Summer Scaries: New Middle Grade Horror

There's nothing quite like reading late into a summer night, perhaps around a campfire or while holding a flashlight under the covers. For those middle grade readers that like there books with a scare (or several) we've put together a list to make this summer the scariest yet!

"Mummy Man and Waffles is a nonstop thrill, chill, and slimy spill ride full of creepy crawlers and ludicrous laughs!" John Patrick Green, New York Times bestselling author of the InvestiGators series

Get ready for some spooky fun in the first installment of this all-new middle grade series from author Steve Behling, featuring side-splitting illustrations throughout by Robb Mommaerts!

Wen Wyler (aka Waffles) is 11 years old and is forced to spend the summer in Maine with his grandpa, a former Hollywood make-up and special effects artist for classic horror films. Ever seen THE BEAST WITH A THOUSAND TOES, GLAARG! Or its sequel GLAARG! AGAIN!? If so, then you might be familiar with his work.

Wen, a horror movie aficionado, is persuaded to go when he finds out that part of the summer will be spent helping his Grandpa sort through and organize his basement filled with props. Grandpa’s young neighbor, Tanya, has already been corralled into helping and together they dig in until Wen accidentally brings one of the props to life. 

Mummy Man is a good guy, but the other creatures AREN’T so good. It’s up to Wen, Tanya, and Mummy Man (and his pet turtle, Frank) to stop the creatures from turning the town into the nexus for an all-out monster invasion.

Few campers at Camp Apple Hill Farm have found the mysterious cabin rumored to be hidden deep in the woods—but those who have whisper of a mysterious woman who tells tales of horrors beyond imagination. Are you brave enough to visit Cabin 23?

The last thing Tasha Washington wants is to move from her home in Savannah to a trailer park in Middle-of-Nowhere, Georgia. But when her mother dies and Tasha is taken in by her father—a man she’s never met, who abandoned her mom when Tasha was just a baby—she doesn’t have much of a choice. At least, she thinks, she won’t have to spend much time with him—something that becomes clear when he dumps Tasha with her grandmother and disappears to be with his new girlfriend.

The Shady Pines trailer park seems like a miserable place to spend a summer, even before an elderly neighbor suddenly passes away. But then Tasha meets a girl named Ellie who says she knows what really killed old Mr. Harold: a terrifying creature that stalks the trailer park at night, sucking the life from its victims. Tasha doesn’t believe it, but when she discovers a book of hoodoo legends in her grandmother’s trailer, and more people around Shady Pines start to appear unwell, she begins to fear the stories are true—and that danger is much closer than she thinks.

And don't miss the second book in the Tales from Cabin 23 series: Night of the Living Head!

Diana and her little brother, Georgie, know every inch of the land around the old Willis place, a crumbling mansion that some people say is haunted. They climb the trees and swim in the pond. And they can do whatever they want, even stay up all night. They don't have to change their clothes, brush their hair, or go to school. They have total freedom--as long as they don't leave the grounds.

When Lissa arrives with her father, the new caretaker of the estate, Diana is overjoyed. She's been wishing for a friend. She can show Lissa all her favorite spots, and they can share their favorite books. Maybe Lissa can even help her uncover the ghastly secret of the creepy old Willis house.

But there are rules that must be followed in order to keep the peace. Diana and Georgie aren't allowed to make friends. If Diana makes contact with Lissa, she could unleash evil forces beyond her control . . . and then they'll all be sorry.

For more spooky graphic novels from Mary Downing Hahn, check out Took, Wait Till Helen Comes, and All the Lovely Bad Ones!

Sometimes it’s hard to rest in peace. A young trainee witch, a family power gone haywire, a dearly departed grandma, an undead boy, and an evil witch—that’s a recipe for the perfect summer vacation. Both hilarious and heartfelt, this fast-paced mystery about life and death (and afterlife) is for fans of Spirit Hunters and The Miscalculations of Lightning Girl.

Twelve-year-old Kimmy Jones wants to excel at the unique (and secret) aspect of her family’s funeral home business. Under the watchful eye of Grandma Bev, Kimmy learns how to raise the recently deceased, request their last wish, and break the connection to send them on. But when Grandma unexpectedly dies herself, Kimmy can’t reach her spirit, and nothing seems like it’s ever going to be right again.

Then a boy dies under mysterious circumstances on the night of a meteor shower. With no witnesses, Kimmy’s the only one who can get answers about what happened. So she breaks into the hospital morgue, and for the first time in months, her power works. She Wakes the boy up. Except then Kimmy can’t break the connection and so he stays Awake. Even worse, the boy has no memory of what happened to him. As Kimmy works to unravel the mystery, she discovers secrets about her heritage and learns about a witch who has been wreaking havoc for centuries.

Casey Lyall’s supernatural mystery is heartfelt, thrilling, and hilarious. Waking the Dead and Other Fun Activities is perfect for fans of Avi’s School of the Dead and Suzanne Young’s What Stays Buried.

From Julie Murphy, the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Dumplin’, comes a hilarious and creepy middle grade summer camp story that takes a bite out of fat camp and diet culture. Perfect for fans of Spooky Stories and Starfish.

Magnolia “Maggie” Hagen is determined to be in the spotlight . . . if she can just get over her stage fright. This summer, though, she has big plans to finally attend Camp Rising Star, the famous performing arts camp she’s been dying to go to for three whole summers.

But on the last day of school, her parents break the news: Maggie isn’t going to Camp Rising Star. She’s being shipped off to fat camp—and not just any fat camp. She’s going to Camp Sylvania, run by world-famous wellness influencer Sylvia Sylvania, who is known for her soon-to-be-patented Scarlet Diet.

When Maggie arrives at camp, things are . . . weird. There are the humiliating weigh-ins and grueling workouts, as expected. But the campers are also encouraged to donate blood—at their age! The cafeteria serves only red foods and the oddly specific rules change every day. There are even rumors of a camp ghost.

Despite these horrors, Maggie makes friends and starts to actually enjoy herself. There are even tryouts for a camp production of The Music Man! This place might not be so bad . . . until campers start going missing and other suspicious things begin happening—especially after dark. The camp ghost might be the least scary thing about this place. . . .

The Zombie Chasers meets The Goonies in David Macinnis Gill’s middle grade debut about a group of tweens who ride out the zombie apocalypse on a cobbled-together train. Fans of Ty Drago’s The Undertakers: Rise of the Corpses and Max Brallier’s The Last Kids on Earth will lose themselves in this page-turning, spine-chilling, and sometimes goofy survival story.

Wyatt has been riding out the zombie apocalypse on his crew’s cobbled-together train for what feels like forever. It’s a hopeless journey, the train running a loop that covers thousands of miles across the western U.S. But when a mysterious girl arrives with stories of a so-called Nirvana and a potential cure for the zombie parasite, Wyatt must decide between searching for the cure and protecting those entrusted in his care.

David Macinnis Gill’s Zombie Train is a compelling survival story full of action, suspense, and plenty of zombies. Filled with both harrowing and humorous moments, Zombie Train follows an eccentric cast of characters as they contend with a changing world and shifting loyalties and friendships, and as they fight to remain in control—of their lives and of the future.