Top 5 Books That Made Me Want To Hide Under The Covers

Late last night I watched two particularly creepy TV programs…which meant I was jumping at my own shadow all night! Probably not the best sort of thing to be doing right before bed. But it got me thinking…

helix-1I VERY MUCH dislike scary movies. Suspense I can do — but any sort of horror movie will probably see me running from the room. Scary movies are just not my idea of entertainment and it often boggles me why other people enjoy watching them so much.

I have recently started enjoying Syfy’s new show ‘Helix’, which is a Sci-fi thriller, but I feel like TV shows are different than movies; they offer more character development, more plot, and more insurance that your favorite character will not die (there are many more episodes left!). Plus, it’s Science fiction — I just couldn’t resist.

Scary and suspenseful books, however, are an entirely different thing. I can scare myself a little without having to be plagued by terrifying images and an unsettling soundtrack like in a scary movie. I can put down the book for a little while if I start feeling too creeped out and come back later without hearing protests from my fellow movie-watchers about my leaving the room or covering my eyes and/or ears. Scary books give me just the right amount of controlled fear, and, when done right, are still truly and convincingly terrifying.

So I’ve decided to share with you my list of the best scary books I’ve read, in no particular order:

1. Strangelets by Michelle Gagnon

15798830Though it’s been a while since I read this and I’m a little fuzzy on the details, I remember clearly how scared I was.

Strangelets features three different teenagers from around the world that are transported to an undesirable future the moment before they were dying in their present lives. They don’t know where they are or how they got to the future, but they must come together to get back home.

Sounds a little out there, right? But my terror was real when the teens were being chased by all sorts of creatures that shouldn’t exist. Plus, Gagnon’s international and dysfunctional characters made for an entertaining read aside from the mystery and fear.


2. 172 Hours on the Moon by Johan Harstad

12860573When I think of all the books I’ve read, none terrified me quite like this one. After reading 172 Hours on the Moon (unwisely read late at night, I might add), I was almost too scared to leave my room to brush my teeth before bed. I’m pretty sure I scrounged for a flashlight and couldn’t even look at my own reflection in the mirror without jumping (something readers of the book will understand!).

Three teens from Japan, Norway, and France win a NASA lottery to go to the moon, and each winner has something they want to leave behind — or gain. But they find that they are not alone on the moon, and no one, especially not the agency that sent them to the moon, is coming to save them.

It is supremely cool that this was written by a Norwegian author, and I love that the main characters are international (again!).  And it doesn’t get much more awesome for a setting than the moon, especially if you like Sci-fi like me. GUARANTEED to scare the living daylights out of you.

3. Unwind by Neal Shusterman

6319969-1Unwind is maybe more of a Sci-fi book than a thriller, but it is still horrifying nonetheless. There are some scenes in here described so graphically that some people more sensitive to that kind of stuff may want to avoid reading this. As for me, I just kind of read it in a state of numbed shock.

In the future, after a civil war has been fought over abortion, an unsettling compromise was reached: abortion of an unborn child is illegal, but children between the ages of 13 and 18 can be surrendered by the guardians to the state, where the child will be ‘unwound’ and all of their organs, tissues, and blood harvested and donated. The book follows three teens signed over to be unwound for different reasons: one becomes ‘too difficult’ for his parents, another is in foster care, and the last one has been raised as a ‘tithe’ with the sole purpose of being unwound.

The book raises so many questions about the morality of these future practices, but also of today’s practices. It examines what happens when we go too far in pursuing an issue, and all the serious consequences that can ensue. Any teenager living in this future would be constantly scared of being unwound, and you just might too while reading this.

4. This is Not a Test by Courtney Summers

12043771It’s been years since I read this book (at least, it feels like it). But I do remember the basics of This is Not a Test. The book takes place right in the middle of a zombie apocalypse, and if the blood splatters on the cover aren’t  indicator enough, there are some good gory parts. But that’s not all.

The main character of this book has just recently decided to ‘end it all’ when the zombie apocalypse hits in the form of a disease that turns regular people into mindless, monstrous, rabid beings. Suddenly she and five other teens find themselves barricaded together in the high school, trying to survive and keep safe. As the main character watches everyone else stubble and fight to live, she too begins to see her life as valuable again. But will she survive to live once more?

Any part of the book when they were fending off zombies never failed to scare me. But I wouldn’t say that the zombies were the best part of this book. What I loved was the interactions between the teens of different tempers and social groups, and seeing how each teen reacted to their situation. And it looked at a classic human trait — the will to survive against all odds, and to cling to life even when surrounded by death and misfortune. All in all, it’s much more than just a zombie book.

5. The Gone series by Michael Grant

2536134This is one of my favorite series, and it is so familiar to me that it is hard now for me to think of it as a thriller, but it is — and a creative one, at that.

When all the adults of Perdido Beach, California suddenly disappear, everyone under fifteen is left to fend for themselves. They soon discover that the whole town is under a transparent dome, meaning no one can leave and that there is no way to get help. Chaos ensues as kids run wild and bullies rule the town — and then the mutations start. Normal kids begin developing powers and abnormalities, and not all of the kids use them for good. Will they be able to come together to defeat the evil that has taken root in the town?

There are many different kinds of terror in this book. The fear of living without parents (aka without security, planned meals, or care for the little ones), the fear of chaos and lawlessness, and of course, the fear of the strange mutated creatures that populate the town. The series manages to be both scary, gripping, and fun at the same time, however strange a combination that is.

What did you think of the titles on my list? Have you read any of them? Do you have any favorite YA horror/thriller books?


  • The only book I’ve read is Gone, and I agree on the scary factor. I can’t imagine a world without adults (even if I tecnically am one). Unwind is on my list, but I never seem to want to pick it up because the cover on its own is enough to scare me, lol.

    I’ve seen commercials for Helix, and I’ve been really looking forward to watching it. I’m glad to hear it’s good.
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    • Yeah, I have to agree on the no adults thing — I’m (technically) one too but we need them!

      Unwind is a lot scarier than just it’s cover. 😉

      I really like Helix, but I wish Hulu carried it! I still have to catch up — you’ll like it if you like sic-fi!

  • I actually kind of like horror films, even if I’m too chicken to watch them alone, most of the time! I guess I just love the thrill they give me, and they’re really fun when you watch them with friends. Like, everyone will be jumping and holding pillows and trying not to appear scared when they actually are. xD

    I’ve only read two books on your list: This Is Not A Test and 172 Hours on the Moon, and I have to agree — they’re amazing! Well, I enjoyed TINAT a lot more than 172 Hours, but mostly because it was such an unexpected read. I wasn’t expecting a zombie book to focus on the survivors and their mental states, not on the zombies themselves. That’s probably why the book has stuck with me even though I read it a couple of years ago.

    172 Hours was chilling. The middle was a little slow, but by the time the three of them were on the moon, things really started to speed up. And I loved, loved, LOVED the ending! It was like a slap to the face, honestly. I guess I’m way too used to happy ever afters, eh? 😛

    As for the rest, I really want to read Unwind because it has such an original and cool concept, and it’s been getting plenty of rave reviews. Not a fan of the cover, though. And you already know that I have the first two books of the Gone series on my shelf, so hopefully I’ll be getting to that series soon! Great list, Lina. 😀
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    • Thanks!I must say though it has been a while This Is Not a Test is still something that stood out to me, too.

      172 Hours on the Moon is definitely my favorite YA horror book, and the ending was just the BEST thing — maybe us readers need less happy ever afters!

      Unwind’s cover was off-putting to me for sure, but it ended up being better and deeper than I could’ve imagined. I must say that I haven’t gotten around to reading the rest of the series though — it’s just been too long.

  • Asti says:

    Oh, you know, I haven’t actually read any scary books. I think the scariest one I’ve probably read is Coraline by Neil Gaiman, haha, and that’s a children’s book. I guess some consider 17 & Gone a little scary, but not really. I actually might have to check these out though, because I wonder how I would do with a scary book. I generally am not a fan of watching scary movies either, but maybe a book would give me that extra layer of separation that would make it bearable?
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    • You should definitely check them out! 172 Hours on the Moon is my favorite, and you will DEFINITELY be terrified. The “extra layer of protection” is definitely my view of scary books, and being able to put them down helps with controlling the terror, haha.

  • […] Lina @ Every Book A World lists down the top 5 books that make her want to hide under covers. […]

  • […] already blogged about the show on my Top 5 Books That Made Me Want to Hide Under the Covers, if that tells you anything! Since I’m not a fan of horror movies, this is the scariest show […]

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