One of the most surprising facts about me is that I am an ultimate horror movie lover! I feel like this partially stems from my love for psychology, since horror movies are usually commentary on society and the human mind. However, one of my biggest loves is also met by my biggest sadness because horror movies tend to not have authentic diversity (at least pre-Get Out Era). 

Thankfully, there are some horror books with authentic diversity! I have absolutely loved getting my hands on diverse horror books, especially focusing on those written by Black Indigenous Authors of Color. With Halloween fast approaching, I thought our Colorful Pages readers might also appreciate the collection of diverse horror titles I have gathered. 

Pick one of these Spooky Diverse Books for Middle Grade and Young Adult Readers to send chills down your spine. I have listed 6 horror middle grade books and 4 horror young adult books to choose from. Just remember: it’s okay to leave on the light!

Middle Grade Books

Suee and the Shadow, by Ginger Ly and Molly Park

The Spectrum for Multicultural Lit.: Mostly Representation

Age Range: 9-12 years

I read this graphic novel within a night because I could NOT put it down! Perfect for Goosebumps fans, Suee and the Shadow is about Suee, a twelve-year old who transfers to a new elementary school. At Outskirts Elementary, Suee causes an accident in the exhibit room and suddenly her shadow can talk. Every day after, weird things occur, including her classmates becoming zombie-like!

Hide and Seeker, by Daka Hermon

The Spectrum for Multicultural Lit.: Mostly Representation

Age Range: 8-12 years

Daka Hermon puts a spooky twist on a classic (and my favorite) childhood game! In Hide and Seeker, Justin’s best friend, Zee, comes back after being missing for a year. However, Justin just feels like something is wrong, especially because nobody knows what happened to him. Then, at Zee’s Welcome Home Party, a game of hide and seek goes absolutely wrong. Soon, everybody is thrown into a world of horror. 

Ghost Squad, by Claribel A. Ortega

The Spectrum for Multicultural Lit.: Mostly Exploration

Age Range: 8-12 years

Ghost Squad takes place in St. Augustine, Florida. Lucely Luna and her best friend, Syd, borrow a couple spells from Lucely’s grandmother, Babette, in order to try to keep the Luna family spirits around. However, Lucely and Syd accidentally release malicious spirits instead. Now, Lucely, Syd, Babette, and Chunk the Cat must figure out how to stop the evil entities and save their town. The author, Claribel A. Ortega, sprinkles Spanish phrases and folklore throughout the book, which helps add another layer to this spooky, family-oriented book!

The Forgotten Girl, by India Hill Brown

The Spectrum for Multicultural Lit.: Conversation

Age Range: 8-12 years

In The Forgotten Girl, India Hill Brown ties together modern topics, history, and ghost stories. While playing in the woods, Iris and her best friend, Daniel, accidentally uncover a forgotten gravestone of a young girl, Avery Moore. Then, strange things start happening: nightmares, windows opening, lurking shadows. Determined to find out what is going on, Iris and Daniel start to research the grave and find out that it actually belongs to an abandoned Black cemetery. Now, they want to restore Avery’s grave and face the town’s segregated past, all while dealing with the supernatural too. 

Spirit Hunters, by Ellen Oh

The Spectrum for Multicultural Lit.: Representation & Exploration

Age Range: 8-12 years

This book is not for newbies to the spooky/horror genre, but a perfect follow-up for any horror-loving, middle-grade kiddos! In Spirit Hunters, Harper, a Korean-American girl, moves to Washington DC with her family after an accident that left her injured and with memory loss. While Harper is adjusting to their move, she finds out their new house is haunted and starts to notice that her little brother is acting strange. With her new friend, Harper is determined to help her little brother and figure out the supernatural mysteries that lie in their new home. 

The Jumbies, by Tracey Baptiste

The Spectrum for Multicultural Lit.: mostly Exploration with some Conversation

Age Range: 9-12 years

The Jumbies is a spooky middle grade book rooted in Carribean Folklore. It follows a young girl named Corrine, who lives on a Carribean Island with her dad since her mother passed away a long time ago. One day, Corrine wanders too far into the woods and runs into a jumbie. Now, Corrine has to save the island and her dad from these magical and tricky creatures. 

Young Adult Books

Bleeding Violet, by Dia Reeves

The Spectrum for Multicultural Lit.: 

Age Range: 14+ years

Dia Reeves writes a very dark horror book filled with typical horror-movie features: blood, gore, sex, and spooks. Hannah Jarvinen is a biracial teenager who has bipolar disorder. When her aunt tries to put her in a mental institution, she runs away to Texas in search of her mother. There, Hannah ventures into a dark and mysterious world.

Dread Nation, by Justina Ireland

The Spectrum for Multicultural Lit.: Conversation

Age Range: 14-17 years

Dread Nation is a young adult novel centered around an alternative-history Civil War and Reconstruction Era and zombies. In this alternative world, because of the “Native and Negro Education Act”, Black and Indigenous children are expected to go to school and learn how to kill the dead. Jane McKeene, a Black teenager who was taken away from her family, is training to become an Attendant, one who is trained in combat and etiquette in order to protect the wealthy. However, this isn’t what Jane wants as she plans to use her education to reunite with her family in Kentucky. Dread Nation blends genres together fluidly while still providing a spooky atmosphere and commenting on racism in America. 

Five Midnights, by Ann Dávila Cardinal

The Spectrum for Multicultural Lit.: mostly Exploration with some Conversation

Age Range: 13-18 years

In Five Midnights, Lupe Dávila goes to Puerto Rico to spend the summer with her Tío and Tía. When two murders take place within her first few days there, Lupe gets involved in one of her uncle’s cases and suspects that her cousin’s disappearance is related. Soon, Lupe and Javier Utierre, a friend of the victims, are working together to find Lupe’s cousin and who is behind the murders. The horror of this novel lies in the potential connection with El Cuco, a boogeyman. 

The Girl From the Well, by Rin Chupeco

The Spectrum for Multicultural Lit.: mostly Exploration

Age Range: 14-17 years

Rin Chupeco writes this spine-chilling young adult novel infused with Japanese culture. The Girl From the Well is the story of two haunted teenagers: one dead and one alive. Okiku is a spirit who was brutally murdered at sixteen years old. She wanders around the world killing child murderers in order to set the spirits of their young victims free. Then, one day, Tark, a fifteen year old boy who feels like something is wrong with him, catches Okiku’s attention because she can sense a malicious spirit lingering near him. 

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