Literature, like any other art, is subjective and open to interpretation. When we read, we filter the character’s story and experience through our own unique lens. What one person takes away from a story may differ dramatically from someone else.
This week, one of the beta readers for BATHED IN THE BLOOD reached out to me with her thoughts. She loved the “ghost” in the novel and the “supernatural slant” to the story. Other readers, on the other hand, have commented on how the “realism” adds a chilling mood to the book.
With Halloween right around the corner, the critique put me in the mood for a good ghost story (if you know any good ones, shout them out!). If you’re in the mood for a spooky read, here are five of my favorite ghost stories.
Remember Me by Christopher Pike
One of the only YA recommendations to make it onto my list, I love Pike’s unique twist on the classic ghost tale. Instead of following a haunted teenager, we follow a dead girl trying to solve her own murder. Bring on the ghosts and drama!
A Head Full of Ghosts by Paul Tremblay
Tremblay’s novel leaves the ending open to interpretation, but that’s precisely what makes it one of my favorite ghost tales. Is Marjorie possessed by a demon? Is the family suffering from untreated mental illness? Was it all an elaborate hoax concocted by the parents for money? You decide!
The Broken Girls by Simone St. James
This one is more of a murder mystery than a ghost story, but it’s still a delightful read. Evil doesn’t lurk in the basement or the shadows; it’s presented in the light of day. The novel does an awesome job handling jumps between time periods, and the end result is a compelling page-turner.
The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson
Confession time: Jackson’s novel released in 1959, but I’m one of the dweebs who didn’t get around to reading it until Netflix announced the 10-part show based on the book. I never even watched the other films 🙁
I seriously missed out. The Netflix show is amazing, but the book is even better. The terror takes on a new meaning when we’re given the chance to spend more time in Eleanor’s mind with her ghosts. I don’t know if I’d describe it as “the scariest book ever” the way some have, but it’s definitely an unsettling read.
Everythings Eventual by Stephen King
I’m fairly certain it’s against some sort of writerly rules to create a list of spooky stories and not include the master of the genre. So, how about fourteen creepy stories instead? Fans of the movie 1408 with Johnny Depp will recognize the haunted hotel room, but all thirteen stories are worth reading.
What’s your favorite ghost story? I’m always on the hunt for new suggestions. Until next time, happy haunting!