Day 1 is all about the difference between adult and teen horror with a bunch of list to help you suggest the best books for the right reader. Day 2 will be a giveaway and day 3, a review of the new book by my favorite YA horror author right now-- and she is perfect for adults too.
Let’s get to it...
Although my specialty is helping adult horror readers, I also worked for 5 years helping Teen readers and developing a horror collection for their use. So I know from experience that when you talk about RA and YA horror it is a lot more nuanced than it seems. Here is my list of the issues and concerns that you also have to consider:
- Teens consider all creepy books “horror.” As you help them, you need to also consider Gothic, Urban Fantasy, dystopian Science Fiction, and even some of the more intense Suspense and Psychological Suspense. Teens will refer to these as horror and you need to listen to exact what kind of scares and chills they are looking for.
- Teens love horror movies [my daughter is a good example here]. Often you will be able to find them the best book for them based on which movies they enjoy. But please note, they watch old and new horror movies interchangeably. Don’t just assume they are fans of the newest horror flicks. They are watching everything and anything on demand through streaming services.
- Teens in general are more willing to try a book in a genre that don’t normally read. When you are working with teens on finding a book they enjoy, don’t use genre as one of your starting points for the RA conversation. Really listen to “WHY” they enjoy the books they do and don’t confine yourself to the genre of that book because they don’t.
- While we regularly move teen readers to Stephen King, Dean Koontz, or other adult horror authors, as we help adults, many library workers forget to suggest teen horror titles to adults. Yes, the teen titles have less blood than adult titles, but they are just as scary. In fact, I think some of the YA horror writers do a BETTER job at creating chills and tension than adult authors because they cannot rely on as much violence.
So now that I have thrown a mess load of caveats at you, seemingly making your job harder than it was before you read this post, I am going to help you with plenty of lists and titles to keep you loaded up with YA horror suggestions all year long:
- Click here for every post I have ever tagged “YA” on this blog. This tag includes guest posts by YA horror authors like Amy Lukavics and Daniel Kraus.
- The Horror Writers Association has made promoting YA horror and its authors a priority. Click here for their page on YA horror.
- My colleague Kelly Jensen runs Stacked Books, one of the best places on the web where YA and RA meet. Click here for everything on that site that is tagged horror. There is a wealth of information here. [On a side note, Kelly is also an editor at Book Riot. Here is the link to everything tagged Horror on their site. Much, but not all, is YA related.]
- Epic Reads has this older list of "12 Creepy YA Books That Should Be Made into Horror Movies.” What I like about this list [besides the fact that the books are solid] is that it underscores my point above about teens not caring about genre when they want a scary book.
- SLJ recently had this roundup of a few new YA horror titles. Honestly though, this list is short and a missed opportunity in my book. They are SLJ for goodness sake. They could have done more.
- Finally, don’t forget about actual readers. What do they like? Go to Goodreads. Click here for every book tagged Teen Horror on the site. This link update itself overtime you click it. You will see the most popular books that actual readers classify as horror regardless of the actual genre we might assign to them.
Check back tomorrow for a three book giveaway of YA horror titles that you can add to your collections.