Top Ten Vintage YA Horror Novels

Posted July 12, 2023 by Brin in Memes, Top Ten Tuesday / 3 Comments

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Top Ten Vintage YA Horror Novels

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday prompt is a freebie and while everyone is enjoying the long-awaited summer, I’ve decided to go a bit spooky and list my favourite vintage YA horror novels (who says I need to wait for Halloween? haha!)

This teen horror genre used to be huge when I was younger – there were so many titles aimed at the YA market. Of course, I also used to read more adult themed horror written by Stephen King, Dean Koontz, John Saul, James Herbert, and Richard Laymon to name-drop just a few… but that didn’t mean that the books specifically targeted to teenagers didn’t have a massive appeal for me.

The teen horror genre has waned over the years although there are still plenty of recent YA books that fall into this category. I tend to find that the days of serialised horror series are mostly behind us now though. Point Horror, Nightmares, Fear Street, Goosebumps, Terror Academy, Nightmare Hall (an offshoot of the Point Horror series), Twilight Where Darkness Begins, Dark Forces and other such like-minded series – these were massively popular with teens and sometimes even younger kids (heck, I was reading horror as a pre-teen myself!) I do sometimes miss the days when this trend was popular… what can I say, I’m someone who is very nostalgic for the past – especially when it comes to books!

I’m now a day late with this post (I had started it yesterday but got side-tracked by life stuff)! I’ve also decided to list books I haven’t included on any other vintage recommendation posts (I have a few: herehere | here | here | here) just to make it a bit more challenging for me! 😉


top ten vintage ya horror novels

1. Whisper of Death by Christopher Pike

I always loved this particular Pike book – it featured his usual brand of crazy mixed with just a little bit extra craziness thrown in for good measure!

2. Whispers from the Dead by Joan Lowery Nixon

I didn’t mean to put two books with ‘whisper’ in the titles together (honestly, just a happy accident haha!) It’s been a long time since I read this one but I remember it being more than a little spooky…

top ten vintage ya horror novels

3. Summer of Fear by Lois Duncan

Lois Duncan books never failed to disappoint teenage me! This one was one of her supernatural-ish ones and it was a firm favourite of mine for a long time. I re-read it again a few years ago and it still stood the test of time.

4. Witch by Christopher Pike

This is one that I liked but didn’t really appreciate as much back in the day. It definitely hit me more when I read it as an adult and it’s one I highly recommend.

top ten vintage ya horror novels

5. Monster by Diane Hoh

I can remember this one being one of my favourite Nightmare Hall books (it’s for sure the one I recall the most clearly!) Most of these were pretty decent though.

6. Class Trip by Bebe Faas Rice

This was one of my favourite of the Nightmares imprint of teen horror books. It was definitely inspired by slasher films like Friday the 13th, Sleepaway Camp and the like and I enjoyed it immensely.

top ten vintage ya horror novels

7. Sixteen Candles by Nicholas Pine

I used to really love the Terror Academy books (a shorter horror series). This one was my favourite because I related to the main character a lot. Definitely worth checking out.

8. Help Wanted by Richie Tankersley Cusick

You always knew you were in for a (frightening!) treat with a Richie Tankersley Cusick Point Horror title! She was one of my favourite writers who wrote for the series and this one was really very good.

top ten vintage ya horror novels

9. Down a Dark Hall by Lois Duncan

This was probably my favourite Lois Duncan novel (after Stranger With My Face) and it still holds up really well. I love the atmosphere and the supernatural element is tied in nicely to the plot. A cracker of a book!

10. The Fog by Caroline B. Cooney

The start of a trilogy, I really love the atmosphere of this little series and Cooney’s books are always really well-written and paced. Definitely a long-time favourite (which I really need to re-read again!)


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3 responses to “Top Ten Vintage YA Horror Novels

  1. RS

    The glory days!! I never read Pike but Cooney was always a reliable source for me. I think I even read 2/3 in that trilogy, possibly without realizing it WAS a trilogy…but yeah, I don’t even remember half of them but I read as many books like this as I could find in the library, once I’d exhausted their supply of Fear Street books. So glad to see a fellow appreciator. Did you ever read Bobby’s Watching by Ted Pickford? That’s the only one I remember being too scary for me, for some reason, even though when I did read it as an adult it didn’t seem any worse than the rest.

    Class Trip is the one that sounds most up my alley from this set; I would snap that up so fast if I saw it at Goodwill or a book sale or something.

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