Today, we’re talking about chills and thrills.  Because it’s that time of year.  You now what we mean.   😉   And so, in no particular semblance of order, the Youth Room staff presents it first collaborative book blog.

doll bonesDoll Bones by Holly Black

For years, Zach, Poppy and Alice have been playing a game with action figures to create exciting adventure stories.  The world they created is filled with pirates, warriors, thieves and mermaids, all overseen by the Great Queen.  The Great Queen is actually a bone china doll that Alice’s mom keeps locked in a glass display case.   When Zach’s dad throws away all his figures, telling him he is too old to play with “dolls,” everything changes.  Afraid if he tells his friends about what his dad did when he couldn’t control his rage, Zach stops playing the game and being friends with Poppy and Alice.  Late one night the girls visit Zach and tell him that Alice has been having nightmares. She knows that the Great Queen is made of the ground bones and filled with the ashes of a child who was murdered.  The spirit inside the doll  will not be able to rest and will continue to haunt them until she is buried in her proper grave.  They must embark on a real life adventure to make a trip to a town in another state,  and return the doll to her rightful resting place.  This book is both creepy and realistically scary as the kids head out in the dead of night to return the doll home.

Coralinecoraline by Neil Gaiman

Coraline is bored and lonely.  Her family has moved into a new house and her parents are so busy working they don’t have time for her.  She is on her own in a large strange house.  In her exploration she finds a locked door.  Her mom unlocks it, but it opens to a brick wall.  Coraline starts to have strange dreams. In her dreams, when she unlocked the door, it opened into  hallway that led to another house that looked almost like hers, but not quite. She walked into a kitchen that almost like hers, but not quite.  She saw a woman who was almost like her mother, but not quite.   She also finds a man who is like her father, but not quite.  They both have big black button eyes.  These “other” parents are very  interested in Coraline and wants her stay in their world forever.  She loves the attention at first, but she realizes that they are a threat to her real parents.  Coraline has to save herself and her family.

CreepoverCreepover  series by PJ Night
Whether you like a gentle chill or an outright fright, this series delivers.  Each book focuses on one story, and books are about 100 pages long.  These chapter books range from fairly tame to really creepy to outright eerie.  Nothing gory, violent, or gratuitous.  But most of this series is not for the faint of heart.  Cliffhangers do not insure a happy, pat ending.  In fact, you  may want to check the Creep-O-Meter on the back of theCreepover 2 book before you start reading.  That’s right.  The publisher actually gives the reader a gauge so you can check your comfort level.  Some very intense times. But lots of fun along the way.  This series will mostly appeal to girls ages 9-11 who appreciate a good psychological or supernatural thrill.

In a Dark, Dark Room by Alvin Schwartzin a dark dark room
This book just never gets old for me.  Even though it is really old.  Once I realized that I love a good scare in a book (scary things being much easier to deal with in a book than actual scariness), this became one of my perennial faves.  This beginning reader book contains several easy-to-read silly, scary stories that have just the right level of tension to qualify as scary, but not enough so much that you never pick up another spooky book.  I give it to lots of kids.  I hope that’s okay with all you folks.  This book will appeal to the kid who loves ghost stories with a silly ending.  This book is about 60 pages long, and is intended for readers in first and second grade to read on their own.  It also works well as a read-along for adults to share with children.

Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark by Alvin Schwartz
Stephen Gammell’s eerie artwork fuels vivid imaginations when you read Schwartz’s classic ghost stories.  You’ll find plenty of suspenseful, knee-jerking experiences in this book.  Stories are brief, which is great if you have a storyteller looking to impress friends at a sleepover.  Schwartz provides plenty of creepy fodder for kids to develop their own repertoires of spooky stories, to the tune of 100 pages.  The intended audience for reading this book aloud is third or fourth grade, depending on the person’s tolerance of spooky stories.  And if you have one of those kids who can never get enough, rest easy.  There is also More Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark, as well as Scary Stories 3.

The Dollhouse Murder dollhouseby Betty Ren Wright

In this scary mystery, Amy is visiting her Aunt Clare. Her spooky old house that was the scene for the unsolved murder of her grandparents years ago. In the attic, Amy finds a dollhouse that looks exactly like her Aunt’s house. She noticed something strange. When she looked in the house, the doll’s positions had changed.They seemed to be trying to tell Amy something. Did the dolls know what happened to her grandparents that night years ago?  Could Amy solve this mystery that had haunted her family for years?

Lockwood1The Screaming Staircase by Jonathan Stroud

First in a creepy series set in a haunted London, where, ever since the ‘Problem’, deadly ghosts take over the city every night. They’re dangerous and they want to kill you. Only kids and teens can actually see the ghosts. Those kids with the strongest abilities are hired to track down and defeat the ghosts, sending them to their final resting place. Lucy joins Lockwood & Co., a small agency, who isn’t exactly top of the line but always seems to get the job done. The ghosts are creepy and dangerous. Not the hardest of horrors but a nice spine-tingling mystery for middle school students and an interesting mystery for even our high schoolers.

Uunspokenunspokenby Sarah Rees Brennan

The first book in a completed trilogy definitely gives off the spooky vibes. Kami Glass has lived her whole life in a sleepy English town where nothing exciting or different happens. Until the old blood family of the Lynburns move back into town. All of a sudden, her little town is not so sleepy, with weird ritual animal murders and someone out to get her when she starts asking questions. Add in the boy literally in her head, who is now maybe real as well and things are more than a little strange. Kami, a budding journalist, is absolutely determined to get to the bottom of this. Will she survive to figure it out? Great for late middle school and high school.

the raven boysThe Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

The Raven Boys series isn’t scary, but boy does it have an eerie thing going. Blue Sargent is the only non-psychic person in a family of psychics. She’s been told as long as she remembers that the first person she kisses will die. Not only that, but the book starts out with a parade of those who will die in the next year in their small town. Included among them is a teenage boy from the local fancy prep school. A boy that Blue appears destined to not only meet but befriend on his quest to awaken a long dead Welsh king. Yeah, it sounds strange, but Maggie Stiefvater’s lyrical writing  and amazing description keeps you on the edge of your seat, wondering what’s going to happen to the friends next – and will Gansey really die? The last book in this series comes out in January, so you have just enough time to catch up before the ultimate volume in the series.

The Dark by Lemony Snicket, illustrated by Jon Klassen

Do you like your picture books creepy? In a deep, psychological way? In a possibly not for children kind of way? Well, Lemony Snicket and Jon Klassen deliver in this collaboration. Laszlo lives in a creaky, old house, alone except for the dark. Mostly the dark spends its time in the basement, but it comes out at night. And one night it visits Laszlo in his room, extinguishing his night light and inviting him to come see something. By the end Laszlo is no longer afraid of the dark. One hopes the same is true for readers.

I Don’t Like Koala koalaby Sean Ferrell, illustrated by Charles Santoso

If The Darkisn’t the psychological thriller you were hoping for, try this picture book on for size. Adam hates his stuffed animal, Koala, who is “the most terrible terrible.” He tries and tries to escape his toy, but no matter what he does, Koala is there. Closer than close. Is there a happy ending? Not really. Consider reading this book to yourself before sharing it with a child (though perhaps preschoolers are more ready for this than your average adult?).

Creepy Carrots by Aaron Reynolds, illustrated by Peter Brown

Oh! You want a picture book you can safely read with a child? Why didn’t you say so earlier. In Creepy Carrots, Jasper Rabbit just loves the fat, crunchy carrots that grow in Crackenhopper Field. He eats them every chance he gets. Then he starts to see and hear carrots everywhere he goes, lurking in every dark corner, ready to get him back. The creepiness is real, but the premise is silly and the conclusion happy. It’s a perfect book to share with preschoolers and kindergartners.