1) The Merciless by Danielle Vega
“The Merciless is chilling…think ‘Mean Girls’ meets ‘The Exorcist.'”—MTV.com
“Pretty Little Liars fans, get a sneak peek at your new favorite book The Merciless…a nail biting thriller.”—Seventeen Magazine
Danielle Vega delivers blood-curdling suspense and terror on every page with The Merciless, a thrilling debut novel perfect for fans of Robin Wasserman’s The Waking Dark and Neil Gaiman’s Trigger Warning.
Brooklyn Stevens sits in a pool of her own blood, tied up and gagged. No one outside of these dank basement walls knows she’s here. No one can hear her scream.
Sofia Flores knows she shouldn’t have gotten involved. When she befriended Riley, Grace, and Alexis on her first day at school, she admired them, with their perfect hair and their good-girl ways. They said they wanted to save Brooklyn. They wanted to help her. Sofia didn’t realize they believed Brooklyn was possessed.
Now, Riley and the girls are performing an exorcism on Brooklyn—but their idea of an exorcism is closer to torture than salvation. All Sofia wants is to get out of this house. But there is no way out. Sofia can’t go against the other girls…unless she wants to be next.
By the shockingly twisted end, readers will be faced with the most haunting question of all: Is there evil in all of us?
2) Survive the Night by Danielle Vega
Stephen King meets Pretty Little Liars in this pulse-pounding novel from the author of The Merciless
Just back from rehab, Casey regrets letting her friends Shana, Julie, and Aya talk her into coming to Survive the Night, an all-night, underground rave in a New York City subway tunnel. Surrounded by frightening drugs and menacing strangers, Casey doesn’t think Survive the Night could get any worse…
…until she comes across Julie’s mutilated body in a dank, black subway tunnel, red-eyed rats nibbling at her fingers. Casey thought she was just off with some guy—no one could hear her getting torn apart over the sound of pulsing music. And by the time they get back to the party, everyone is gone.
Desperate for help, Casey and her friends find themselves running through the putrid subway tunnels, searching for a way out. But every manhole is sealed shut, and every noise echoes eerily in the dark, reminding them they’re not alone.
They’re being hunted.
Trapped underground with someone—or something—out to get them, Casey can’t help but listen to Aya’s terrified refrain: “We’re all gonna die down here.”
3) The Cemetery Boys by Heather Brewer
Part Hitchcock, part Hinton, this first-ever stand-alone novel from Heather Brewer, New York Times bestselling author of the acclaimed Chronicles of Vladimir Tod series, uses classic horror elements to tell a darkly funny coming-of-age story about the dangerous power of belief and the cost of blind loyalty.
When Stephen’s dad says they’re moving, Stephen knows it’s pointless to argue. They’re broke from paying Mom’s hospital bills, and now the only option left is to live with Stephen’s grandmother in Spencer, a backward small town that’s like something out of The Twilight Zone. Population: 814.
Stephen’s summer starts looking up when he meets punk girl Cara and her charismatic twin brother, Devon. With Cara, he feels safe and understood—and yeah, okay, she’s totally hot. In Devon and his group, he sees a chance at making real friends. Only, as the summer presses on, and harmless nights hanging out in the cemetery take a darker turn, Stephen starts to suspect that Devon is less a friend than a leader. And he might be leading them to a very sinister end. . . .
4) Liars, Inc. by Paul Stokes
A dark and twisted psychological tale, which Kirkus Reviews called “captivating to the very end” in a starred review—perfect for fans of I Hunt Killers and Gone Girl.
Max Cantrell has never been a big fan of the truth, so when the opportunity arises to sell forged permission slips and cover stories to his classmates, it sounds like a good way to make a little money. So with the help of his friend Preston and his girlfriend, Parvati, Max starts Liars, Inc. Suddenly everybody needs something, and the cash starts pouring in. Who knew lying could be so lucrative?
When Preston wants his own cover story to go visit a girl he met online, Max doesn’t think twice about it. But then Preston never comes home. And the evidence starts to pile up—terrifying clues that lead to Preston’s body.
Terrifying clues that point to Max as the killer….
5) The Third Twin by CJ Omololu
Identical twins. Identical DNA. Identical suspects. It’s Pretty Little Liars meets Revenge in this edge-of-your-seat thriller with a shocking twist.
When they were little, Lexi and her identical twin, Ava, made up a third sister, Alicia. If something broke? Alicia did it. Cookies got eaten? Alicia’s guilty. Alicia was always to blame for everything.
The game is all grown up now that the girls are seniors. They use Alicia as their cover to go out with boys who are hot but not exactly dating material. Boys they’d never, ever be with in real life.
Now one of the guys Alicia went out with has turned up dead, and Lexi wants to stop the game for good. As coincidences start piling up, Ava insists that if they follow the rules for being Alicia, everything will be fine. But when another boy is killed, the DNA evidence and surveillance photos point to only one suspect—Alicia. The girl who doesn’t exist.
As she runs from the cops, Lexi has to find the truth before another boy is murdered. Because either Ava is a killer . . . or Alicia is real.
6) They All Fall Down by Roxanne St. Claire
If you can’t wait for the premiere of Fox TV’s hot new series, Scream Queens, you will race through the pages of this pulse-pounding thriller. It’s Pretty Little Liars meets Final Destination as this group of high school elites uncover whose plotting to off each and every one of them.
Every year, the lives of ten girls at Vienna High are transformed.
All because of the list.
Kenzie Summerall can’t imagine how she’s been voted onto a list of the hottest girls in school, but when she lands at number five, her average life becomes dazzling. Doors open to the best parties, new friends surround her, the cutest jock in school is after her.
This is the power of the list. If you’re on it, your life changes.
If you’re on it this year? Your life ends.
7) Very Bad Things by Susan McBride
A dark, moody, boarding-school murder mystery teens won’t be able to put down.
Katie never thought she’d be the girl with the popular boyfriend. She also never thought he would cheat on her–but the proof is in the photo that people at their boarding school can’t stop talking about. Mark swears he doesn’t remember anything. But Rose, the girl in the photo, is missing, and Mark is in big trouble. Because it looks like Rose isn’t just gone . . . she’s dead.
Maybe Mark was stupid, but that doesn’t mean he’s a killer.
Katie needs to find out what really happened, and her digging turns up more than she bargained for, not just about Mark but about someone she loves like a sister: Tessa, her best friend. At Whitney Prep, it’s easy to keep secrets . . . especially the cold-blooded kind.
8) Ten by Gretchen McNiel
From Possess author Gretchen McNeil comes this teen horror novel inspired by Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None. Perfect for fans of Christopher Pike’s Chain Letter and Lois Duncan’s I Know What You Did Last Summer, Ten will keep readers on the edge of their seats until the very last page!
It was supposed to be the weekend of their lives—an exclusive house party on Henry Island. Best friends Meg and Minnie are looking forward to two days of boys, booze, and fun-filled luxury. But what starts out as fun turns twisted after the discovery of a DVD with a sinister message: Vengeance is mine. And things only get worse from there.
With a storm raging outside, the teens are cut off from the outside world . . . so when a mysterious killer begins picking them off one by one, there’s no escape. As the deaths become more violent and the teens turn on one another, can Meg find the killer before more people die? Or is the killer closer to her than she could ever imagine?
9) I Hunt Killers by Barry Lyga
It was a beautiful day. It was a beautiful field.
Except for the body.
Jazz is a likable teenager. A charmer, some might say.
But he’s also the son of the world’s most infamous serial killer, and for Dear Old Dad, “Take Your Son to Work Day” was year-round. Jazz has witnessed crime scenes the way cops wish they could–from the criminals’ point of view.
And now, even though Dad has been in jail for years, bodies are piling up in the sleepy town of Lobo’s Nod. Again.
In an effort to prove murder doesn’t run in the family, Jazz joins the police in the hunt for this new serial killer. But Jazz has a secret–could he be more like his father than anyone knows?
From acclaimed author Barry Lyga comes a riveting thriller about a teenager trying to control his own destiny in the face of overwhelming odds.
10) Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
A New York Times #1 best seller
On the New York Times Best Seller List for more than 52 consecutive weeks
Includes an excerpt from the much-anticipated sequel and an interview with author Ransom Riggs
A mysterious island.
An abandoned orphanage.
A strange collection of very curious photographs.
It all waits to be discovered in Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, an unforgettable novel that mixes fiction and photography in a thrilling reading experience. As our story opens, a horrific family tragedy sets sixteen-year-old Jacob journeying to a remote island off the coast of Wales, where he discovers the crumbling ruins of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. As Jacob explores its abandoned bedrooms and hallways, it becomes clear that the children were more than just peculiar. They may have been dangerous. They may have been quarantined on a deserted island for good reason. And somehow—impossible though it seems—they may still be alive. A spine-tingling fantasy illustrated with haunting vintage photography, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children will delight adults, teens, and anyone who relishes an adventure in the shadows.
11) Hollow City by Ransom Riggs
September 3, 1940. Ten peculiar children flee an army of deadly monsters. And only one person can help them—but she’s trapped in the body of a bird. The extraordinary journey that began in Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children continues as Jacob Portman and his newfound friends journey to London, the peculiar capital of the world. There, they hope to find a cure for their beloved headmistress, Miss Peregrine. But in this war-torn city, hideous surprises lurk around every corner. And before Jacob can deliver the peculiar children to safety, he must make an important decision about his love for Emma Bloom. Like its predecessor, this second novel in the Peculiar Children series blends thrilling fantasy with vintage photography to create a one-of-a-kind reading experience.
12) Library of Souls by Ransom Riggs
Time is running out for the Peculiar Children. With a dangerous madman on the loose and their beloved Miss Peregrine still in danger, Jacob Portman and Emma Bloom are forced to stage the most daring of rescue missions. They’ll travel through a war-torn landscape, meet new allies, and face greater dangers than ever. . . . Will Jacob come into his own as the hero his fellow Peculiars know him to be? This action-packed adventure features more than 50 all-new Peculiar photographs.
13) Long Lankin by Lindsey Barraclough
In an exquisitely chilling debut novel, four children unravel the mystery of a family curse — and a ghostly creature known in folklore as Long Lankin.
When Cora and her younger sister, Mimi, are sent to stay with their elderly aunt in the isolated village of Byers Guerdon, they receive a less-than-warm welcome. Auntie Ida is eccentric and rigid, and the girls are desperate to go back to London. But what they don’t know is that their aunt’s life was devastated the last time two young sisters were at Guerdon Hall, and she is determined to protect her nieces from an evil that has lain hidden for years. Along with Roger and Peter, two village boys, Cora must uncover the horrifying truth that has held Bryers Guerdon in its dark grip for centuries — before it’s too late for little Mimi. Riveting and intensely atmospheric, this stunning debut will hold readers in its spell long after the last page is turned.
14) The Mark of Cain by Lindsey Barraclough
1567 Aphra is not a normal child. Found abandoned as a baby among the reeds and rushes, the two outcast witches who raise her in their isolated cottage are never sure if she was born, or just pushed up through the foul, black mud for them to find. Little Aphra’s gifts in the dark craft are clear, even as an infant, but soon even her guardians begin to fear her. When a violent fire destroys their home, Aphra is left to fend for herself. Years of begging and stealing make her strong, but they also make her bitter, for she is shunned and feared by everyone she meets. Until she reaches Bryers Guerdon and meets the man they call Long Lankin – the leper. Ostracized and tormented, he is the only person willing to help her. And together, they plot their revenge. 1962 Four years have passed since the death of Ida Guerdon, and Cora is back in Bryers Guerdon in the manor house her aunt left to her. It is a cold, bitter winter, and the horrifying events of that sweltering summer in 1958 seem long past. Until Cora’s father arranges for some restoration work to take place at Guerdon Hall, and it seems that something hidden there long ago has been disturbed. The spirit of Aphra Rushes – intent on finishing what she began, four centuries ago.
15) The Diviners by Libba Bray
Do you believe there are ghosts and demons and Diviners among us?
Evie O’Neill has been exiled from her boring old hometown and shipped off to the bustling streets of New York City–and she is pos-i-tute-ly ecstatic. It’s 1926, and New York is filled with speakeasies, Ziegfeld girls, and rakish pickpockets. The only catch is that she has to live with her uncle Will and his unhealthy obsession with the occult.
Evie worries he’ll discover her darkest secret: a supernatural power that has only brought her trouble so far. But when the police find a murdered girl branded with a cryptic symbol and Will is called to the scene, Evie realizes her gift could help catch a serial killer.
As Evie jumps headlong into a dance with a murderer, other stories unfurl in the city that never sleeps. And unknown to all, something dark and evil has awakened….
16) Lair of Dreams by Libba Bray
The longing of dreams draws the dead, and this city holds many dreams.
After a supernatural showdown with a serial killer, Evie O’Neill has outed herself as a Diviner. With her uncanny ability to read people’s secrets, she’s become a media darling, and earned the title “America’s Sweetheart Seer.” Everyone’s in love with the city’s newest It Girl…everyone except the other Diviners.
Piano-playing Henry Dubois and Chinatown resident Ling Chan are two Diviners struggling to keep their powers a secret–for they can walk in dreams. And while Evie is living the high life, victims of a mysterious sleeping sickness are turning up across New York City.
As Henry searches for a lost love and Ling strives to succeed in a world that shuns her, a malevolent force infects their dreams. And at the edges of it all lurks a man in a stovepipe hat who has plans that extend farther than anyone can guess….As the sickness spreads, can the Diviners descend into the dreamworld to save the city?
In this heart-stopping sequel to The Diviners, Printz Award-winning and New York Times bestselling author Libba Bray takes readers deeper into the mystical underbelly of New York City.
17) The Shining Girls by Lauren Beukes
The girls who wouldn’t die hunts the killer who shouldn’t exist.
The future is not as loud as war, but it is relentless. It has a terrible fury all its own.”
Harper Curtis is a killer who stepped out of the past. Kirby Mazrachi is the girl who was never meant to have a future.
Kirby is the last shining girl, one of the bright young women, burning with potential, whose lives Harper is destined to snuff out after he stumbles on a House in Depression-era Chicago that opens on to other times.
At the urging of the House, Harper inserts himself into the lives of the shining girls, waiting for the perfect moment to strike. He’s the ultimate hunter, vanishing into another time after each murder, untraceable-until one of his victims survives.
Determined to bring her would-be killer to justice, Kirby joins the Chicago Sun-Times to work with the ex-homicide reporter, Dan Velasquez, who covered her case. Soon Kirby finds herself closing in on the impossible truth . . .
The Shining Girls is a masterful twist on the serial killer tale: a violent quantum leap featuring a memorable and appealing heroine in pursuit of a deadly criminal.
18) Compulsion by Martina Boone
Three plantations. Two wishes. One ancient curse.
All her life, Barrie Watson has been a virtual prisoner in the house where she lived with her shut-in mother. When her mother dies, Barrie promises to put some mileage on her stiletto heels. But she finds a new kind of prison at her aunt’s South Carolina plantation instead–a prison guarded by an ancient spirit who long ago cursed one of the three founding families of Watson Island and gave the others magical gifts that became compulsions.
Stuck with the ghosts of a generations-old feud and hunted by forces she cannot see, Barrie must find a way to break free of the family legacy. With the help of sun-kissed Eight Beaufort, who knows what Barrie wants before she knows herself, the last Watson heir starts to unravel her family’s twisted secrets. What she finds is dangerous: a love she never expected, a river that turns to fire at midnight, a gorgeous cousin who isn’t what she seems, and very real enemies who want both Eight and Barrie dead.
19) Persuasion by Martina Boone
Romeo and Juliet meets In the Midnight Garden of Good and Evil in the spellbinding second novel in the Heirs of Watson Island trilogy that “skillfully blends rich magic and folklore with adventure, sweeping romance, and hidden treasure” (Publishers Weekly, on Compulsion).
Grieving the death of her godfather and haunted by her cousin Cassie’s betrayal, Barrie returns from a trip to San Francisco to find the Watson plantation under siege. Ghost-hunters hope to glimpse the ancient spirit who sets the river on fire each night, and reporters chase rumors of a stolen shipment of Civil War gold that may be hidden at Colesworth Place. The chaos turns dangerous as Cassie hires a team of archeologists to excavate beneath the mansion ruins. Because more is buried there than treasure.
A stranger filled with magic arrives at Watson’s Landing claiming that the key to the Watson and Beaufort gifts–and the Colesworth curse–also lies beneath the mansion. With a mix of threats and promises, the man convinces Barrie and Cassie to cast a spell there at midnight. But what he conjures may have deadly consequences.
While Barrie struggles to make sense of the escalating peril and her growing and forbidden feelings for Eight Beaufort, it’s impossible to know whom to trust and what to fight for–Eight or herself. Millions of dollars and the fate of the founding families is at stake. Now Barrie must choose between what she feels deep in her heart and what will keep Watson’s Landing safe in this stunning addition to a series filled with “decadent settings, mysterious magic, and family histories rife with debauchery” (Kirkus Reviews, on Compulsion).
20) The Witch Hunter by Virginia Boecker
The magic and suspense of Graceling meet the political intrigue and unrest of Game of Thrones in this riveting fantasy debut.
Your greatest enemy isn’t what you fight, but what you fear.
Elizabeth Grey is one of the king’s best witch hunters, devoted to rooting out witchcraft and doling out justice. But when she’s accused of being a witch herself, Elizabeth is arrested and sentenced to burn at the stake.
Salvation comes from a man she thought was her enemy. Nicholas Perevil, the most powerful and dangerous wizard in the kingdom, offers her a deal: he will save her from execution if she can break the deadly curse that’s been laid upon him.
But Nicholas and his followers know nothing of Elizabeth’s witch hunting past–if they find out, the stake will be the least of her worries. And as she’s thrust into the magical world of witches, ghosts, pirates, and one all-too-handsome healer, Elizabeth is forced to redefine her ideas of right and wrong, of friends and enemies, and of love and hate.
Virginia Boecker weaves a riveting tale of magic, betrayal, and sacrifice in this unforgettable fantasy debut.
21) The Fall by Bethany Griffin
Madeline Usher has been buried alive. The doomed heroine comes to the fore in this eerie reimagining of Edgar Allan Poe’s classic short story “The Fall of the House of Usher.” Gothic, moody, and suspenseful from beginning to end, The Fall is literary horror for fans of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Childrenand Asylum.
Madeline awakes in a coffin. And she was put there by her own twin brother. But how did it come to this? In short, non-chronological chapters, Bethany Griffin masterfully spins a haunting and powerful tale of this tragic heroine and the curse on the Usher family. The house itself is alive, and it will never let Madeline escape, driving her to madness just as it has all of her ancestors. But she won’t let it have her brother, Roderick. She’ll do everything in her power to save him—and try to save herself—even if it means bringing the house down around them.
With a sinister, gothic atmosphere and relentless tension to rival Poe himself, Bethany Griffin creates a house of horrors and introduces a whole new point of view on a timeless classic. Kirkus Reviews praised it in a starred review as “A standout take on the classic haunted-house tale replete with surprises around every shadowy corner.”
22) Asylum by Madeleine Roux
Madeleine Roux’s New York Times bestselling Asylum is a thrilling and creepy photo-illustrated novel that Publishers Weekly called “a strong YA debut that reveals the enduring impact of buried trauma on a place.” Featuring found photographs from real asylums and filled with chilling mystery and page-turning suspense, Asylum is a horror story that treads the line between genius and insanity, perfect for fans of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children.
For sixteen-year-old Dan Crawford, the New Hampshire College Prep program is the chance of a lifetime. Except that when Dan arrives, he finds that the usual summer housing has been closed, forcing students to stay in the crumbling Brookline Dorm—formerly a psychiatric hospital. As Dan and his new friends Abby and Jordan start exploring Brookline’s twisty halls and hidden basement, they uncover disturbing secrets about what really went on here . . . secrets that link Dan and his friends to the asylum’s dark past. Because Brookline was no ordinary mental hospital, and there are some secrets that refuse to stay buried.
23) Sanctum by Madeleine Roux
In this chilling, fast-paced sequel to the New York Times bestsellingAsylum, which Publishers Weekly called “a strong YA debut that reveals the enduring impact of buried trauma on a place,” three teens must return to the asylum that still haunts their dreams to end the nightmare once and for all. With the page-turning suspense and horror that made Asylum such a standout, and featuring found photographs from real vintage carnivals, Sanctum is a mind-bending reading experience that’s perfect for fans of the smash hit Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children.
Dan, Abby, and Jordan remain traumatized by the summer they shared in the Brookline asylum. Much as they’d love to move on, many questions remain, and someone is determined to keep the terror alive, sending the teens photos of an old-timey carnival, with no note and no name. Forsaking their plan never to go back, the teens return to New Hampshire College under the guise of a weekend for prospective students, and there they realize that the carnival from the photos is not only real, it’s here on campus, apparently for the first time in many years.
Sneaking away from sample classes and college parties, Dan and his friends lead a tour of their own—one through the abandoned houses and hidden places of a surrounding town. Camford is hiding a terrible past, and the truth behind Dan’s connection to the asylum’s evil warden is more terrifying than Dan ever imagined.
24) Catacomb by Madeleine Roux
The heart-stopping third book in the New York Times bestselling Asylum series follows three teens as they take a senior year road trip to one of America’s most haunted cities, uncovering dangerous secrets from their past along the way. With all the thrills, chills, and eerie found photographs that led Publishers Weekly to call Asylum “a strong YA debut,” Catacomb is perfect for fans for Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children.
Sometimes the past is better off buried.
Senior year is finally over. After all they’ve been through, Dan, Abby, and Jordan are excited to take one last road trip together, and they’re just not going to think about what will happen when the summer ends. But on their way to visit Jordan’s uncle in New Orleans, the three friends notice that they’re being followed . . . and photographed. Then Dan starts receiving messages from someone he didn’t expect to hear from again—someone who died last Halloween.
When the trio arrives in New Orleans and the strange occurrences only escalate, Dan is forced to accept that everything that has happened to him in the past year may not be a coincidence, but fate—a fate that ties Dan to a group called the Bone Artists, who have a sinister fascination with notorious killers of the past.
Now Dan’s only hope is that he will make it out of his senior trip alive.
25) The Replacements by Brenna Yovanoff
Mackie Doyle is The Replacement – left in the crib of a human baby sixteen years ago. He has been raised among us. But he is not one of us. Now, he must face the dark creatures of the slag heaps from which he came and find his rightful place – in our world or theirs.
“Unsettling villains and intriguing moral ambivalence make this effort shockingly original and . . .breathtaking.” – Booklist, starred review
“Even after finishing the book, readers will be left with the eerie sensation that . . . the true darkness has yet to abate.” – BCCB, starred review
“Well-developed characters, a fascinating Fairy Court, an exciting story line, wicked cover art . . .this book has the makings of a success.” – Publishers Weekly
“A fast-paced, dark delicacy.” – Kirkus Reviews