Reading by the Genre

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A most commonly asked question here in the library is recommendations on horror books. It has been a genre that continues to grow more and more each year it seems. Whether it’s because of the shock factor or the suspense they carry-it’s a genre worth noting! A horror kids book that I really enjoy myself is Coraline. I remember really wanting to read this book shortly after seeing the movie, and I legitimately thought it was very spooky. What this book does rather well is that it does not give off the vibe of being scary at all. It isn’t until halfway through the book it begins to transcend into the horror genre. Not to mention, this was the book that made me an absolute fan of the author, Neil Gaiman.

Typically, horror goes hand and hand with this other equally popular genre-mystery! These two genres are basically like peanut butter and jelly, or should I say, Sherlock Holmes and his esteem sidekick, Dr. Watson. This was an especially interesting genre to me since I typically, but Lois Lowry does it again with another novel that I love: The Willoughbys. With its quirky characters and compelling story line, this book was a quick read. I adored every single moment of it.

I have compiled a list that is half horror and half mystery, to create one ultimate suspense lover’s recommendation list. These are all fantastic titles that I’ve either read, heard others enjoy, or that I have stumbled across recently.

Which one of these books would you read to shock yourself?

The Name of This Book is Secret by Pseudonymous Bosch

The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trent Lee Stewart

The Willoughbys by Lois Lowry

The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin

The London Eye Mystery by Siobhan Dowd

The Thief Lord by Cornelia Flunke

Coraline by Neil Gaiman

Dangerous Girls by R.L. Stine

The Night Gardener by Jonathan Auxier

Scary Stories Series by Alvin Schwartz

The Monstrumologist by Rick Yancey

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

When You Grow Up… (Marta)

“What do you want to be when you grow up?”  Inspired by this blog post, I asked the children’s department staff how they would have answered that question as a kid and why. Marta says…

From the time I was in 5th grade, I pretty much had my life goals laid out.  Become a famous author of scary books and possibly marry River Phoenix, if I could fit it into my busy celebrity life.  Obviously one of these dreams fell short much sooner than the other.

The dream of writing books, however, stuck with me for a long time.  Because I spent a lot of time reading scary horror books as a kid and teen, I wrote stories with the goal of scaring the tar out of the kids who were brave enough to read them.  I wrote every chance I got, even when my family went on vacation.   Books like Betty Ren Wright’s The Dollhouse Murders, Mary Downing Hahn’s Wait Till Helen Comes, and literally ANYTHING by R.L. Stine were some of my early favorites that I still recommend to kids who tell me they want something scary.  These authors are (or were) masters at their craft and inspired me to write.

Eventually, I realized that only the best authors get to lead a glamorous lifestyle, so I chose a field that would be more practical.  I have been able to share the scary writers that inspired me as a kid with the kindred spirits who come to the library asking for book suggestions.  It may not be as glamorous, but it certainly is a lot more fun!

Luckily, the same authors that inspired me also inspired many other writers who did go on to write some great stories that will give your kiddo a good scare with a great mystery.  Some of my favorites are The Crossroads by Chris Grabenstein, The Night Gardener by Jonathan Auxier, The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman, A Drowned Maiden’s Hair by Laura Amy Schlitz, Doll Bones by Holly Black, and the Skeleton Creek books by Patrick Carmen.