It’s Friday the 13th, and that means it’s time to get in the mood for all things dark and twisty. This list of five book recommendations includes horror novels, gothic fiction, and thrillers to get your adrenaline racing and have you jumping at small noises. Warning— plan on sleeping with one eye open after diving into these reads…
Ace of Spades by Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé
In Ace of Spades, popular Italian-Nigerian-American Head Girl Chiamaka and talented Black musician Devon run in very different social circles at their elite private school. However, when they find themselves the targets of an anonymous texter named Aces, they are forced to team up to take their mysterious tormentor down. Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé’s dangerous, addictive debut delves into the world of elite schools and social politics with incredible pace and tension. If you enjoyed the twisty pleasures of classic teen dramas like Pretty Little Liars and Gossip Girl. You’ll have your mind blown by this book. Which injects the teenage drama formula with an incisive and chilling exploration into the tangible horrors of everyday racism.
The Taking of Jake Livingston by Ryan Douglass
Pitched as Get Out meets Danielle Vega, The Taking of Jake Livingston follows a reluctant teenage medium in a fight for his life. Jake Livingston is, apart from his older, more popular brother, the only Black student at his prep school — and if that wasn’t enough to make him different, he also sees ghosts wherever he goes. His life takes a turn for the dangerous when one of these ghosts, a troubled teen named Sawyer who killed several students at his own school and then himself, starts to haunt Jake. Jake finds himself at the centre of a dangerous battle to survive, one there is no guarantee he will win.
Velvet Was the Night by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
Silvia Moreno-Garcia is known for her expertly crafted, mesmerizing works of Gothic and horror fiction. Her latest book, Velvet Was the Night promises to be an intoxicating entry in her lineup. In this historical mystery noir set in 1970s Mexico City, secretary Maite has always been jealous of her beautiful art student neighbour, Leonora — and finds herself drawn into the mystery of Leonora’s suspicious disappearance. But Maite is not the only one looking for Leonora. Eccentric criminal Elvis investigates the experience on the orders of his mysterious boss, and all the while grows increasingly obsessed with Maite from a distance. As the two are drawn further and further into the mystery, the stakes get higher and higher around them, and danger waits at every step.
Within These Wicked Walls by Lauren Blackwood
Charlotte Brontë’s classic, Jane Eyre is a staple of all things Gothic and spooky, and it’s the inspiration for Lauren Blackwood’s Ethiopian fantasy retelling of the novel. Within These Wicked Walls follows Andromeda, an exorcist who cleanses households of the Evil Eye. When Magnus Rochester, a handsome young heir, seeks out her services. Andromeda realises that Magnus is hiding far more than he lets on. That this job is more dangerous than any she’s had before. As romance brews, so does an ever-increasing threat of death, and Andromeda and Magnus both risk not making it out of this job alive.
How We Fall Apart by Katie Zhao
We’ll end the list with an upcoming book, so you can really make those Friday the 13th feels last. How We Fell Apart releases on August 17th. It follows a group of ambitious Asian American students at an elite prep school who find themselves the prime suspects in the murder of their former friend, Jamie. An anonymous internet user known as ‘The Proctor’ incriminates the students. Forcing them to find the real killer before they lose everything. But the mystery uncovers secrets and betrayals as it unravels, and the group may tear themselves apart before anyone else does.
For more book recommendations, check out our list of Five Fantasy Books To Read For International Women’s Month