Halloween may not be for a little while yet, but we here at Penguin Teen are all about the summer scares. So if you’re looking for the next read that’s going to have you either buying a nightlight or bidding sleep adieu altogether, read on! 👻
The Companion by Katie Alender
Simply put: THIS FAMILY IS NOT ALRIGHT.
About the book:
The other orphans say Margot is lucky.
Harrow Lake by Kat Ellis
If you love horror movies, you’ll want to move this to the top of your list.
The Beautiful by Renée Ahdieh
This one will keep you up all night. Not because you’ll be scared, but because it will be AGONY to put it down. This slow-burn romance set in New Orleans, a city ruled by the death and tormented by the gruesome murders left in the wake of a serial killer on the loose, will have you flipping pages into the wee early morning hours.
About the book: In 1872, New Orleans is a city ruled by the dead. But to seventeen-year-old Celine Rousseau, New Orleans provides her a refuge after she’s forced to flee her life as a dressmaker in Paris. Taken in by the sisters of the Ursuline convent along with six other girls, Celine quickly becomes enamored with the vibrant city from the music to the food to the soirées and—especially—to the danger. She soon becomes embroiled in the city’s glitzy underworld, known as La Cour des Lions, after catching the eye of the group’s leader, the enigmatic Sébastien Saint Germain. When the body of one of the girls from the convent is found in the lair of La Cour des Lions, Celine battles her attraction to him and suspicions about Sébastien’s guilt along with the shame of her own horrible secret.
When more bodies are discovered, each crime more gruesome than the last, Celine and New Orleans become gripped by the terror of a serial killer on the loose—one Celine is sure has set her in his sights . . . and who may even be the young man who has stolen her heart. As the murders continue to go unsolved, Celine takes matters into her own hands and soon uncovers something even more shocking: an age-old feud from the darkest creatures of the underworld reveals a truth about Celine she always suspected simmered just beneath the surface.
The Haunted by Danielle Vega
This list requires at least one classic haunted house and a whole lot of ghosts, and The Haunted has both. And if you’re looking for a quick dose of scary, check out author Danielle Vega’s Spooky Hour series, in which she tells true scary stories sent in by readers!
About the book: Clean slate. That’s what Hendricks Becker-O’Malley’s parents said when they moved their family to the tiny town of Drearfield, New York. Hendricks wants to lay low and forget her dark, traumatic past. Forget him. But things don’t go as planned.
The Unleashed by Danielle Vega
Remember how The Haunted scared the hell out of you? Book 2 is basically going to have you sleeping with the lights on on a regular basis.
Undead Girl Gang by Lily Anderson
This squad is everything.
A Wicked Magic by Sasha Laurens
We are getting serious Sabrina vibes from this cover and WE ARE ABOUT IT.
About the book: Dan and Liss are witches. The Black Book granted them that power. Harnessing that power feels good, especially when everything in their lives makes them feel powerless.
During a spell gone wrong, Liss’s boyfriend is snatched away by an evil entity and presumed dead. Dan and Liss’s friendship dies that night, too. How can they practice magic after the darkness that they conjured?
Months later, Liss discovers that her boyfriend is alive, trapped underground in the grips of an ancient force. She must save him, and she needs Dan and the power of The Black Book to do so. Dan is quickly sucked back into Liss’s orbit and pushes away her best friend, Alexa. But Alexa has some big secrets she’s hiding and her own unique magical disaster to deal with.
When another teenager disappears, the girls know it’s no coincidence. What greedy magic have they awakened? And what does it want with these teens it has stolen?
A Line in the Dark by Malinda Lo
This book will give you absolute CHILLS.
About the book: The line between best friend and something more is a line always crossed in the dark.
Jess Wong is Angie Redmond’s best friend. And that’s the most important thing, even if Angie can’t see how Jess truly feels. Being the girl no one quite notices is OK with Jess anyway. If nobody notices her, she’s free to watch everyone else. But when Angie begins to fall for Margot Adams, a girl from the nearby boarding school, Jess can see it coming a mile away. Suddenly her powers of observation are more a curse than a gift.
As Angie drags Jess further into Margot’s circle, Jess discovers more than her friend’s growing crush. Secrets and cruelty lie just beneath the carefree surface of this world of wealth and privilege, and when they come out, Jess knows Angie won’t be able to handle the consequences.
When the inevitable darkness finally descends, Angie will need her best friend.
“It doesn’t even matter that she probably doesn’t understand how much she means to me. It’s purer this way. She can take whatever she wants from me, whenever she wants it, because I’m her best friend.
These Witches Don’t Burn by Isabel Sterling
Romance? Witches?? Magic??? Yes.
About the book: Hannah’s a witch, but not the kind you’re thinking of. She’s the real deal, an Elemental with the power to control fire, earth, water, and air. But even though she lives in Salem, Massachusetts, her magic is a secret she has to keep to herself. If she’s ever caught using it in front of a Reg (read: non-witch), she could lose it. For good. So, Hannah spends most of her time avoiding her ex-girlfriend (and fellow Elemental Witch) Veronica, hanging out with her best friend, and working at the Fly by Night Cauldron selling candles and crystals to tourists, goths, and local Wiccans.
But dealing with her ex is the least of Hannah’s concerns when a terrifying blood ritual interrupts the end-of-school-year bonfire. Evidence of dark magic begins to appear all over Salem, and Hannah’s sure it’s the work of a deadly Blood Witch. The issue is, her coven is less than convinced, forcing Hannah to team up with the last person she wants to see: Veronica.
While the pair attempt to smoke out the Blood Witch at a house party, Hannah meets Morgan, a cute new ballerina in town. But trying to date amid a supernatural crisis is easier said than done, and Hannah will have to test the limits of her power if she’s going to save her coven and get the girl, especially when the attacks on Salem’s witches become deadlier by the day.
This Coven Won’t Break by Isabel Sterling
Witches and magic and mayhem galore!!
They Wish They Were Us by Jessica Goodman
This is the Gossip Girl-esque elite prep school murder mystery your heart has been waiting for.
When I Am Through With You by Stephanie Kuehn
Talk about a camping trip gone VERY wrong.
About the book: A gripping story of survival and the razor’s-edge difference between perfect cruelty and perfect love.
“This isn’t meant to be a confession. Not in any spiritual sense of the word. Yes, I’m in jail at the moment. I imagine I’ll be here for a long time, considering. But I’m not writing this down for absolution and I’m not seeking forgiveness, not even from myself. Because I’m not sorry for what I did to Rose. I’m just not. Not for any of it.”
Ben Gibson is many things, but he’s not sorry and he’s not a liar. He will tell you exactly about what happened on what started as a simple school camping trip in the mountains. About who lived and who died. About who killed and who had the best of intentions. But he’s going to tell you in his own time. Because after what happened on that mountain, time is the one thing he has plenty of.
MEME by Aaron Starmer
Ever wonder what would happen if a meme got taken *way* too far?
About the book: A tense, psychological thriller for the internet age about the destructive combination of self-important goals and self-serving plans.
Cole Weston—former friend, former boyfriend—has become dangerous, erratic. Something needs to be done. Getting rid of Cole is practically a public service. So high school seniors Holly Morse, Grayson Hobbs, Logan Bailey, and Meeka Miller devise a plan. Kill Cole. Bury him in the woods behind Meeka’s house. Bury him deep, deep in the ground along with four old cell phones, wiped except for their video confession as insurance that no one will ever betray the group. Everything is perfect, until the meme appears. It’s a screenshot from their confession… a confession that’s supposed to be entombed with Cole forever in the cold Vermont dirt.
Girls Save the World in This One by Ash Parsons
Did someone say zombies?? At ZOMBIECON??
About the book: Mega-fan June Blue’s whole life has been leading up to this moment: ZombieCon!The Ultimate in Undead Entertainment has finally come to her hometown. She and her two best friends–gorgeous, brilliant Imani and super-sweet, outrageously silly Siggy–plan on hitting all the panels and photo ops, and meeting the heartthrob lead of their favorite zombie apocalypse show, Human Wasteland. It’s going to be the best time of their lives–and one of their last adventures before they all split up for college.
And when they arrive, everything seems perfect. June’s definitely not going to let anything get in the way
of the flawless con experience–even though she’s endlessly anxious about the SATs and college admissions,
and she can’t seem to avoid her ex-best friend Blair, whose VIP badge lets her walk straight to the front of every single line. No matter what, June is determined to make the best of her dream day at ZombieCon!
But something’s not quite right at the con–there are strange people in hazmat suits running around, enthusiastic cosplayers taking their shambling a little too far, and someone actually biting a cast member. Then, at a panel gone wrong, June and her friends discover the truth: the zombie apocalypse is here.
Now June, Imani, and Siggy must do whatever it takes to survive a horde of actual flesh-eating zombies–
and save the world. A hilarious and heartfelt horror comedy, that is an ode to zombies, friendship, and girl power.