Chills and Thrills: Spooky Stories for Teens
Do you know a teen reader who loves a scary story? These books deliver goosebumps, chills, and a good dose of horror — and introduce readers to a fascinating mix of cultural traditions. Whether they're looking for ghosts, vampires, black magic, jumbies, or murderous skeletons hiding in the closet (or just outside the window), these memorable titles are sure to keep readers turning pages late into the sleepless night!
Books for younger readers are featured on our Spooky Stories for Kids booklist.
Elatsoe — Ellie for short — lives in an alternate contemporary America shaped by the ancestral magics and knowledge of its Indigenous and immigrant groups. She can raise the spirits of dead animals—most importantly, her ghost dog Kirby. When her beloved cousin dies, all signs point to a car crash, but his ghost tells her otherwise: He was murdered. Who killed him and how did he die?
Ghosts of the Rio Grande Valley
Tradition meets tragedy in the chilling local lore of the Rio Grande Valley. Hidden in the dense brush and around oxbow lakes wait sinister secrets, unnerving vestiges of the past and wraiths of those claimed by the winding river. The spirit of a murdered student in Brownsville paces the locker room where she met her end. Tortured souls of patients lost in the Harlingen Insane Asylum refuse to be forgotten. Guests at the LaBorde Hotel in Rio Grande City report visions of the Red Lady, who was spurned by the soldier she loved, and driven to suicide.
Twelve-year-old Hoodoo Hatcher was born into a family with a rich tradition of practicing folk magic: hoodoo, as most people call it. But even though his name is Hoodoo, he can't seem to cast a simple spell. Then a mysterious man called the Stranger comes to town, and Hoodoo starts dreaming of the dead rising from their graves. Even worse, he soon learns the Stranger is looking for a boy. Not just any boy. A boy named Hoodoo. The entire town is at risk from the Stranger's black magic, and only Hoodoo can defeat him.
Ever since the morning Molly woke up to find that her parents had vanished, her life has become filled with terrible questions. Where have her parents gone? Who is this spooky old man who's taken her to live with him, claiming to be her great-uncle? Why does he never eat, and why does he lock her in her room at night? What are her dreams of the Skeleton Man trying to tell her? There's one thing Molly does know: she needs to find some answers before it's too late.
Ellen Oh, founder of the We Need Diverse Books movement, returns with Spirit Hunters, a high-stakes middle grade mystery about Harper Raine, a Korean-American new seventh grader in town who must face down the dangerous ghosts haunting her younger brother. The whole atmosphere gives Harper a sense of déjà vu, but she can’t remember why. She knows that the memories she’s blocking will help make sense of her brother’s behavior and the strange and threatening sensations she feels in this house, but will she be able to put the pieces together in time?
Summer of the Mariposas
Product Description: When Odilia and her four sisters find a dead body in the swimming hole, they embark on a hero's journey to return the dead man to his family in Mexico. But returning home to Texas turns into an odyssey that would rival Homer's original tale. With the supernatural aid of ghostly La Llorona, Odilia and her little sisters travel a road of tribulation to their long-lost grandmother's house. Along the way, they must outsmart a witch and her Evil Trinity.
The Immortal Rules (Blood of Eden)
Allison Sekemoto survives in the Fringe, the outermost circle of a walled-in city. By day, she and her crew scavenge for food. By night, any one of them could be eaten. Some days, all that drives Allie is her hatred of them — the vampires who keep humans as blood cattle. Until the night Allie herself dies…and becomes one of the monsters.
The Jumbies, Book 1: The Jumbies
Corinne La Mer claims she isn't afraid of anything. Not scorpions, not the boys who tease her, and certainly not jumbies. They're just tricksters made up by parents to frighten their children. Then one night Corinne chases an agouti all the way into the forbidden forest, and shining yellow eyes follow her to the edge of the trees. They couldn't belong to a jumbie. Or could they? Based on the stories she heard as a child growing up in Trinidad and Tobago, Tracey Baptiste weaves folklore from the Caribbean throughout this spooky tale.
The Jumbies, Book 2: The Rise of the Jumbies
Corinne LaMer defeated the wicked jumbie Severine months ago, but things haven’t exactly gone back to normal in her Caribbean island home. Everyone knows Corinne is half-jumbie, and many of her neighbors treat her with mistrust. When local children begin to go missing, snatched from the beach and vanishing into wells, suspicious eyes turn to Corinne.
The Jumbies, Book 3: The Jumbie God's Revenge
Huracan summons the wind and rain and wields lightning like a sword. He doesn’t miss and he never falters. He will destroy everything in his path if he desires. When an out-of-season hurricane sweeps through Corinne’s seaside village, she knows it’s not an ordinary storm. At first Corinne believes Mama D’Leau, the powerful and cruel jumbie who rules the ocean, has caused the hurricane.
The Night Wanderer: A Native Gothic Novel
Product Description: Nothing ever happens on the Otter Lake reservation. But when 16-year-old Tiffany discovers her father is renting out her room, she's deeply upset. Little do Tiffany, her father or even her astute Granny Ruth suspect the truth that their guest is actually a vampire, returning to his tribal home after centuries spent in Europe — but Tiffany has other things on her mind. Fed up and heartsick, Tiffany threatens drastic measures and flees home. There, in the midnight woods, a chilling encounter with the vampire changes everything…for both of them.
The Return of Skeleton Man
Molly thought she'd put her traumatic past behind her when she escaped from Skeleton Man last year. She rescued her parents and tried to get her life back to the way it used to be. She thought her family would live happily ever after and just be normal again. She thought wrong. Skeleton Man is back for revenge — but this time Molly is ready. In this long-awaited sequel to the award-winning Skeleton Man, Joseph Bruchac revisits his most terrifying villain yet.
See more great related resources and videos in our Multicultural Literature section!