Beware – Seriously Spooky Month is here!

I love spooky books for kids and teens!  If it’s got ghosts, witches, vampires (non-sparkly ones), zombies or anything supernatural I’ll read it.  So I’ve decided to dedicate a whole month to spooky stories.

Throughout Seriously Spooky Month in October I’m highlighting my favourite spooky and scary books for kids of all ages, from picture books right through to YA.  I’m also very excited to have some wonderful guest posts from authors and illustrators who create spooky books for kids, including Barry Hutchison, Chris Priestly, Gareth P. Jones, R.L. Stedman, Sue Copsey and James Foley.

Scare your socks off this October and join me for some Seriously Spooky reads!

Fur-ightfully Funny Adventures from Beyond the Grave

When Joe Edmunds makes a wish on an Egyptian amulet, little does he know that he has volunteered to guide and defend the undead pet inhabitants of his town…

If you know a young reader who likes adventure stories that are a bit spooky and really funny, then I’ve got a new series for you!  Undead Pets by Sam Hay is an awesome new series for 7+ featuring zombie animals and ‘pets with one last thing to do before they pass to the other side.’  As well as a great story (that boys especially will love) the books are illustrated throughout by Simon Cooper.  I especially like the cartoons that describe how each of the pets die.  I reckon the covers are terrific and are sure to jump off the shelves.  Young readers will get hooked on Undead Pets and they’ll gobble them up in no time.  They’re stand alone adventures so kids can start with any of the books.

Read all about the different books in the series below and watch the cool book trailer.

Return of the Hungry Hamster

Dumpling the hamster came to a dusty end inside a vacuum cleaner … but he suspects that his owner Oliver’s parents never admitted to their son that they were to blame for Dumpling’s demise. Now the hamster needs Joe’s help to reveal the truth – but there’s a furry surprise awaiting them at Oliver’s house…

Revenge of the Phantom Furball

Disaster strikes when Bonsai the pug chases Pickle the cat into the street, where she is flattened by a car. But the fact that Pickle has (almost) shuffled off her mortal coil isn’t her biggest concern; she is worried that Bonsai will pursue her sister Pebble into an early grave too, unless she and Joe teach the dog a lesson…

Night of the Howling Hound

Joe is off on a school trip to an adventure camp, and he can’t wait to put Uncle Charlie’s survival tips into practice! But it’s not long before he’s visited by Dexter, a scruffy-looking dog, with a howling tale of woe. Dexter doesn’t want his owner feeling guilty for his death, but it’ll be hard for Joe to intervene this time – it turns out that the owner is Joe’s headmaster, the dreaded Mr Hill!

Goldfish from Beyond the Grave

Just when Joe thought things couldn’t get any stranger, he is visited by Fizz, a zombie goldfish. Fizz was flushed down the toilet by his owner Danny’s little sister, who doesn’t realize that she’s sent the fish to a watery grave. Fizz needs to ensure the truth is revealed before his fellow fish meet a similar fate. But how do you get a goldfish to rest in peace?

Rise of the Zombie Rabbit

Fluffy’s owner, Olivia, lost a necklace in her back garden and she’s going to get in big trouble if it isn’t found. Fluffy can’t bear to see her owner in distress and she demands that Joe finds the necklace – now! Can Joe do what Fluffy wants or will the undead pet be hopping around forever?

My Favourite Seriously Spooky Authors for Halloween

Some of my favourite stories are ones that creep me out and send a chill down my spine.  When I was a kid there weren’t many authors who wrote horror stories or ghost stories.  R.L. Stine’s books were about the creepiest I could find and he’s still writing them today.

If you like horror stories, ghost stories or stories about the supernatural there are now lots of authors who write these stories.  My favourite seriously spooky authors are:

I also have to add Michelle Harrison, even though she writes all sorts of books.  Her recent book, Unrest is one of the creepiest books for kids or teens that I’ve ever read and I highly recommend it!

Who are your favourite spooky authors or spooky books?

Unrest by Michelle Harrison

Have you ever read a book that sent chills down your spine and made you want to sleep with the light on?  I’ve never read anything as haunting and spine-tingling as Unrest by Michelle Harrison.

Seventeen-year-old Elliott hasn’t slept properly for six months. Not since the accident that nearly killed him. Now he is afraid to go to sleep. Sometimes he wakes to find himself paralysed, unable to move a muscle, while shadowy figures move around him. Other times he is the one moving around, while his body lies asleep on the bed. According to his doctor, sleep paralysis and out of body experiences are harmless – but to Elliot they’re terrifying.

Convinced that his brush with death has opened up connections with the spirit world, Elliott secures a live-in job at one of England’s most haunted locations, determined to find out the truth. There he finds Sebastian, the ghost of a long-dead servant boy hanged for stealing bread. He also meets the living, breathing Ophelia, a girl with secrets of her own. She and Elliott grow closer, but things take a terrifying turn when Elliott discovers Sebastian is occupying his body when he leaves it. And the more time Sebastian spends inhabiting a living body, the more resistant he becomes to giving it back. Worse, he seems to have an unhealthy interest in Ophelia. Unless Elliott can lay Sebastian’s spirit to rest, he risks being possessed by him for ever, and losing the girl of his dreams…

Unrest is one of the creepiest books I’ve read, and Michelle Harrison had me considering leaving the light on at night.  It should come with a warning: Do not read at night!  Michelle’s writing is so descriptive that you feel like you’re in the room with Elliot, seeing and feeling everything that he does.  Michelle mentions in the author note that Elliot’s experiences are based on those of one of her relatives, and it is knowing that her story is based on fact that makes it even scarier.  One thing that I especially like about her writing was the way that she builds up tension, making you feel very on-edge as you read.  There are several strands of the story that Michelle weaves together like the Witch’s Ladder that becomes an important symbol for Elliot.

I thought both Elliot and Ophelia were really interesting characters.  Elliot has no idea why these horrible things keep happening to him while he is asleep and he has to deal with it by himself as nobody else believes him.  You experience everything that Elliot does because you’re inside his head and you empathize with him because you wouldn’t want to be in his situation.  I don’t think I’d be particularly sane if I woke each night to find myself paralysed and a dripping ghost was sitting on my chest.  Ophelia was a character that really grew on me.  At first, she’s quite snobbish and doesn’t want anything to do with Elliot.  She seems to have put barriers up to everyone and doesn’t want to get close to anyone (with good reason as we later find out).  As Elliot gets to know Ophelia he starts to break down her barriers and she becomes someone he can confide in.  The more I found out about Ophelia the more I liked her, and so does Elliot.

Unrest has the most shocking, unexpected ending of any book that I’ve read (I wasn’t even sure it would end on a positive note).  When I finished I could finally take a breath and marvel at the spine-tingling story Michelle had just told me.  If you like to be scared by the words on a page, you can’t go past Unrest.

5 out of 5 stars