A curated booklist by your favorite SPL librarians!
Strangest Things: Books and More for Stranger Things Stans
Coming of Age | Fantasy | Horror | Paranormal Fiction | Science Fiction | Suspense | Graphic Novels | Movies | TV | Music
Books- Coming of Age
|The Lost Causes of Bleak Creek by Rhett McLaughlin and Link Neal
In 1992, Bleak Creak might look like a run-of-the-mill sleepy North Carolina suburb, but teen residents live in the dark shadow of the town’s reformatory school for wayward youth, which has accrued a number of unexplained deaths over the past decade. When local teen Alicia is sent to the school, best friends Rex and Leif know they must jump into action and rescue her, before it’s too late.
|The Saturday Night Ghost Club by Craig Davidson
Called “a little bit Wonder Years meets Stranger Things” by Book List Review, this award-winning novel revisits a fateful summer in 1980’s Niagara Falls when twelve-year-old Jake Baker befriends siblings Billy and Dove Yellowbird, and together form the Saturday Night Ghost Club, dedicating themselves to investigating local ghost stories and urban legends, which might all prove to be connected.
|We Ride Upon Sticks by Quan Barry
In 1989, Danvers, Massachusetts, original site of the infamous 1692 witch trials, a diverse group of students sign a deal with the devil in their mission to bring their high school field hockey team to victory, in this 1980s nostalgic, coming-of-age tale. Library Journal Review claims, “Barry successfully captures the high-jinx of a group of high school teens discovering themselves, learning about life, and finding out what it means to work together.”
|The Changeling by Victor LaValle
In this award-winning dark fantasy novel, antiques book dealer and young father, Apollo Kagwa, embarks on an enchanted journey to find his missing wife, Emma, who vanished after committing an unthinkable act. Book List Review praises The Changeling as “an example of how good urban horror fantasy can be, a layered story that joins themes important to modern readers with the mystery and wonder of the darker side of fantasy.”
|Legendborn by Tracy Deonn
In this diverse, award-winning Young Adult fantasy novel, Bree, a Black sixteen-year-old, has the shock of a lifetime witnessing a demon attack while attending UNC-Chapel Hill’s Early College program. After the attack, a mage attempts to erase Bree’s memory of the demon, but unlocks missing memories from the night her mother died, instead. Seeking answers, Bree infiltrates Legendborne, a secret society with racist roots, tied to her destiny and the fate of the world.
|Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury
Cooger and Dark's Pandemonium Shadow Show has come to Green Town, Illinois, to destroy every life touched by its strange and sinister mystery (Publisher). In this timeless dark fantasy novel, two thirteen-year-old boys experience a nightmarish encounter with a traveling carnival, and its seedy host, Mr. Dark.
Books- Paranormal Fiction
|White Is for Witching by Helen Oyeyemi
Miranda and Eliot Silver, fraternal twins of Haitian ancestry, are grieving the recent loss of their mother while residing in their haunted family home on the cliffs of Dover, England. Eventually, Miranda becomes haunted by the spirits of her mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother, while her mental and physical health deteriorate, as if the house itself is luring the next generation of Silver women to an untimely death.
|The Final Girl Support Group by Grady Hendrix
Can this final girl outlive more than one monster in her lifetime? Lynette Tarkington has managed to stay alive for years since a brutal attack on her family by taking strict measures to protect her safety. In fact, she only leaves her apartment to attend a support group with fellow "final girls" like herself. Though her fellow survivors write Lynette off as paranoid, she finds herself a pawn in a sinister conspiracy that aims to end the final girls for the last time.
|Imaginary Friend by Stephen Chbosky
Book List Review calls this award-winning blend of horror and dark fantasy a novel that “reads like a season of Stranger Things.” Single mom, Kate, and son, Christopher, have just settled into a remote Pennsylvania town after Kate fled an abusive relationship. Suddenly, Christopher goes missing; he mysteriously returns a week later with an imaginary friend and a mission to build a treehouse in the woods by Christmas in order to save the town from a terrible fate.
|In the Shadow of Spindrift House by Mira Grant
After the murder of her parents at the hands of a mysterious cult, Harlowe Upton-Jones is sent to live with her grandparents, where unanswered questions about her parent’s deaths spurs her to join a teen detective agency. As the group outgrows their teen phase, Harlowe finds them one last mystery to solve: tracking down the true owners of Spindrift House, a choice meant to lead to notoriety, but could very well end in regret. Or worse.
|The Only Good Indians by Stephen Graham Jones
Bestselling #Ownvoices author, Stephen Graham Jones, couples Native American lore and horror in this perfectly creepy tale about four childhood friends from the Blackfeet Nation haunted by an elk hunt gone awry from youth. The hunters become the hunted as an ominous, supernatural force makes their worst nightmares a reality. An excellent read for horror lovers, The Only Good Indians also delves into themes of cultural and personal identity, and breaking from traditions.
|NOS4A2 by Joe Hill
Now an AMC TV series, NOS4A2 is an award-winning horror novel by bestselling author, Joe Hill. As a teen, Victoria McQueen lived a rather uneventful life in Haverhill, Massachusetts, that is, apart from her secret, supernatural gift for finding things, or time traveling on her Raleigh Tuff Burner bike. While using her secret powers, she also crossed paths with Charles Talent Manx, an ancient, evil entity that preys on unsuspecting children. Years later, Vic must go head-to-head with Manx in a battle of life and death, when her son falls victim to his vile plans.
Books- Science Fiction
|Chosen Ones by Veronica Roth
Ten years after the fall of the Dark One, a supernatural evil that plagued North America, the five Chosen Ones who caused the Dark One’s demise are shocked when one of their own dies suddenly. Now in their twenties, they find themselves in a race against time to once again vanquish the horrific plans laid out by their enemy long ago, and save the world as they know it. Fans of the Divergent series will enjoy more of Roth’s token world building in her acclaimed adult debut.
|Lovecraft Country by Matt Ruff
Written in part as a response to racism in late author H. P. Lovecraft’s classic horror novels, and now a limited series on HBO, Lovecraft Country centers on young, Black, Korean Army vet, Atticus Turner, as he and his companions battle the evils of racism and sinister supernatural forces alike, on a dangerous search for his missing father in 1954’s Jim Crow America.
|Meddling Kids by Edgar Cantero
Thirteen years have passed since four childhood friends spent the summer of 1977 solving mysteries in their Oregon hometown. When ringleader Andy decides to call the gang back together, the Blyton Summer Detective Club find themselves picking up where they left off in this supernatural mystery dubbed a “goofy, smart love letter to childhood adventure and enduring friendship” by Publishers Weekly.
|Devil House by John Darnielle
True crime writer, Gage Chandler, has been offered what seems like a lucky break for his stalled career: to live in the “Devil House” where a multiple murders happened during the 1980’s Satanic Panic. Settled into the Milpas, California house of horrors, Gage begins researching the crimes, attempting to piece together all the details surrounding the heinous acts, which in turn, forces him to question the morality of his life's work.
|The Grownup by Gillian Flynn
A suspenseful, Edgar Award-winning short story by Gillian Flynn of Gone Girl fame. A twenty something fake fortuneteller thinks she found an easy mark in wealthy Susan; a woman claiming her house is haunted. However, upon visiting the house in person, she has the eerie feeling that the haunting might be authentically supernatural.
|The Sun Down Motel by Simone St. James
After losing her mom to cancer, twenty-year-old Carly Kirk receives a modest inheritance and settles into Fell, New York, where her Aunt Viv vanished thirty-five years ago. Soon Carly picks up where her aunt left off, working the night desk shift at the Sun Down Motel, and puzzling out the mysteries her aunt was piecing together, including tracking down a possible serial killer in the town.
|Night Bus by Zuo Ma
With painstakingly detailed, mostly black and white drawings, author and illustrator Zuo Ma shares a series of surreal, dreamlike stories in this thoughtful and otherworldly graphic novel. Night Bus blends autobiography, horror, and fantasy into a vibrantly detailed surreal world that shows Ma’s distinct talent while surveying his past (Publisher).
|Paper Girls Volume One by Brian Vaughn and Cliff Chiang
On the lookout for post-Halloween antics, four twelve-year-old papergirls choose to stick together on their deliveries one morning, and are soon caught up in an interdimensional warzone. With action packed, spellbinding storytelling, 1980’s nostalgia, and vibrant drawings that jump off the page, there’s something for everyone in the first installment of this award-winning graphic novel series.
|It directed by Andrés Muschietti
A 2017 remake of the 1990’s horror film based on the Stephen King classic of the same name, “It” follows a group of misfit youngsters, self-proclaimed as the “Losers Club,” in Derry, Maine who come face-to-face with an evil, shape-shifting entity.
|It Chapter Two directed by Andrés Muschietti
In the second and final installment of the “It” saga, the Losers Club reunites as adults in Derry, NH to once more battle their evil, supernatural nemesis.
|Stand by Me directed by Rob Reiner
Four boys set out to catch a glimpse of the body of a local teen who died accidentally, and end up having a life-altering journey of friendship and self-discovery.
Based on the award-winning science fiction/horror novel of the same name, Lovecraft Country centers on young, Black, Korean War veteran Atticus Turner, as he fights monsters, both human and supernatural, in this limited series from HBO that personifies the evils of Jim Crow’s America.
|NOS4A2 Season One
Based on the bestselling Joe Hill Novel, this dark AMC series pits ancient succubus, Charlie Manx, against a young woman with supernatural powers who threatens Manx’s chilling agenda.
|NOS4A2 Season Two
In season two of the series, Manx and Vic are once again locked in battle, with the stakes higher than ever after Manx sets his sights on Vic’s son.
|Stranger Things Season One
The award-winning Netflix phenomenon from the Duffer brothers, which now has a following in the billions, begins in 1983 with the sudden disappearance of young Will Byer in Hawkins, Indiana; the search for Will leads to mysterious findings in the town, and a strange girl with supernatural powers.
|Stranger Things Season Two
A year after Will’s return, things are still far from normal in Hawkins, and the ragtag gang of young investigators is back at it, trying to save their town, and possibly the world, from forces they still don’t fully understand.
|Stranger Things: Music from the Netflix Original Series
This collection of music from the series in CD form includes hits like “Every Breath You Take” (The Police); “Hazy Shade of Winter” (The Bangles); and “Girls on Film” (Duran Duran); as well as original dialog from the show.