Summer—the perfect time for a good scare—is right around the corner.
Maybe right now you’re thinking, “What are you talking about, Michele? Summertime is for trashy romance novel reading poolside!”
Well, maybe that’s the warmup. But once the sun goes down, it’s time to light the bonfire and tell some chilling ghost stories.
Think about it—horror/slasher movies are often set in the summer, when people take to the woods in droves to camp and enjoy nature.
And once you’re in the forest, it’s easy to then wander off all by yourself, in the dark, in the trees, so the crazy axe wielder wearing a hockey mask can find you!Summer is the perfect time for scary stories! These 10 books are a great place to start. Click To Tweet
If you’re looking for a good, creepy story that will have you jumping at bumps in the night. I’ve got you covered.
The following 10 books are a great place to start. Note: Not all are “scary,” per se. I’ve included a selection of mysteries, thrillers, suspense, supernatural, and of course, horror, so there’s a little something for everyone.
1. Last Time I Lied by Riley Sager.
Okay, this one takes place at a summer camp! How could I not include it?
Three campers disappear at summer camp, and the last person to see all three of them alive returns to camp years later.
Check this one out if you’re interested in a perfect summer psychological thriller. Full review here.
2. Girls of Glass by Brianna Labuskes
This is the book that actually inspired me to write this post. It’s a psychological thriller/mystery set in a Florida summer.
As you can imagine, the book is dripping with sweat, heat, and humidity. (I even remember thinking how you can practically feel the heat slide right off the page.)
If you prefer your chills to come from a good mystery, this is a good pick for you. (In other words, I wouldn’t classify it as a “scary” book, really, but it’s certainly a hot summer mystery.) You can check out my full review here,
3. The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson.
There’s nothing that says “scary summer story” better than a plot line that has characters intent on debunking a haunted house while they live in it. During the summer months (of course). That’s the premise of this Shirley Jackson classic, so obviously, it makes this list. Full review here.
4. Salem’s Lot by Stephen King.
ANY list of scary stories needs at least one work by Stephen King, right? As much as I love The Shining, I can’t in good conscious include that one on a summer scary list. (A snowed in haunted hotel high in the mountains doesn’t scream “summer” to me.)
So, I’m going with Salem’s Lot, because you just can’t go wrong with vampires (or with vintage King).
If you haven’t read this classic yet, it’s definitely worth picking up.
5. Divine Evil by Nora Roberts.
This is an “oldie but goodie,” and what I consider a genuinely creepy story. I read it years ago, but have always remembered the imagery of dark and twisted woods. Not only does this one include a perfect “getting lost in the woods” scenario, but it also includes a little romance!
6. The Dry by Jane Harper.
This one made the list not because it’s necessarily “scary,” but because similar to Girls of Glass, it’s the epitome of heat. It takes place in a small town in Australia that is in the middle of a serious drought. (So serious, in fact, it’s like living in a tinder box … which, now that I think about it, IS pretty scary!).
It’s decent mystery, as well. (By the way, I also reviewed Jane’s second book Force of Nature right here, if you want to check it out–I personally thought Force of Nature was better than The Dry.)
7. Lord of the Flies by William Golding.
If your high school English teacher never made you read this book, I would definitely encourage you to pick up a copy. Along with being stranded on a deserted island, there’s also lots of running around in dark woods as you witness the degradation of humanity. Perfect, scary summer fare.
8. Ghost Story by Peter Straub.
Full disclosure, I never actually read this book—I saw the movie years ago. I have since downloaded it on my Kindle, and it’s on MY summer list.
The premise of the book is four old men gather together to tell each other ghost stories. Well, what screams “scary summer stories” better than gathering around a campfire to tell ghost stories? Not to mention the fact that this one is considered a classic horror novel.
9. Midnight by Dean Koontz.
Just like Stephen and Nora, I definitely enjoy Dean Koontz’s older work over his newer books. This one is just plain creepy.
It starts off with a midnight jogger being attacked as sheruns along a beach. Of course, what’s really behind the attack is far darker and more twisted than any run-of-the-mill serial killer. (Koontz is a master at genre blending, which is probably one of the reasons I’ve read so many of his books.)
10. It Began With a Lie by Michele Pariza Wacek.
I would be remiss if I didn’t include my own haunted house story in this list of summer scary stories. After all, it takes place in the summer, AND it’s super creepy. Therefore, it qualifies.
But is the house haunted? Or is something else going on?
You decide—check it out right here.
2 thoughts on “10 Scary Stories Perfect for Summer”
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I love to read. Especially outside in the summer and mysteries. Thank you.