The Poly Post Book Club: Top 5 books for the spooky season

By Kristine Pascual and Kailee Santiago, October 3, 2023

Horror takes place in many forms: amusement parks, haunted houses, movies. Books, on the other hand, take a different approach with its use of language, using the imagination and the power of language to create suspense.

From classics to top sellers, here are The Poly Post’s top horror novels to kick things off for October

  1. “This Thing Between Us” by Gus Moreno

“Death was encroaching and nothing would stop it.”

Gus Moreno’s “This Thing Between Us” is a horror psychological thriller published in 2021.

This novel shows how grief can alter a person’s reality. From a resurrected dog to Latin rituals, this novel will hit every aspect of horror that will prepare you just in time for Halloween. Death surrounds the main character Thiago and follows him until he’s driven to madness.

Thiago and his girlfriend Vera begin a new chapter in their life and move to Chicago to embark on new adventures. An unexpected tragedy strikes, leaving Vera dead and Thiago with an abundance of unanswered questions. This traumatic event leaves Thiago envisioning objects and hearing sounds.

He moves away to a secluded cabin in Colorado to clear his head, yet Thiago still is not safe as death is creeping up on him.

This book is a fresh take on the horror genre as Moreno combines the psychological aspect with gore and trauma. Moreno makes the readers feel uncomfortable in the best way possible.The book simultaneously gave honor to the Latin rituals and legends that have been around for many years.

  1. “A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder”  by Holly Jackson

“This is your final warning, Pippa. Walk away.”

A not-so-scary read for all those who want a taste of spookiness and mystery without the horror and gruesomeness.

Everyone in town believes Sal Singh killed Andie Bell five years ago, all but the Singh family and Pippa Fitz-Amobi. This read will have anyone glued to the pages as the main character, Pippa, goes through many twists and turns to try to prove Sal Singh’s innocence for her senior project. But Pippa goes above and beyond doing investigative work that puts her own life on the line as she buries herself in the case. Pippa, distracted with the murder, doesn’t realize a The stalker tries to take Pippa’s life various times. Will she be able to make it out alive to bring justice to Sal Singh and his family?

With this book making an apparent appearance on “Book-Tok,” the journey to finding the truth translates to all readers.

  1. “I’m Thinking of Ending Things” by Iain Reid

“You also know things are real when they can’t get lost.”

This literary thriller follows a man and his girlfriend on a countryside road trip to his parents’ home at a remote farm. The unnamed narrator leads readers to feel uncomfortable as they closely follow the couple on the road and the eerie coincidences that occur on their way home. This psychological thriller is deeply disturbing yet perfect for a quick spooky read that is difficult to put down.

I finished this book in less than a day and although I was extremely creeped out by the novel. Reid made me feel as if I were immersed into the novel and I thoroughly enjoyed his writing style. Initially I was suspicious of the book because I was afraid it would not hold too much detail at 240 pages. I was horribly wrong. The mystery of the narrator leaves readers wondering whose thoughts they are reading. To answer these arising questions, the reader would just have to keep reading in order to get answers to their questions.

  1. “Coraline” by Neil Gaiman

“‘Mirrors,’ she said, ‘are never to be trusted.’”

“Coraline,” known to most as the stop-motion film, was originally produced as a children’s horror novel published in 2002.

As an only child, 11-year-old Coraline is often bored with herself and her work-obsessed parents, struggling to stay entertained.

In this novel, Gaiman masters suspense to keep readers turning page after page. In her new home she stumbles upon a small door leading her to a parallel universe that appears oddly perfect. The key differences between the movie adaptation and the novel is Coraline, herself, and the portrayal of the other world. This dark fantasy horror novel is meant for children, but there is a great deal of room for deep analysis.

The novel also includes illustrations of characters to accompany Gaiman’s haunting lines. These images are a bit disturbing for a young reader but strongly shape the novel to what it’s grown to be today.

  1. “The Silent Patient” by Alex Michaelides

“We’re all crazy, I believe, just in different ways.”

This psychological thriller, published in 2021 takes place in a mental hospital. Famous artist Alicia Berenson murdered her husband and has not spoken a word in six years. He was found with gunshot wounds to his face, and she was imprisoned soon after.

Theo Faber is an obsessed psychotherapist who desperately wants to treat Alicia and discover her motives for killing her husband. As Alicia and Theo sit in complete silence, the only clue she provides is a painting titled ‘Alcestis,’ named after a Greek mythology heroine. “The Silent Patient” takes readers on a suspenseful, disturbing ride to uncover the truth of why Alicia killed her husband. The plot twist leaves readers questioning and wanting more from the author, wondering what happens when mental illness is improperly treated.

Michaelides’ descriptions and storytelling emitted a silence that can instill a paranoia to anyone who picks up the book.

Feature images courtesy of Farrar, Straus and Giroux, Random House Children’s Books, Gallery/Scout Press, HarperCollins and Celadon Books


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