Growing up in the 1990s, horror was everywhere. The 1980s may be credited with tons of iconic teen horror – for good reason – but the 90s will always have a special place in my heart. I’m looking at you, I Know What You Did Last Summer. And we weren’t just being treated on the silver screen; we kids had access to horror lit that would stay with us forever. So grab your flashlight & your partner in crime, and let’s take a stroll down memory lane.
I don’t think I’m alone here. For the majority of us growing up in the 90s and earlier, Christopher Pike was the go to author for teenage thrills and chills. These books made my 11 year old self yearn to instantly be 17 and meet with my friends in a creepy abandoned hospital to share scary stories – not every girl’s dream, I know. I’m a special breed. The 80s style cover art and neon titles are forever etched into my memory…along with the lizard people fights. Some of these were weird.
Top Picks: The Midnight Club & Scavenger Hunt
Caroline B. Cooney
One of my personal favourites. Kidnapping cases, teens with supernatural abilities, a mummy returning from the grave… she gave us all of it. Books with female protagonists were all I wanted as pre teen, and I got them in spades with Cooney’s novels. Her heroines were relatable and real, juggling supernatural occurrences along with regular teenage problems. With all of the twists and turns, her stories were the perfect way to spend a late night reading, followed by sleeping with the light on.
Top Picks: Twins, Mummy & The Stranger
You might not know her by name,but Diane Hoh contributed to a quintessential series in teen screams: Nightmare Hall. Published under the Point Horror umbrella along with other authors on this list, Hoh’s most notable series focuses on the eerie happenings at Salem University and it’s students’ trials and tribulations. I’m sure I’m not alone in wishing that all university campuses were this exciting…just maybe not as deadly.
Top Picks: The Night Walker & Captives
Betty Ren Wright
Three words for you: The Dollhouse Murders. Who wouldn’t want to find a haunted dollhouse that would help them solve the decades-old murder or their great grandparents, amirite? This was like reading an updated Nancy Drew mystery with a supernatural twist thrown in for good measure. Just what a young girl and her blossoming love of horror needs.
Top Picks: The Dollhouse Murders & Christina’s Ghost
It would be impossible to make this list without including the undisputed king of YA horror. Stine was my introduction to horror literature as a kid, and I’m sure he did the same for many others. Night of the Living Dummy, Monster Blood, The Scarecrow Walks at Midnight…the list is endless.Even if somehow you missed the books, you watched the t.v. show and loved it. I know you did. And when you got a little too old for classic Goosebumps, you had Fear Street to deliver the teen level thrills and chills. Luckily, since we’re in a bit of a 90s resurgence at the moment, so Fear Street is being adapted as a trilogy of films – nostalgia lovers rejoice!
Top Picks: The Curse of the Mummy’s Tomb, The Haunted Mask & The New Girl
I hope you found some of your quintessential YA horror on this list and maybe, just maybe, I’ve turned you on to some new new discoveries. Bring on all of the teenage thrills and chills! Reader beware, you’re in for a scare…