August 31, 2010

Children's/YA Books That Creeped You Out

I came across a description of a book I read when I was about 11 or 12 that I found really disturbing. It got me thinking about other books that freaked me out when I was younger. These are books that weren't necessarily meant to be scary, but for some reason they left a fairly strong and horrifying impression on my mind (at the time). Thought I'd blog about it and see if anybody else had the same reaction!

So, I remember the following books as being pretty creepy...

Eva by Peter Dickinson
The girl gets turned into a monkey. Something about that just didn't sit right with me.

Wizard's Hall by Jane Yolen
There's a very weird secret at the wizard's hall and some pretty sick-minded people. I kind of had a horrified fascination with this book.

Castle Tourmandyne by Monica Hughes
The dolls come to life and the girl gets trapped inside the castle, from what I remember.

The Half-a-Moon Inn by Paul Fleischman

This poor mute boy gets totally mistreated by this abusive inn-owner. I believe I had to read this one for school and I seriously found it quite horrifying.

James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl

I know this isn't the most obvious choice (being a much-beloved children's book by many people) but I found it a little too bizarre for my liking. Plus I really dislike bugs, and there were so many bugs in this book. I don't believe I ever finished it.

Nell's Quilt by Susan Terris
The title hardly sounds frightening, but the girl starves herself for a long, long time in order to get out of an arranged marriage. Something about her wasting away like that really made an impression on me.

And when I was really, really young, I found a few Robert Munsch books disturbing, in particular:

Purple, Green and Yellow - The girl draws on herself and the ink just won't come off, and then eventually she turns invisible and has to color herself to look normal again.

50 Below Zero - The boy's dad sleepwalks outside on a cold night and the boy finds him pretty much frozen outside.

So, thoughts? What kinds of books made you shudder when you were younger? Any books other people seemed to enjoy that you found positively creepy?


  1. Just about anything scary creeped me out when I was a little girl. I was terrified of the flying monkeys in the Wizard of Oz, and anything scary in a book was torture for me to read.

  2. Yes, I agree - those flying monkeys were pretty creepy!

  3. I loved Eva. I still think about it sometimes, even though I read it about ten years ago. It didn't creep me out at all for some reason.

  4. Anything with Roald Dahl is inherently creepy. That particular book didn't bother me much, but some of his others did.
    Alison Can Read

  5. My grandmother gave me a book about kids from a halfway house that was all about drugs and rape. I was like 9. Needless to say I was scared and very confused.

  6. @Emily - Interesting! Just shows how reactions to books can vary so much :)

    @Alison - I did like the BFG by Roald Dahl but didn't read much else by him (and I've been told The Witches is really creepy).

    @Allison - Wow, when you were 9? No wonder that scared you!!

  7. The Witches by Roald Dahl creeped me out! I think it was probably one of the first books I read that didn't end with everyone happy and vanquished evil.
    Uncle Tom's Cabin didn't creep me out so much as made me stare in horror at the ending. I think it's due a reread.

  8. I have read none of these but what a fun post!


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