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13 spine-tingling tales for kids who love scary stories

These books are perfect for your middle-schooler

13 spine-tingling tales for kids who love scary stories

ThriftBooks.com, the world’s largest independent seller of secondhand books, has been providing high-quality, affordable books in the community for more than 20 years.  With hundreds of categories, there are used books for everyone!

As part of its ongoing celebration of the spooky season, ThriftBooks is featuring books for kids who enjoy stories about dark magic and otherworldly creatures. If your young reader relishes hair-raising yarns, ghost stories, and thrilling paranormal mysteries, below are thirteen eerie middle-grade reads to set the mood of the season. 

Cece Rios and the Desert of Souls by Kaela Rivera 

Living in the remote town of Tierra del Sol is dangerous, especially during the season when powerful spirits called criaturas roam the desert threatening humankind. When Cece's older sister, Juana, is kidnapped by a powerful dark criatura, Cece sets out on a perilous mission to bring Juana back. 

Georgia, 1922: On the night that a cruel act took her home and father from her, 
Ophie learned she could see ghosts. Now, living with relatives and working as maids in an old manor, Ophie and her mother are trying to get back on their feet. But things get complicated when Ophie meets a ghost who met an untimely end. 

Wait Till Helen Comes by Mary Downing Hahn 

Tensions rise in a newly blended family when the malicious younger stepsister to Molly and Michael claims that she has been talking to a ghost, Helen, who is coming for them. It seems as if things can't get any worse. But they do—when Helen comes. This creepy classic is also now available as a graphic novel. 



Séance Tea Party by Reimena Yee

Growing up seems terrible to Lora. Nobody has time to do anything fun anymore. As her circle of friends seem to fade away, Lora struggles to have fun on her own. During a tea party with a twist, Lora connects with Alexa, the ghost that haunts her house and the two become fast friends. But nothing can last forever.


Living Ghosts and Mischievous Monsters: Chilling American Indian Stories by Dan Sasuweh Jones 

Dark figures in the night. An owl's cry on the wind. Monsters watching from the edge of the wood. Some of the creatures in these pages might only have a message for you, but others are the stuff of nightmares. The author, a member of Ponca Nation, celebrates the American Indian tradition of ghost stories.  

WANT MORE SPOOKY STORIES? Visit your local library

Root Magic by Eden Royce 

Twins Jez and Jay have always been fascinated by rootwork, the African American folk magic that has been the legacy of their family for generations. And now their uncle is training them in the practice of it. And it's not a moment too soon, as evil forces crop up in their small South Carolina town. 

The Ghost of Midnight Lake by Lucy Strange 

It's 1899. The Earl of Gosswater has died, and twelve-year-old Agatha has been cast out of her ancestral home by her cruel cousin. As she struggles to adjust to her new life and a father she's never known, she comes face to face with the restless spirit of another young girl who may hold the key to Aggie's true identity. 

Long Lost by Jacqueline West 

When her family moves to be closer to her sister's figure skating club, Fiona is isolated and lonely. In her new town's library, she finds a mysterious book that blurs the line between fiction and reality. As Fiona uncovers the book's strange history, she finds that both help and danger come from unexpected places. 

Be Wary of the Silent Woods by Svetlana Chmakova 

In the Night Realm, vampires, shifters, weirns, and werewolves pass for human and roam the streets . . . but they still have to go to school. The Golden Compass meets Stranger Things in this fun graphic novel about supernatural kiddos living life and solving mysteries along the way.  

The Girl and the Ghost by Hanna Alkaf 

A Malaysian folk tale comes to life in this emotionally layered, chilling middle grade debut, perfect for fans of The Jumbies and Furthermore. Suraya is delighted when her witch grandmother gifts her a pelesit, a spirit to serve her. But Suraya doesn't realize that pelesits have a dark side—until it's too late. 

The In-Between by Rebecca Ansari 

Ever since his father left their family three years ago, Cooper has been lost. So he welcomes the distraction of a hundred-year-old mystery surrounding a deadly train crash and a missing boy. As Cooper and his sister investigate, they uncover impossible coincidences between the disaster and the creepy girl next door. 

The Clackity by Lora Senf 

Evie lives in Blight Harbor—the seventh-most haunted town in America—with her Aunt Desdemona, the local paranormal expert. Des doesn't have many rules except one: Stay out of the abandoned slaughterhouse at the edge of town. But when her aunt disappears into the building, Evie goes searching for her. 

Hide and Seeker by Daka Hermon 

Justin's best friend Zee went missing for a year. And when he comes back, he won't talk about where he's been. At Zee's welcome home party, they play Hide and Seek. But it goes wrong. Very wrong. One by one, Justin and his friends are pulled into the horrifying place where Zee was trapped. 

If you know a young reader who can't get enough of spooky tales about ghosts, witches, and monsters, these freaky reads may be just the thing—especially as Halloween approaches. 

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