Discussion: Ghostly Reading Recs + 9 Fall ARCs Giveaway

October 28, 2014 discussion post, ghosts, Uncategorized 116



Since we’re coming up on All Hallow’s Eve, we thought it would be fun to discuss our favorite ghostly reads. It’s been fun to look over our choices and see just how varied the genre is. There are so many possibilities with a ghost story–creepy, sad, vengeful or harbinging–and we’ve hit just about all of them.

So which are our favorites?


Peyton’s Favorite Ghostly Read


I don’t read a lot of ghost stories because it is ridiculously easy to scare me with the supernatural. I was the child who cried when her friends brought out the ouja board at sleepovers. So, my favorite ghost story is one I stumbled upon and loved, rather than something I actively went looking for. (Spoilers Ahead!) The Burn for Burn series by Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivian was what I thought was an entertaining, high school revenge story. We follow three girls who all have different reasons for wanting to get revenge on one of the popular boys in school, but it becomes clear very quickly that one girl, Mary, has a much darker past than anyone realized. It’s only at the end of the second book, Fire With Fire, that you learn that this entire time Mary has been a ghost. Without even knowing it I was reading a ghost’s revenge story. It all made so much sense looking back! I was completely taken by surprise and I loved it.


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Layla’s Favorite Ghostly Read

9780547028644_p0_v1_s260x420My favorite ghost story is Wait Till Helen Comes by Mary Downing Hahn. (Does anyone else remember this? I think it was a thing for children of the 80s and 90s). Anyway. I first read the book when I was ten and it made such a huge impression on me. I can still remember the cover! While there are plenty of genuinely creepy moments in the story, the story actually deals seriously with normal childhood problems in addition to scaring the pants off of you. The story: Heather (whose mother tragically died in a fire) moves to this house with her father, new stepmother, and new step-siblings. She is immediately befriended by this local ghost, Helen, who has a similar backstory. No one else believes in Helen but Heather. Helen tries to get Heather to do all kinds of crazy things, including but not limited to drowning herself in the pond (where Helen herself drowned as a child) so she can be with Helen forever. It’s super creepy, but also really sad – both Helen and Heather were indirectly responsible for their family member’s deaths, and despite the supernatural setting, I remember the book dealing really well with lots of serious issues: the girls’ guilt over something they think they can never be forgiven for, what it means to be a family, responsibility. I haven’t read this in over 15 years, but I remember this book vividly.


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Wendy’s Favorite Ghostly Read

cover_ravenboys_300I love ghost stories. I love the vengeful one in Anna Dressed in Blood, the wistful one in Liesl and Po, and the sad, poetic one in A Certain Slant of Light.

My favorite YA ghost is from The Raven Cycle series, however. (This is a bit of spoiler since you don’t find out that this person is a ghost until halfway through the first book, so turn back if you haven’t started it yet!) Noah Czerny, a boy described as “smudgy” and apologetic, is so absolutely endearing in his peculiarity and his stubbornness and his unwillingness to call attention to himself. His story line, particularly his interactions with Blue, are incredibly poignant–even though he’s not the main protagonist, and she’s not his love interest, there’s a lovely, aching sense of loss and longing whenever he’s around.  I’m so terribly sad for the life he lost, and I’m so anxious to see what fate awaits him when the sleeping king is finally awakened.


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Tonya’s Favorite Ghostly Read

9780143122357_p0_v1_s260x420Admittedly, I’m not much of a ghost story person. Though I cut my teeth on Stephen King and Dean Koontz, I find that as an adult my imagination is far too developed for horror to be enjoyable any longer. They are the ultimate Blanket Forts Required Situation, and typically end with me ‘sleeping’ with the lights on. Like adults do. Give me a twisted serial killer over a ghost any day!

I think the ghost story I have the most nostalgia for is The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson. It was the first book that truly terrified me, but in a way that left me fascinated. I desperately wanted to stop reading, knowing the depictions of breathing walls and malevolent presences hovering just behind the characters would steal my sleep for days, but I simply could not stop. The creepy atmosphere is a character unto itself in this book, and far and away surpasses anything they were able to convey in the films. If you’re looking for a truly terrifying ghost story, this is a classic for a reason.

However, I will never be reading this book again as just thinking about it has my spine tingling again. I think I’ll probably need to put on a Disney movie before bed just to cleanse my palate and keep nightmares at bay!


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Happy (almost) Halloween! We’re celebrating by giving away a stack of NINE Fall ARCs to one of our readers, including:


To win a copy, all you need to do is leave a thoughtful comment below telling us

1. an email where we may contact you
2. your favorite ghost story!

You may also earn additional entries by tweeting about the contest daily; just come back and leave another comment with a link to your tweet when it’s posted, and one extra entry may be earned every day through tweets. Please note that you MUST have a public profile so that we can verify the extra entries.

Open to US and Canadian residents aged 13 and older, or 18 and older with parental permission. Please see our giveaway policies for complete details. Contest ends 11/11/14.


Suggested tweet (or use your own) with link:

Play Trick or Treat with the Midnight Garden and enter to win a stack of fall ARCs! http://bit.ly/1zdO80k


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116 Responses to “Discussion: Ghostly Reading Recs + 9 Fall ARCs Giveaway”

  1. Shannon

    I have actually never read a ghost story, so I don’t have a favorite. Thanks for the giveaway!

  2. fishgirl182 @ nite lite

    I actually don’t read a ton of ghost stories. As a kid the Scary Stories series really scared me, I think mostly because of the creepy illustrations. I liked Anna Dressed in Blood a lot. It’s not super scary but is pretty creepy. The Graveyard Book was also really good. I can’t believe I still haven’t read The Raven Boys. I need to get on that…
    fishgirl182 @ nite lite recently posted…Manicure Monday (83): Beautiful Ruins

  3. Yummy

    My favorite ghost story is Anna Dressed in Blood. (Getting the shivers thinking about ghosts!) :)

  4. Jessica

    This is such a lovely giveaway! I’d love to win, and if I do please email me at jessieamb AT Hotmail DOT com


  5. katiebea

    I recently read heart shaped box by Joe hill and man, that was scary.
    But my favorite is probably house on haunted hill. I read it every October!

  6. April

    Thank you so much for helping me recall “Wait Till Helen Comes”. I read it multiple times in grade school, but had forgotten the title. I have been introducing my kids to my old favorites, and was sad not to know the name of that one.
    I have also loved The Raven Boys series, and just finished “Blue Lily, Lily Blue” today. Unfortunately, I was not able to connect with “A Certain Slant of Light”, so I gave that one up.

    • Layla A

      Ahaha! You’re so welcome. I only remembered it existed … last year, maybe? I’d forgotten about it for years and years. But it’s a good one! I hope your kids like it (& learn not to listen to creepy ghosts should they encounter them).
      Layla A recently posted…Otherbound

  7. Fariha

    I’m so happy Wendy picked The Raven Boys as a ghost story because Noah Czerny was the first ghosty~~ character I ever felt so strongly about! My favourite ghost story novel would have to be Down A Dark Hall by Lois Duncan. It’s a gothic young adult novel set in a newly opened, prestigious music school. I don’t want to say too much because it would ruin the overall effect, but the book is BRILLIANT!

  8. Mel@thedailyprophecy

    The raven boys is amazing. I must say that it took me some time to realize it before Blue found out about him. Books about ghosts are always the scariest, because it’s more realistic than, say, werewolves. You sometimes here these ghost stories about real life happenings *shivers*
    Mel@thedailyprophecy recently posted…Monthly Recap. October.

  9. Haley Wilkerson

    Whoops! I didn’t post my email with my comment:

  10. Haley Wilkerson

    My favorite ghost story is The Doll in the Garden by Mary Downing Hahn. The old school cover is the best, and yes, I know you’re not supposed to judge a book by its cover, but it definitely was the reason why I picked it up at my school’s library back in the day. That book has stayed with me ever since!

  11. Carina Olsen

    Yay :D Awesome post you guys. <3 And I love all the picks. Such awesome books! Sigh. The Raven Boys. <3 SO MUCH LOVE. I think my favorite scary/creepy book must be The Cavendish Home for Boys and Girls. Shudders. Just so good and awesome :) Love this post. <3
    Carina Olsen recently posted…Waiting on Wednesday #159

  12. Kelsey

    I’m not sure if it could be considered a ghost story, but I remember really enjoying “Before I Fall” by Lauren Oliver when I read it a few years ago. The main character is technically dead during most of the novel but is stuck in a time loop of the day she died. It’s definitely bittersweet with great character development.

  13. Sajda

    I really love The Raven Cycle series by Maggie Stiefvater. It’s really creepy but super captivating.

    My email is: acrossthewordsblog at gmail . com

  14. Brittany T

    Hi there!! I love OF BREAKABLE THINGS by Amy Rolland! It was a perfect ghost story. Thanks ladies for the spooky recs! The Raven Cycle is incredible!I totally ship RONAN and Adam and Blue and Gansey. Well all of them I guess! I also am going to check out the Burn for Burn series since i think i would enjoy that. Have a spoooky Halloween!! Mwahahaha! Here is my tweet:

    My email is Brittersweet83@aol.com
    <3 Brittany T
    Brittany T recently posted…Review: The Paper Magician by Charlie N. Holmberg

  15. Scar

    I’ve never read The Haunting of Hill House but it sounded so familiar, just like a movie I watched this past weekend called The Haunting, seems to be based off this book! I thought I could hang since it’s an older movie & in black & white, but I couldn’t, I got too scared and changed the channel halfway through!

  16. Rebecca

    The Raven Boys is definitely one of my favorite ghostly books (and one of my favorite books in general). As far as other creepy reads go, I really like The Diviners by Libba Bray. Some of the things in that book creeped me out so much that I had to stop reading it before bed, haha. Thanks for the giveaway, and my email is colsonr13@gmail.com!

  17. Becca Lostinbooks

    Great post! I have only read (or attempted) The Raven Boys. I couldn’t get into it, but that may be because it was on audio. My favorite ghost story…hmm…probably Anya’s Ghost by Vera Brosgol. I thought Her Fearful Symmetry was well done until I got to the end, it was a bit of a disappointing ending I thought.
    Becca Lostinbooks recently posted…Nest by Esther Ehrlich

  18. Ashley

    I really love Maggie Stiefvater’s Raven Cycle. I also love Maureen Johnson’s Shades of London series.

    • Layla A

      Oh man, I used to love R.L. Stine. I have such clear memories of reading those books. I remember The Ghost Next Door, but my favorite was One Day at HorrorLand. Oh my God that book TERRIFIED me as a kid.

  19. Jasprit

    I am a super scaredy cat when it comes up to picking up scary books, especially the ones that mess with your head days afterwards, I certainly think that I wouldn’t be able to handle The Haunting of Hill House, whereas I actually loved the Burn for Burn trilogy! Thanks for sharing some great recommendations with us ladies! :)
    Jasprit recently posted…Review: My True Love Gave to Me: Twelve Holiday Stories

  20. Tomas Erdman

    I love, loved the Graveyard Book, and the Raven Boys is beyond awesome.

  21. Savannah

    I had no idea that Burn For Burn was a ghost story. I thought it was girls just acting well…bratty. Hmm, you have peaked my interest on this book. I may read it.
    Savannah recently posted…Review: Sanctum

  22. Sophia D

    Have not read any that y’all recommended but I have heard the Haunting of Hill house is chilling…. What really made me cold with fright was the novel the Lady in black …. Something about that story just gives me goose pimples!

  23. Becca

    I remember Wait Till Helen Comes!! That was a good one. Which reminds me that Mary Downing Hahn wrote a lot of books I really enjoyed reading in elementary school.

    As for a favorite ghost story…I really liked A Certain Slant of Light by Laura Whitcomb. More beautiful than scary, but I remember I finished it in about a day.

    • tonya

      I love those Scary Stories books! My 4th grade teacher would read them out loud to us after lunch with the lights off. Set the perfect mood. ;)

  24. Neyra

    I haven’t read any of these and I have ADiB, too! :O I would have to say that my favorite ghost story is Another Little Piece by Kate Karyus Quinn. (Perhaps not quite a ghost story more like horror-thriller but still apply nonetheless ;)

    Email: rosasneyra (dot) d (at) gmail (dot) com

    • tonya

      I really liked Another Little Piece, too. Such a great (and creepy) story. That kind of thing is much more my speed than straight up ghosts.

  25. Neyra

    I haven’t read any of these books, :O and I have ADiB too! I would have to say that my favorite ghost story is Another Little Piece by Kate Karyus Quinn. Perhaps not quite a ghost story, but horror-thriller ;)

    Email: rosasneyra (dot) d (at) gmail (dot)com

    • tonya

      Is Mara Dyer a ghost story? I didn’t realize. I haven’t read any of that series yet. And shamefully, I’ve had Anna Dressed in Blood sitting on my shelf for years but have been too much of a wuss to read yet.

    • tonya

      I haven’t read ADiB yet, but everyone seems to be in agreement that it’s the one of the best YA ghost stories. I might have to cave. Good luck with the giveaway! :)

  26. Susan T.

    My favorite ghost story is The Shining. Nothing could be scarier! I love horror and anything creepy so Halloween is my favorite holiday.
    sueterendy at hotmail dot com

    • tonya

      King will always be my king when it comes to scary stories. The Shining is just perfect.

    • tonya

      I just recently read The Graveyard Book with my son and loved it as well. It was my first Gaiman, I’m looking forward to picking up more from him. He creates such lovely atmosphere.

    • tonya

      Isn’t it the best? (and by best I kind of mean worst.) GAH. I havent read it in probably ten years and just the thought gives me the heebie jeebies!

    • tonya

      I’m with you–it sounds like I need to crack open Anna Dressed in Blood ASAP!

  27. Melinda Christensen

    I don’t really have a favorite ghost story. I sure would love to win this giveaway. They sound really good. My grand daughter would love them also. She just bought two at a thrift store and was reading them as we shopped. Telling us all about them. Thank you for being so generous.

    • tonya

      That’s lovely. :) What did she pick up? Thrift store shopping is always such a fun adventure. I love the old musty smell of the shops.

    • tonya

      I had trouble getting into The Raven Boys at first as well, but I would suggest trying the audio if you can. It’s read by Will Patton, and he narrates it perfectly. He really brought it to life for me and now I’m hooked.

    • tonya

      The Haunting of Hill House is TERRIFYING. It’s amazing to sit back and really analyze how the Jackson used the tiniest details to bring that house alive.

  28. Brenda

    The Graveyard Book, The Night Gardener and The Screaming Staircase are three of my MG favorites, and the Raven Cycle for YA. Now I want to try Tonya’s recommendation, it sounds delightfully creepy.

    • tonya

      I just recently read The Graveyard Book with my son and loved it. I’ll have to check out your other two–haven’t heard of them! If you like creepy reads, I hope you’ll check out The Haunting of Hill House. It’s a bit outdated, but the creep factor holds up brilliantly.

    • tonya

      The audiobook is AMAZING. Will Patton is the perfect narrator for the story.