Egon scans for paranormal activity in the film Ghostbusters (1984).

That Is So Scary

| Pemberton Library

With the release of another Ghostbusters movie, we’re rating some of our favorite ghost and horror fiction books for middle grade! We’re using our ghost sensor to determine how terrifying each title is, so whether you’re looking for a creepy, spine-tingling story or a straight-up horror filled murder mystery with monsters, you can be sure to find a little of everything in our list of recommended ghostbusting and supernatural reads.

The ghost sensor has detarmined these stories aren't too scary.

These books are recommended for readers easing into the genre of middle grade horror fiction. Suitable to read during any time of day due to their not-so-scary content, readers in third grade and up will be able to enjoy the story without hiding under the covers.

Ghosts by Raina Telgemeier, 2016

Catrina and her family have moved to the coast of Northern California for the sake of her little sister, Maya, who has cystic fibrosis--and Cat is even less happy about the move when she is told that her new town is inhabited by ghosts, and Maya sets her heart on meeting one.

Goosebumps: The Headless Ghost by R.L. Stine, 2018

Loving Hill House, an enormous tourist attraction that is reputed to be haunted by the ghost of a thirteen-year-old headless boy, Duane and Stephanie decide to search for the ghost's head and get the biggest scare of their lives.

City of Ghosts by Victoria Schwab, 2018

Ever since her near-fatal drowning, Cassidy has been able to pull back the "Veil" that separates the living from the dead and see ghosts, not that she wants to, and she was really looking forward to a ghost-free summer at the beach; however her parents are going to start filming a TV series about the world's most haunted places, starting with Edinburgh with its graveyards, castles, and restless phantoms--and Cass and her personal ghost companion, Jacob, are about to find out that a city of old ghosts can be a very dangerous place indeed.

Tunnel of Bones by Victoria Schwab, 2019

Now in Paris with her parents who are filming their TV show about the world's haunted cities, Cassidy Blake (who can see ghosts) and her friend Jacob (who is a ghost) are alert for trouble, especially when the filming takes them into the underground Catacombs, the empire of the dead, where Cassidy accidentally awakens a powerful poltergeist spirit--one whose mystery she must solve before his power in unleashed on the whole city.

Our ghost meter has determined these stories are a little scary.

Young readers looking for a little more mystery solving and adventure with their ghost stories can look no further than the Lockwood & Co. series by Jonathan Shroud.

Our ghost meter has determined that these stories are scary!

The ghost sensor is shining a bright yellow for these titles! Not super scary, but these stories will give you goosebumps and make your imagination run wild.

Nightbooks by J.A. White, 2018

Imprisoned by Natacha, a witch, in a New York apartment, Alex must tell her a new scary story every night in order to stay alive.

Out to Get You: 13 Tales of Weirdness and Woe by Josh Allen, 2019

A collection of thirteen short stories that reveals frightening secrets lurking in everyday objects.

Trapped in Room 217 by Thomas Kingsley Troupe, 2019

Something is haunting Jayla Walters's Colorado hotel room--Room 217 of the Stanley Hotel.

Our ghost meter has determined that these stories are really scary!

These titles are not the scariest thing out there, but they come very close. The orange light on our ghost sensor is a silent warning to read with the light on! Add creepy scarecrows or a dark forest to the mix and you have the perfect recipe for a nightmare readers won’t soon forget!

Small Spaces by Katherine Arden, 2018

After eleven-year-old Ollie's school bus mysteriously breaks down on a field trip, she has to take a trip through scary woods, and must use all of her wits to survive. She must stick to small spaces.

Dead Voices by Katherine Arden, 2019

Trapped at a haunted ski resort, Ollie, Coco, and Brian must rely on their friendship and sharp minds if they want to escape.

Through the Woods by Emily Carroll, 2014

A collection of five spine-tingling short stories in a graphic novel format.

Our ghost meter has determined that these stories are downright, frightening!

The red light on our ghost sensor is a warning to separate the scariest stories for middle grade. Readers are cautioned to read these titles at their own risk. While the tales told in these books are very good, the lasting impression is not for the faint of heart.

Coraline by Neil Gaiman, 2002

Looking for excitement, Coraline ventures through a mysterious door into a world that is similar, yet disturbingly different from her own, where she must challenge a gruesome entity in order to save herself, her parents, and the souls of three others.

The Night Gardener by Jonathan Auxier, 2014

Irish orphans Molly, fourteen, and Kip, ten, travel to England to work as servants in a crumbling manor house where nothing is quite what it seems to be, and soon the siblings are confronted by a mysterious stranger and secrets of the cursed house.

Nightfall by Jake Halpern, 2015

On a distant island where day and night exist on fourteen-year cycles, and the islanders migrate south each sunset, three children get left behind and must find a way off the island before the Night finds them.

Audience: Kids Family
Reading Lists
Staff Picks