Summer Scares 2020

The second annual Summer Scares Reading List has been released by the Horror Writers Association (HWA), in partnership with United for Libraries, Book Riot, and Library Journal/School Library Journal. On the list are titles selected by a panel of authors and librarians, designed to promote horror as a great reading option for all ages, any time of the year.

Three titles were chosen in the Adult, Young Adult, and Middle Grade categories.


  • In the Valley of the Sun by Andy Davidson (Skyhorse, 2017)
  • The Ballad of Black Tom by Victor LaValle (Tor.Com, 2016)
  • She Said Destroy: Stories by Nadia Bulkin (Word Horde, 2017)


  • The Agony House by Cherie Priest, Illustrated by Tara O’Connor (Scholastic 2018)
  • Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Córdova (Sourcebooks Fire, 2017)
  • Daughters Unto Devils by Amy Lukavics (Harlequin Teen, 2015)


  • Spirit Hunters by Ellen Oh (HaperCollins, 2017)
  • Case Files 13: Zombie Kid by J. Scott Savage (HarperCollins, 2012)
  • Hoodoo by Ronald L. Smith (Clarion Books, 2015)

The goal of the Summer Scares program is to introduce horror titles to school and public library workers in order to help them start conversations with readers that will extend beyond the books from each list and promote reading for years to come.

Along with the annual list of recommended titles for readers of all ages, the Summer Scares committee will also release themed lists of even more “read-alike” titles for libraries to use when suggesting books to readers this summer and all year long. And, in order to help libraries forge stronger connections between books and readers, the Summer Scares committee will be working with both the recommended list authors and horror authors from all over the country, to provide free programming to libraries. From author visits (both in person and virtual) to book discussions to horror themed events, Summer Scares is focused on connecting horror creators with libraries and readers all year long.
The Summer Scares program committee consists of award-winning author Stephen Graham Jones (Mongrels, The Only Good Indians, Night of the Mannequins), Becky Spratford (library consultant, author of The Readers Advisory Guide to Horror, 2nd Ed.), Carolyn Ciesla (library director, academic dean, book reviewer), Kiera Parrott (reviews director for Library Journal and School Library Journal), Kelly Jensen (editor, Book Riot, author of [Don’t] Call Me Crazy: 33 Voices Start the Conversation about Mental Health), and JG Faherty (HWA Library Program director, author of Sins of the Father, The Cure, and Ghosts of Coronado Bay).
The HWA is a non-profit organization of writers and publishing professionals, and the oldest organization dedicated to the horror/dark fiction genre. One of the HWA’s missions is to foster an appreciation of reading through extensive programming and partnerships with libraries, schools, and literacy-based organizations.
For more information about the Summer Scares reading program, including how to obtain promotional materials and schedule events with the authors/committee members, visit HWA’s Libraries web page, Becky Spratford’s Reader’s Advisory Horror Blog RA for All: Horror, or the Book Riot, School Library Journal, Library Journal, or United for Libraries websites and social media sites.

[Based on a press release.]

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