Spooky season is here, and it’s the perfect time to start crafting a reading list that will deliver all of the Halloween thrills and chills you’re craving. Here are six 2021 books that are guaranteed to put you in the Halloween spirit—whether you’re looking for a haunted mansion in Japan, a spellbinding romance set around a bakery, or a horror movie-inspired thriller.
Nothing But Blackened Teeth by Cassandra Khaw
Earlier this year, we featured this spooky novella on our roundup of TBR-worthy fall and winter releases and if you haven’t picked it up yet, there’s no better time than Halloween night. Cassandra Khaw transports readers to a haunted mansion in Japan, where a group of friends is reuniting for a destination wedding. Little do they know, a ghost bride (buried long ago beneath the home’s floorboards) wants a sacrifice.
White Smoke by Tiffany D. Jackson
Is there anything more ominous in the horror genre than a family moving to a new home for a fresh start? Maybe just a child with a sinister imaginary friend. YA author Tiffany D. Jackson blends both in her first work of horror, which follows Marigold Anderson as her family moves into an artists’ residency in a historic home. They’ve barely settled in when strange things begin happening—items disappearing, lights flickering, doors opening and closing—and rumors of who (or what) haunts the house start to spread.
Witch Please by Ann Aguirre
Our roundup of swoon-worthy romances of 2021 featured more than one witchy romance, but we have a feeling that readers whose tastes lean more towards treats than tricks, will love Titus Winnaker, the hero of Ann Aguirre’s magical romance. Titus owns a bakery known for its delicious cinnamon buns. When local witch Danica Waterhouse meets him, she finds herself craving more than just his sweet treats. But can a witch whose family is pressuring her to marry someone magical find true happiness with a mundane?
All These Bodies by Kendare Blake
If you’re a reader intrigued by novels inspired by real events, then Kendare Blake’s YA historical thriller should be on your Halloween reading list. The year is 1958 and 15-year-old Marie Catherine Hale finds herself the lead suspect in a series of killings dubbed the Bloodless Murders. Victims are found drained of all of their blood, and when Marie’s family is killed and she’s discovered covered in blood that isn’t her own, all eyes turn to her. But Michael Jensen, aspiring journalist and the sheriff’s son, isn’t certain that she’s guilty.
The Final Girl Support Group by Grady Hendrix
Grady Hendrix brings his love of all things horror to his latest novel by taking a look at the genre’s iconic final girl—the sole survivor of a slayer’s spree—and how they move on. Lynnette Tarkington and five others like her meet in a support group for those who lived through horrific events. Together they’re helping each other find a way forward, but when one of their own goes missing, Lynnette fears that someone is targeting them.
Dark and Shallow Lies by Ginny Myers Sain
Looking for a Southern Gothic? Ginny Myers Sain’s YA debut takes readers to a tiny town in Louisiana where a teenage girl has gone missing. Seventeen-year-old Grey lives in the Psychic Capital of the World, and yet not a single person can tell her what happened to her best friend Elora, who vanished six months ago. As Grey begins to investigate, she’s finally able to tune into her own psychic abilities—allowing her to see mysterious flashes of Elora’s memories.