I never used to be a rereader of books, but when I started reading more and more earlier this year, I had the urge to do a LOT of rereading.
When the spooky season rolled around, I wanted to reread all of the books I remembered finding scary in the past – as in, books that really and truly creeped me out. Would they still scare me now?
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Reread #1: The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson
The first book I reread was The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson. I first read this long before the Netflix adaptation was released, and I remember it being creepy but also not so creepy. It was almost like you knew something scary was there, but it was just on the edge of your peripheral vision, so you never caught it clearly. This book is fantastic and worth many, many rereads. Since this was my first time rereading the story since watching the Netflix adaptation (which I had watched at least 3 times – it really is fantastic), I went into it wanting to look for similarities. What parts from the book made it into the show? And were any of the characters the same?
It’s interesting because, in a way, the book is very much like the show but also not like the show at all. The names of a lot of the characters are the same as in the show, but the characters aren’t the same. In the book, we have Dr. Montague, who gathers up a group of people to stay for a few nights in the haunted Hill House to see if they can experience any paranormal activity. The characters he invites – Eleanor, Theadora, and Luke – all get along quite well, but cracks start to form as the story goes on, mainly with Eleanor.
And in true Shirley Jackson fashion, we reach the end of the story not at all prepared for what is going to happen. Think of The Lottery by Jackson, the short story I’m fairly certain we all had to read in school, and how it seems like a normal story, but once you get to the end, it takes a whopping turn, and the story ends up being seared in your brain forever.
That’s very much how The Haunting of Hill House is for me. It’s a story I can’t get out of my head and when the spooky season starts creeping up, the urge to reread it will always be there.
Reread #2: Darkhouse (Experiment in Terror, #1) by Karina Halle
I first read Darkhouse, the first book in Canadian author Karina Halle’s 10-book series about paranormal ghost hunters Dex and Perry, probably way back in 2011/2012 when it first came out. This was a book series that pretty much took over my reading, and I was so happy at the rate Halle cranked them out. Once I had some Dex and Perry, I needed more. They have one of the most will-they/won’t-they, slow-burn relationships I have ever read in a book series, and the build-up was fantastic.
From the sounds of it so far, though, you might be wondering where the paranormal is. Well, let me tell you: this series gets VERY scary. Have you ever had one of those books that you’ve read that legitimately has you ensuring all of your limbs are safely tucked in bed at night? Well, this series did that for me.
This first book, however, is building the foundation of what’s to come. We meet Perry, who’s stuck in a job she sort of likes but sort of doesn’t, and Dex, who’s trying to start a new show based on the paranormal and ghost-hunting. He and Perry meet one day when she’s at her uncle’s house and explores the creepy old lighthouse on his property. Since this is the first book, there’s more build-up than paranormal, but there are still plenty of scares.
Honestly, this is one of those book series I would love to see turned into a Netflix adaptation because I think they would do a great job. Dex and Perry go through so many haunted situations that it would be a lot of fun to see it played out on screen. But since that hasn’t happened, I would highly recommend this series if you’re a fan of the paranormal and like a little romance in your books. Darkhouse has plenty of twists and turns, as well as plenty of scares, and is the beginning of a very haunting series.
You can download this book for FREE on Amazon.
Reread #3: The Unquiet by Jeannine Garsee
The Unquiet is a very unique book for me. I’ll be the first to say that I don’t get scared easily when reading a book. Of course, I’ll freak out during any jump scare in a movie or close my eyes when I know a scary part is coming up, but with books, I don’t ever have that feeling. Scary books very, very rarely ever scare me.
But this book is one that, like The Haunting of Hill House, is seared in my brain. I first read The Unquiet back in 2012 when it first came out. I remember it being a library book, and I loved the cover, so I thought I’d give it a go. I was very unprepared for how much this book would actually creep me out. The story starts when Rinn (Corinne) and her mother move to a new city, and Rinn starts going to a new school. Of course, she meets your typical cast of YA-book characters, but she also learns something about her school: there is a tunnel within the school that kids tend to avoid because they say it’s haunted by Annaliese, who drowned in the school’s pool, many years ago.
First of all, 10 years after reading this book, it took me forever to remember the title so that I could read this again. I had very little to go off of other than I knew it was released approximately 10 years ago and that there was a school and a tunnel and it was SCARY. Second of all, I recall first reading this at night, in the dark, and some of the tunnel scenes truly terrified me. Not only that, but the main character is bipolar and not certain if what she’s seeing or who she’s seeing is real, not only with ghosts but also with the real, tangible people in her life. I highly recommend reading this book in big chunks so you can really get the scary effect.
However, reading this now, a decade after it was first released, I realize it’s a book that is full of triggers. It doesn’t completely portray mental health very well, the characters are your very typical YA book types, and there is murder and suicide. Reading it, I wasn’t sure if it would completely be up to 2022 book standards, but it was still a great reread and still very scary.
Do you like to reread books? Have you ever reread a book you originally found to be a scary read? What did you think? Was it still scary for you when you reread it? I’d love to hear below in the comments!