Spooktacular Middle Grade and Young Adult Fall Reads
As the weather continues to cool and the leaves change, it is the perfect time for kids to cozy up with spooky books. Whether it be ghosts, spirits, witches, or overall fright, these books are a great way to get in the mood for the eeriest season of them all.
Find these recommendations and more on our Bookshop page.
Author: Claribel A. Ortega| Publisher: Scholastic Inc.
Ghosts have always been a part of 12 year old Lucely Luna’s life. Her family runs a ghost tour business and she can see the ghosts of her ancestors, who appear to her as fireflies. But when she and her best friend, Syd, accidentally awaken evil spirits, they must work together with Syd’s witch grandmother and her fat cat Chunk, to break the curse and save their town.
The publisher describes this book as “Coco meets Stranger Things with a hint of Ghostbusters,” so it’s great for kids looking for a heart warming, action-filled, magical adventure. Watch Ortega preview Ghost Squad and keep an eye out for her newest book, Witchlings, coming February 2022.
Author: Ellen Oh| Publisher: HarperCollins
A haunting yet mesmerizing middle grade novel about seventh grader, Harper Raine, who moves to a new home that is rumored to be haunted. Harper doesn’t believe the whispers until she starts to feel a strange presence and notices that her younger brother is acting bizarrely. As she learns more about the past and grapples with her own memories, will Harper be able to figure everything out in time to save her brother and house?
Educators, check out We Need Diverse Books, cofounded by author Ellen Oh, as well as the rest of the Spirit Hunters series.
Just South of Home
Author: Karen Strong| Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
In Just South of Home, Sarah is excited to have her first relaxing summer at home without being bogged down by chores from her overbearing grandmother, Mrs. Green. Then her adventurous cousin, Janie, shows up and begs Sarah to take her to Creek Church, a place that’s supposed to be haunted. What happens next changes their whole summer. They discover secrets from their town’s past, and are forced to work together to restore their town.
Use this discussion guide by Simon & Schuster Publishing to encourage further conversations about the book and the themes represented.
Author: Aiden Thomas| Publisher: Swoon Reads
When Yadriel’s traditional Latine family refuses to accept his gender, he becomes determined to prove that he is a real brujo. He performs the ritual himself so that he can find the ghost of his murdered cousin and free him. Instead, he summons the ghost of Julian Diaz, a teenager hoping to tie up loose ends before he leaves for good. As the two learn more about each other, they also learn more about themselves - and how they may not want to say goodbye to each other after all.
A celebration of culture, identity, friendship, and belonging great for lovers of Felix Ever After by Kacen Callender and Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Córdova.
This Learning for Justice article includes a STEM lesson that teaches kids about Día de Muertos.
The Taking of Jake Livingston
Author: Ryan Douglass| Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers
The Taking of Jake Livingston is about a teenager struggling with being one of the only black kids at his prep school. If that isn’t hard enough, Jake can also see ghosts. Though most are harmless, Jake meets Sawyer, a teen who shot and killed six kids at his high school before taking his own life. As Sawyer begins to haunt him and bodies begin showing up in his neighborhood, Jake begins the fight for survival. The publisher describes this book as, “Get Out meets Holly Jackson in this YA social thriller where survival is not a guarantee.”
White Smoke by Tiffany D. Jackson
Author: Tiffany D. Jackson| Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
A horror story, both in the literal and figurative sense, as Marigold runs from the ghosts that are hurting her new town as well as those from her old life that she can’t seem to escape. Though she just wants to make a fresh start in her family’s new Midwestern town, Marigold discovers that not all secrets can stay secrets. A truly horrifying novel that weaves current social issues into the classic haunted house format.
Check out this WNDB interview with the author where she talks about ghost tours, anxiety and her next book, a semi Carrie retelling called the Weight of Blood.
What are some of your favorite spooky fall reads?