Stephen King is truly having a moment. From Hollywood movie adaptions like The Dark Tower and It to TV shows like Mr. Mercedes to his bestselling new novel Sleeping Beauties, cowritten with his son Owen, his work truly is everywhere. But what should you do once you’ve seen the adaptions and read the books and are looking for more thrills and chills in the style of King? Check out these eerie and wonderful YA reads!
If you love Stephen King’s evil animals, like Cujo and the cat from Pet Sematary, this is the book for you. Sidney is looking forward to getting off the small Maine island where she grew up to go to veterinary school. But when a strange hurricane blows in, it brings not just wind and rain—it brings something that turns every creature on the island, tiny and large alike, deadly. Now Sidney is just hoping to survive the storm.
What could be more Stephen King-esque than an eerie, uninhabited island off the coast of Maine with a dark history? Rilla Brae, a lobsterwoman born and bred in Maine, knows the sea well. But when she experiences the sudden death of her father, the veil between the living and the dead blurs and she begins to be haunted by a girl on a nearby mysterious island. Then Rilla meets Sam, an archeology student who tells her the island has a history no locals talk about—if they know about it at all. As Rilla helps Sam to unearth the island’s many secrets, Rilla’s visions grow—until the two discover a tragedy kept silent for years.
I can’t think of haunted hotels without thinking of The Overlook Hotel from The Shining. If you’re looking to check into another creepy hotel, head to the Hotel Ruby with Audrey Casella. When she and her family stop there for the night after a long day of driving, nothing is as it seems. This hotel has everything, from the unsettling concierge Kenneth, mysterious and handsome guest Elias Lange, a nightly fancy party in the ballroom—invitation only, and Audrey seems to be the only one not invited—and naturally, a creepy 13th floor.
If you love ghostly stories like King’s Bag of Bones, here is the story of Penny, who is forced to spend the summer with her stepmother in the remote woods of Washington, renovating an old house. Carver House has abandoned antique furniture, rich architectural details, and its own chilling past. The only respite Penny can find is Miller, the young guy who runs the local general store. But Miller has his own connection to the Carver house, and it’s one that goes beyond the mysterious tapping Penny hears at her window, the handprints she finds smudging the glass panes, and the visions of children who beckon Penny to follow them into the dark woods. Miller’s past just might threaten to become the terror of Penny’s future…
Some of my favorite Stephen King books are his short story collections, which include classic stories like “Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption” and “The Body,” which both became beloved movies. If you’re looking for some bite-size scares, check out this collection, featuring over twenty stories and poems from renowned writers such as R. L. Stine, Neal and Brendan Shusterman, and Ellen Hopkins—all members of the Horror Writers Association—about what they fear most. Their stories tackle a wide range of terrors, from ghosts to personal demons. Pick your poison!