together, we’ve adjusted our sharing style to title, author and six words to describe the book (a suggestion taken from Scholastic’s Booktalk! program.) This month, we shared horror titles (of course!).  Here are some of the creepy books they read, as well as some of their descriptions!

And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie.  Ten people gather on a small island after receiving a mysterious invitation and are shocked when one of their number is murdered.  But then the others are picked off one by one, all the while knowing that one of themis the killer.  Several teens chimed in about this one, with some insisting that it was more of a mystery, others arguing that it *was* pretty creepy, while still others claimed it was too “predictable.”  Read it and decide for yourself which group was right!

“The Call of Cthulhu” (and other short stories) by H.P. Lovecraft.  Tatiana, an 8th grader, is a self-professed ‘fangirl’ of Lovecraft, a horror and science fiction writer who inspired many modern day horror writers, including Stephen King.  She calls “The Call of Cthulhu” (a story about a huge, evil, sea monster-ish deity) and his other tales “spooky, weird, and unsettling.”

Code Orange by Caroline B. Cooney.  A teen, while researching smallpox for a school report, finds an envelope containing 100-year-old smallpox scabs and fears he may have been infected …and that he may be the only person able to prevent a smallpox outbreak in New York City.  8th grader Heather called this one “intense, scary, and suspenseful.”

Girl of Nightmares by Kendare Blake. 17-year-old ghost hunter Cas is determined to save ghost Anna from misery and torture in Hell as payback for saving his life, and according to Gillian, this sequel to the awesomely creepy and gross Anna, Dressed in Blood, is equally awesome.  She very gleefully described it as “scary, bloody, and verygory.”

Outbreak: Plagues that Changed History by Bryn Barnard.  7th grader Annalise didn’t like the horror fiction options on her family’s bookcase, so she opted to read about the Black Death, the plague that in the 1300s killed millions — possibly a third of the European population.  The rest of us agreed that by all the accounts we’ve read, the Black Death was a pretty horrific disease!  Find out for yourself how it and other plagues, like yellow fever and cholera, altered history in Barnard’s Outbreak

What are some of your favorite October reads?  Discuss in the comment.