October 29, 2019 • Cee • Lists

I am a scaredy cat. Specifically when it comes to scary or spooky subjects movies/tv/books.

I can’t watch anything without holding my hands over my eyes, willing the movie to move pass the suspense and put me out of my misery. (I always have my finger hovering the fast forward button.) I can’t read a book without peering over my shoulders or looking around my surroundings as if the monster or ghost will pop and scare the living daylight out of me.

I don’t seek out these scary things…but I somehow pick it up because of curiosity sake or it fits a certain vibe I like reading (*ahem* gothic creepiness!!!!)

And with Halloween right around the corner, people like to read and watch scary things. Some of the best scary books I’ve read are written for kids. For those who teach, or have kids, these are great ones you can introduce to your kids. (You’ll want to cramp all these books onto your “READ THIS NOW” list.)

In this post, here are Middle Grade books for young readers that explores various scary monsters! (The ones with an opened synopsis are the ones I HIGHLY recommend!

MIDDLE GRADE BOOKS

If you want to read books about GHOSTS, pick up:

  • A Properly Unhaunted Place by William Alexander

Buy: Goodreads · Amazon · Barnes & Noble · The Book Depository · Indiebound · Indigo · Library

What is A Properly Unhaunted Place about?
Rosa Ramona Díaz has just moved to the small, un-haunted town of Ingot—the only ghost-free town in the world. She doesn’t want to be there. She doesn’t understand how her mother—a librarian who specializes in ghost-appeasement—could possibly want to live in a place with no ghosts. Frankly, she doesn’t understand why anyone would.

Jasper Chevalier has always lived in Ingot. His father plays a knight at the local Renaissance Festival, and his mother plays the queen. Jasper has never seen a ghost, and can’t imagine his un-haunted town any other way. Then an apparition thunders into the festival grounds and turns the quiet town upside down.

Something otherworldly is about to be unleashed, and Rosa will need all her ghost appeasement tools—and a little help from Jasper—to rein in the angry spirits and restore peace to Ingot before it’s too late.

  • Small Spaces by Katherine Arden

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What is Small Spaces about?
After suffering a tragic loss, eleven-year-old Ollie who only finds solace in books discovers a chilling ghost story about a girl named Beth, the two brothers who loved her, and a peculiar deal made with “the smiling man”–a sinister specter who grants your most tightly held wish, but only for the ultimate price.

Captivated by the tale, Ollie begins to wonder if the smiling man might be real when she stumbles upon the graves of the very people she’s been reading about on a school trip to a nearby farm. Then, later, when her school bus breaks down on the ride home, the strange bus driver tells Ollie and her classmates: “Best get moving. At nightfall they’ll come for the rest of you.” Nightfall is, indeed, fast descending when Ollie’s previously broken digital wristwatch begins a startling countdown and delivers a terrifying message: RUN.

Only Ollie and two of her classmates heed these warnings. As the trio head out into the woods–bordered by a field of scarecrows that seem to be watching them–the bus driver has just one final piece of advice for Ollie and her friends: “Avoid large places. Keep to small.”

And with that, a deliciously creepy and hair-raising adventure begins.

  • Dead Voices (Small Spaces #2) by Katherine Arden

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What is Dead Voices series about?
Having survived sinister scarecrows and the malevolent smiling man in Small Spaces, newly minted best friends Ollie, Coco, and Brian are ready to spend a relaxing winter break skiing together with their parents at Mount Hemlock Resort. But when a snowstorm sets in, causing the power to flicker out and the cold to creep closer and closer, the three are forced to settle for hot chocolate and board games by the fire.

Ollie, Coco, and Brian are determined to make the best of being snowed in, but odd things keep happening. Coco is convinced she has seen a ghost, and Ollie is having nightmares about frostbitten girls pleading for help. Then Mr. Voland, a mysterious ghost hunter, arrives in the midst of the storm to investigate the hauntings at Hemlock Lodge. Ollie, Coco, and Brian want to trust him, but Ollie’s watch, which once saved them from the smiling man, has a new cautionary message: BEWARE.

With Mr. Voland’s help, Ollie, Coco, and Brian reach out to the dead voices at Mount Hemlock. Maybe the ghosts need their help–or maybe not all ghosts can or should be trusted.

Dead Voices is a terrifying follow-up to Small Spaces with thrills and chills galore and the captive foreboding of a classic ghost story.

  • School of the Dead by Avi

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What is School of the Dead about?
For most of Tony Gilbert’s life, he has thought of his uncle as “Weird Uncle Charlie.” That is, until Uncle Charlie moves in with Tony and his family. Uncle Charlie is still odd, of course—talking about spirits and other supernatural stuff—but he and Tony become fast friends, and Tony ends up having a lot of fun with Uncle Charlie.

When Uncle Charlie dies suddenly, Tony is devastated. Then he starts seeing Uncle Charlie everywhere! It doesn’t help that Tony switched schools—it was Uncle Charlie’s dying wish that Tony attend the Penda School, where Uncle Charlie himself went as a kid. The Penda School is eerie enough without his uncle’s ghost making it worse. On top of that, rumors have been circulating about a student who went missing shortly before Tony arrived. Could that somehow be related to Uncle Charlie’s ghost?

  • Doll Bones by Holly Black

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What is Doll Bones about?
Zach, Poppy and Alice have been friends for ever. They love playing with their action figure toys, imagining a magical world of adventure and heroism. But disaster strikes when, without warning, Zach’s father throws out all his toys, declaring he’s too old for them. Zach is furious, confused and embarrassed, deciding that the only way to cope is to stop playing . . . and stop being friends with Poppy and Alice.

But one night the girls pay Zach a visit, and tell him about a series of mysterious occurrences. Poppy swears that she is now being haunted by a china doll – who claims that it is made from the ground-up bones of a murdered girl. They must return the doll to where the girl lived, and bury it. Otherwise the three children will be cursed for eternity . . .

  • The Peculiar Incident of Shady Street by Lindsay Currie

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What is The Peculiar Incident of Shady Street about?
Tessa Woodward isn’t exactly thrilled to move to rainy, cold Chicago from her home in sunny Florida. But homesickness turns to icy fear when unexplainable things start happening in her new house. Things like flickering lights, mysterious drawings appearing out of nowhere, and a crackling noise she can feel in her bones.

When her little brother’s doll starts crying real tears, Tessa realizes that someone—or something—is trying to communicate with her. A secret that’s been shrouded in mystery for more than one hundred years.

With the help of three new friends, Tessa begins unraveling the mystery of what happened in the house on Shady Street—and more importantly, what it has to do with her!

  • A Curious Tale of the In-Between by Lauren DeStefano

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What is A Curious Tale of the In-Between about?
Pram Bellamy is special–she can talk to ghosts. She doesn’t have too many friends amongst the living, but that’s all right. She has her books, she has her aunts, and she has her best friend, the ghostly Felix.

Then Pram meets Clarence, a boy from school who has also lost a parent and is looking for answers. Together they arrive at the door of the mysterious Lady Savant, who promises to help. But this spiritualist knows the true nature of Pram’s power, and what she has planned is more terrifying than any ghost.

  • Wait Till Helen Comes by Mary Downing Hahn

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What is Wait Till Helen Comes about?
Twelve-year-old Molly and her ten-year-old brother, Michael, have never liked their seven-year-old stepsister, Heather. Ever since their parents got married, she’s made Molly and Michael’s life miserable. Now their parents have moved them all to the country to live in a house that used to be a church, with a cemetery in the backyard. If that’s not bad enough, Heather starts talking to a ghost named Helen and warning Molly and Michael that Helen is coming for them. Molly feels certain Heather is in some kind of danger, but every time she tries to help, Heather twists things around to get her into trouble. It seems as if things can’t get any worse.

But they do — when Helen comes.

  • Took: A Ghost Story by Mary Downing Hahn

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What is Took: A Ghost Story about?
“Folks say Old Auntie takes a girl and keeps her fifty years—then lets her go and takes another one.”

Thirteen-year-old Daniel Anderson doesn’t believe Brody Mason’s crazy stories about the ghost witch who lives up on Brewster’s Hill with Bloody Bones, her man-eating razorback hog. He figures Brody’s probably just trying to scare him since he’s the new kid . . . a “stuck-up snot” from Connecticut. But Daniel’s seven-year-old sister Erica has become more and more withdrawn, talking to her lookalike doll. When she disappears into the woods one day, he knows something is terribly wrong. Did the witch strike? Has Erica been “took”?

  • The Year of Shadows by Claire Legrand

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What is The Year of Shadows about?
Olivia Stellatella is having a rough year.

Her mother’s left, her neglectful father—the maestro of a failing orchestra—has moved her and her grandmother into the city’s dark, broken-down concert hall to save money, and her only friend is Igor, an ornery stray cat.

Just when she thinks life couldn’t get any weirder, she meets four ghosts who haunt the hall. They need Olivia’s help—if the hall is torn down, they’ll be stuck as ghosts forever, never able to move on.

Olivia has to do the impossible for her shadowy new friends: Save the concert hall. But helping the dead has powerful consequences for the living…and soon it’s not just the concert hall that needs saving.

  • Spirit Hunters by Ellen Oh

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What is Spirit Hunters about?
Harper doesn’t trust her new home from the moment she steps inside, and the rumors are that the Raine family’s new house is haunted. Harper isn’t sure she believes those rumors, until her younger brother, Michael, starts acting strangely.

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?

  • City of Ghosts by Victoria Schwab

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What is City of Ghosts about?
Ever since Cass almost drowned (okay, she did drown, but she doesn’t like to think about it), she can pull back the Veil that separates the living from the dead . . . and enter the world of spirits. Her best friend is even a ghost.

So things are already pretty strange. But they’re about to get much stranger.

When Cass’s parents start hosting a TV show about the world’s most haunted places, the family heads off to Edinburgh, Scotland. Here, graveyards, castles, and secret passageways teem with restless phantoms. And when Cass meets a girl who shares her “gift,” she realizes how much she still has to learn about the Veil — and herself.

And she’ll have to learn fast. The city of ghosts is more dangerous than she ever imagined.

  • Tunnel of Bones by Victoria Schwab

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What is Tunnel of Bones series about?
The thrilling sequel to Victoria Schwab’s New York Times bestselling City of Ghosts! Trouble is haunting Cassidy Blake . . . even more than usual.

She (plus her ghost best friend, Jacob, of course) are in Paris, where Cass’s parents are filming their TV show about the world’s most haunted cities. Sure, it’s fun eating croissants and seeing the Eiffel Tower, but there’s true ghostly danger lurking beneath Paris, in the creepy underground Catacombs.

When Cass accidentally awakens a frighteningly strong spirit, she must rely on her still-growing skills as a ghosthunter — and turn to friends both old and new to help her unravel a mystery. But time is running out, and the spirit is only growing stronger.

And if Cass fails, the force she’s unleashed could haunt the city forever.

  • The Haunting of Henry Davis by Kathryn Siebel

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What is The Haunting of Henry Davis series about?
Ghosts only haunt when they’ve left something behind…

When Henry Davis moves into the neighborhood, Barbara Anne and her classmates at Washington Carver Elementary don’t know what to make of him. He’s pale, small, odd. For curious Barbara Anne, Henry’s also a riddle–a boy who sits alone at recess sketching in a mysterious notebook, a boy, she soon learns, who’s being haunted by a ghost named Edgar.

With the help of some new friends, this unlikely duo is off on an adventure to discover who Edgar was while alive and why he’s haunting Henry now. Together, they might just help Edgar find what he needs to finally be at peace.

  • The Mesmerist by Ronald L. Smith

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What is The Mesmerist about?
Thirteen-year-old Jessamine Grace and her mother make a living as sham spiritualists—until they discover that Jess is a mesmerist and that she really can talk to the dead. Soon she is plunged into the dark world of Victorian London’s supernatural underbelly and learns that the city is under attack by ghouls, monsters, and spirit summoners. Can Jess fight these powerful forces? And will the group of strange children with mysterious powers she befriends be able to help? As shy, proper Jess transforms into a brave warrior, she uncovers terrifying truths about the hidden battle between good and evil, about her family, and about herself.

If you want to read books that has GOTHIC CREEPINESS vibes, pick up:

  • The Night Gardener by Jonathan Auxier

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What is The Night Gardener about?
A New York Times bestseller, The Night Gardener is a Victorian ghost story with shades of Washington Irving and Henry James. More than just a spooky tale, it’s also a moral fable about human greed and the power of storytelling.

The Night Gardener follows two abandoned Irish siblings who travel to work as servants at a creepy, crumbling English manor house. But the house and its family are not quite what they seem. Soon the children are confronted by a mysterious spectre and an ancient curse that threatens their very lives. With Auxier’s exquisite command of language, The Night Gardener is a mesmerizing read and a classic in the making.

  • The Cavendish Home for Boys and Girls by Claire Legrand

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What is The Cavendish Home for Boys and Girls about?
Victoria hates nonsense. There is no need for it when your life is perfect. The only smudge on her pristine life is her best friend Lawrence. He is a disaster–lazy and dreamy, shirt always untucked, obsessed with his silly piano. Victoria often wonders why she ever bothered being his friend. (Lawrence does too.)

But then Lawrence goes missing. And he’s not the only one. Victoria soon discovers that The Cavendish Home for Boys and Girls is not what it appears to be. Kids go in but come out . . . different. Or they don’t come out at all.

If anyone can sort this out, it’s Victoria–even if it means getting a little messy.

  • Elizabeth and Zenobia by Jessica Miller

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What is Elizabeth and Zenobia about?
Abandoned by her mother and neglected by her scientist father, timid Elizabeth Murmur has only her fearless friend, Zenobia, for company. And Zenobia’s company can be very trying! When Elizabeth’s father takes them to live in his family home, Witheringe House, Zenobia becomes obsessed with finding a ghost in the creepy old mansion and forces Elizabeth to hold séances and wander the rooms at night. With Zenobia’s constant pushing, Elizabeth investigates the history of the house and learns that it does hold a terrible secret: Her father’s younger sister disappeared from the grounds without a trace years ago.

  • Hoodoo by Ronald L. Smith

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What is Hoodoo about?
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. He’ll just need to learn how to conjure first.

Set amid the swamps, red soil, and sweltering heat of small town Alabama in the 1930s, Hoodoo is infused with a big dose of creepiness leavened with gentle humor.

If you want to read books about MONSTERS, pick up:

  • Amelia Fang and the Barbaric Ball by Ellen Oh

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What is Amelia Fang and the Barbaric Ball about?
Amelia Fang would much rather hang out with her pet pumpkin Squashy and her friends Florence the yeti (DON’T CALL HER BEAST!) and Grimaldi the reaper than dance at her parents’ annual Barbaric Ball.

Then the King’s spoiled son Tangine captures Squashy, Amelia and her friends must escape the party to plan a daring rescue!

In their race against time, they begin to realize things in Nocturnia may not be quite what they seem…

  • A Babysitter’s Guide to Monster Hunting by Joe Ballarini

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What is A Babysitter's Guide to Monster Hunting about?
When middle schooler Kelly Ferguson’s Halloween plans switch from party-going to babysitting, she thinks the scariest part of her night will be the death of her social life. But then Baby Jacob gets kidnapped by the Boogeyman’s minions and Kelly learns there’s a whole lot more to childcare than free snacks and Netflix. Like chasing shadow monsters, drop-kicking Toadies, and mastering monster-fighting moves like the Naptime Headlock and Playground Punch.

Now, with the help of an ancient handbook and a secret society of butt-kicking babysitters, Kelly sets out to destroy the Boogeyman before he brings Jacob’s nightmares to life. But when the monsters’ trail leads to her school’s big Halloween bash, Kelly will have to prove she can save the world—without totally embarrassing herself in front of her friends.

Packed with black-and-white illustrations and insider secrets from the world of monster hunting, A Babysitter’s Guide to Monster Hunting is full of tricks, treats, and terrifying twists!

  • The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

Buy: Goodreads · Amazon · Barnes & Noble · The Book Depository · Indiebound · Indigo · Library

What is The Graveyard Book about?
IT TAKES A GRAVEYARD TO RAISE A CHILD.

Nobody Owens, known as Bod, is a normal boy. He would be completely normal if he didn’t live in a graveyard, being raised by ghosts, with a guardian who belongs to neither the world of the living nor the dead. There are adventures in the graveyard for a boy—an ancient Indigo Man, a gateway to the abandoned city of ghouls, the strange and terrible Sleer. But if Bod leaves the graveyard, he will be in danger from the man Jack—who has already killed Bod’s family.

  • Ernestine, Catastrophe Queen by Merrill Wyatt

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What is Ernestine, Catastrophe Queen about?
In this tantalizing mystery that’s “filled with laugh out loud moments” and “reads like a middle-grade version of the movie Clue”, Ernestine is the smart, spunky, and fearless Nancy Drew for today’s young readers!

When a series of suspicious accidents befalls the wealthy residents of the retired artists’ home where she works, Ernestine is determined to piece together clues to find the real culprit. She suspects it might be a zombie, but maybe greedy relatives can be just as scary!

“Catastrophe has never been so much fun!”

  • Bunnicula: A Rabbit Tale of Mystery by Deborah & James Howe

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What is Bunnicula about?
BEWARE THE HARE!

Is he or isn’t he a vampire?

Before it’s too late, Harold the dog and Chester the cat must find out the truth about the newest pet in the Monroe household — a suspicious-looking bunny with unusual habits…and fangs!

  • Goosebumps: Welcome to Dead House by R.L. Stine

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What is Goosebumps: Welcome to Dead House about?
11-year-old Josh and 12-year-old Amanda just moved into the oldest and weirdest house on the block–the two siblings think it might even be haunted! But of course, their parents don’t believe them. You’ll get used to it, they say. Go out and make some new friends.

But the creepy kids are not like anyone Josh and Amanda have ever met before. And when they take a shortcut through the cemetery one night, Josh and Amanda learn why

Have you read these spoooooky books?

 

One Response to “SCARY, SPOOKY MIDDLE GRADE BOOKS • For Kids (Part 2)”

  1. I’ve only read The Graveyard Book and Small Spaces- they’re great and perfect for the halloween season!


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