Six of the best Horror Series
Halloween is almost upon us – and what better time to get your pupils immersed in terrifying tales of werewolves, vampires, monsters and more?
When Barry and I were growing up (Barry’s note: “Oi! You’re ten years older than me!”), there was no such thing as horror for young people; we had to read books that were far too old for us. Now, there are plenty of junior horror series around to satisfy just about every age group. Here are our top six suggestions…
(The Enemy, The Dead, The Fear, The Sacrifice)
Strictly for teenagers (and an increasing adult fan base), this gripping series by former Fast Show comedian, Charlie Higson, puts a new spin on the classic zombie tale. Set in modern day Britain, everyone over the age of fourteen is hit my a terrible mutating disease which essentially turns its victims into the shuffling undead. Teen readers will root for the brilliantly drawn young characters as they struggle to survive and begin to fight back in a world where adults are suddenly out to eat them.
(Too many to name!)
There’s a reason the Goosebumps series has lasted as long as it has – these were the first successful scary books for young people, and kids love them! RL Stine really cranks them out, too – with 62 titles in the original run from 1992 to 1997! With each passing year, Stine has added more tales of terror to bookshelves around the world with spin-offs such as Goosebumps HorrorLand and Goosebumps Most Wanted. An ideal way to introduce reluctant readers to the dark side…
(Changeling, Dark Moon, Blood Wolf, Demon Games)
Steve Feasey is working hard to make werewolves as popular as vampires have been in recent years. Trey thinks he is a normal teenager – until he meets Lucien Charron, that is. Before long, Trey finds himself living in a luxury penthouse, embroiled in a sinister underworld filled with the supernatural and undead. What’s more, Trey has to find a way to accept and control the changes happening that are starting to happen to himself…
(Skulduggery Pleasant, Playing with Fire, The Faceless Ones, Dark Days, Mortal Coil, Kingdom of the Wicked)
If your pupils like their skeletons to have a hint of the supernatural and a ribcage full of action – then this spook-tacular series from Irish author, Derek Landy, will be right up their street. When Stephanie’s horror writer uncle dies and leaves her his home, she learns that that was a lot more than fiction involved in his work. Hunted by evil forces, Stephanie teams up with wise-cracking skeletal detective, Skulduggery, to find out what is really going on. Fast, funny and frightening!
(Coven Road, Too Many Spells, Witchling, Cat Magic, Witch Camp)
Where most girls dream of becoming princesses, Bella Donna longs to be a witch! She’s looking for a new home, too. Someone to take her away from the children’s home she lives in and make her part of a Forever Family. When Lilith Arrives, it looks as though Bella has found the perfect friend – but will things work out the way she wants? Funny, charming and infinitely readable – this wonderful series is another perfect way to introduce youngsters to the weird world of the supernatural without too many scares!
(Rise of the Wolf, Rage of Lions, Shadow of the Hawk, Nest of Serpents)
Steve Feasey isn’t the only author bringing lycanthropes to the fore – there’s also Curtis Jobling with his incredible Wereworld series. And, while fast-paced action and scares may not be what you’d expect from the creator of Frankenstein’s Cat and Raa Raa The Noisy Lion – that’s exactly what you get. Werewold tells the story of sixteen year old Drew Ferren who, not only discovers that he is a werewolf, but also that battles rage between were-creatures of all description. An epic fantasy horror series.
This is, of course, a great opportunity for Barry and I to talk about our own books. As fans of the genre for many years, we’re both now extremely proud to be counted among the UK’s writers of horror for young people. So, here are an extra two bonus suggestions from and by the two of us…
(Mr Mumbles, Raggy Maggie, The Crowmaster, Doc Mortis, The Beast, The Darkest Corners)
When my good pal, and fellow editor of Start the Story, told me a few years ago of a new idea he’d had for a children’s horror series, I instantly knew he had a hit on his hands – and how right I was! Invisible Fiends tells the story of Kyle Alexander who, as a young boy, had enjoyed the company of a jolly imaginary friend by the name of Mr Mumbles. Then Kyle grew up and forgot all about Mr Mumbles – but Mr Mumbles never forgot about him… With some of the most petrifying plots and creepy characters ever committed to print, young boys will devour this action-packed series.
(13 books from Fang of the Vampire to Flame of the Dragon)
My first major contribution to the world of children’s horror tells the tale of Luke Watson – an ordinary boy whose life is turned upside down when he begins to transform into a werewolf. This brings him to the attention of G.H.O.U.L. (Government Housing of Unusual Lifeforms), and Luke’s family is moved against their wishes to a secure location called Scream Street. Luke quickly makes friends and fits in, but his parents are terrified of their nightmarish neighbours – kicking off a quest to find six spooky relics which will open a doorway back out of the creepy community. Ideal for 7 to 11 year olds, if I do say so myself!