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Dark Teen Fiction

From brooding to disturbing to downright terrifying, Richland Library's teen collection is full of books that will satisfy even hardcore horror fans. Here is a worthy list to get you started, but be warned, many of these titles deal with mature topics and include colorful language.


The Raft by S. A. Bodeen
Jessica G. Says: Darkness Factor 1: Survival story of a teen girl adrift at sea
Amazon Says: Robie is an experienced traveler. She’s taken the flight from Honolulu to the Midway Atoll, a group of Pacific islands where her parents live, many times. When she has to ge more...
Amazon Says: Robie is an experienced traveler. She’s taken the flight from Honolulu to the Midway Atoll, a group of Pacific islands where her parents live, many times. When she has to get to Midway in a hurry after a visit with her aunt in Hawaii, she gets on the next cargo flight at the last minute. She knows the pilot, but on this flight, there’s a new co-pilot named Max. All systems are go until a storm hits during the flight. The only passenger, Robie doesn’t panic until the engine suddenly cuts out and Max shouts at her to put on a life jacket. They are over miles of Pacific Ocean. She sees Max struggle with a raft. And then . . . she’s in the water. Fighting for her life. Max pulls her onto the raft, and that’s when the real terror begins. They have no water. Their only food is a bag of Skittles. There are sharks. There is an island. But there’s no sign of help on the way. less...
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The Giver by Lois Lowry
Jessica G. Says: Darkness Factor 2: There is a dark side to this Utopian society
Amazon Says: Jonas's world is perfect. Everything is under control. There is no war or fear of pain. There are no choices. Every person is assigned a role in the community. Jonas lives i more...
Amazon Says: Jonas's world is perfect. Everything is under control. There is no war or fear of pain. There are no choices. Every person is assigned a role in the community. Jonas lives in a seemingly ideal world.When Jonas turns 12 he is singled out to receive special training from The Giver. The Giver alone holds the memories of the true pain and pleasure of life. Not until he is given his life assignment as the Receiver does Jonas begin to understand the dark secrets behind this fragile community. Now, it is time for Jonas to receive the truth. There is no turning back. less...
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Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card
Jessica G. Says: Darkness Factor 2: Children are used as military strategists
Amazon Says: In order to develop a secure defense against a hostile alien race's next attack, government agencies breed child geniuses and train them as soldiers. A brilliant young boy, An more...
Amazon Says: In order to develop a secure defense against a hostile alien race's next attack, government agencies breed child geniuses and train them as soldiers. A brilliant young boy, Andrew "Ender" Wiggin lives with his kind but distant parents, his sadistic brother Peter, and the person he loves more than anyone else, his sister Valentine. Peter and Valentine were candidates for the soldier-training program but didn't make the cut--young Ender is the Wiggin drafted to the orbiting Battle School for rigorous military training.Ender's skills make him a leader in school and respected in the Battle Room, where children play at mock battles in zero gravity. Yet growing up in an artificial community of young soldiers, Ender suffers greatly from isolation, rivalry from his peers, pressure from the adult teachers, and an unsettling fear of the alien invaders. His psychological battles include loneliness, fear that he is becoming like the cruel brother he remembers, and fanning the flames of devotion to his beloved sister. Is Ender the general Earth needs? But Ender is not the only result of the genetic experiments. The war with the Buggers has been raging for a hundred years, and the quest for the perfect general has been underway for almost as long. Ender's two older siblings are every bit as unusual as he is, but in very different ways. Between the three of them lie the abilities to remake a world. If the world survives, that is.Winner of the Hugo and Nebula Awards. less...
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Trash by Andy Mulligan
Jessica G. Says: Darkness Factor 2: Impoverished children make a living on a trash heap
Amazon Says: In an unnamed Third World country, in the not-so-distant future, three “dumpsite boys” make a living picking through the mountains of garbage on the outskirts of a large c more...
Amazon Says: In an unnamed Third World country, in the not-so-distant future, three “dumpsite boys” make a living picking through the mountains of garbage on the outskirts of a large city. One unlucky-lucky day, Raphael finds something very special and very mysterious. So mysterious that he decides to keep it, even when the city police offer a handsome reward for its return. That decision brings with it terrifying consequences, and soon the dumpsite boys must use all of their cunning and courage to stay ahead of their pursuers. It’s up to Raphael, Gardo, and Rat—boys who have no education, no parents, no homes, and no money—to solve the mystery and right a terrible wrong. Andy Mulligan has written a powerful story about unthinkable poverty—and the kind of hope and determination that can transcend it. With twists and turns, unrelenting action, and deep, raw emotion, Trash is a heart-pounding, breath-holding novel. less...
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Not a Drop to Drink by Mindy McGinnis
Jessica G. Says: Darkness Factor 2: Teen girl aggressively defends her only water source
Amazon Says: Fans of classic frontier survival stories, as well as readers of dystopian literature, will enjoy this futuristic story where water is worth more than gold. New York Times bes more...
Amazon Says: Fans of classic frontier survival stories, as well as readers of dystopian literature, will enjoy this futuristic story where water is worth more than gold. New York Times bestselling author Michael Grant says Not a Drop to Drink is a debut "not to be missed." With evocative, spare language and incredible drama, danger, and romance, Mindy McGinnis depicts one girl's journey in a frontierlike world not so different from our own.Teenage Lynn has been taught to defend her pond against every threat: drought, a snowless winter, coyotes, and most important, people looking for a drink. She makes sure anyone who comes near the pond leaves thirsty—or doesn't leave at all. Confident in her own abilities, Lynn has no use for the world beyond the nearby fields and forest. But when strangers appear, the mysterious footprints by the pond, nighttime threats, and gunshots make it all too clear Lynn has exactly what they want, and they won't stop until they get it. . . .For more in this gritty world, join Lynn on an epic journey to find home in the companion novel, In a Handful of Dust. less...
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Jessica G. Says: Darkness Factor 3: Two souls in every person and one of them has to go, even if that means by force
Amazon Says: Eva and Addie started out the same way as everyone else--two souls woven together in one body, taking turns controlling their movements as they learned how to walk, how to sin more...
Amazon Says: Eva and Addie started out the same way as everyone else--two souls woven together in one body, taking turns controlling their movements as they learned how to walk, how to sing, how to dance. But as they grew, so did the worried whispers. Why aren't they settling? Why isn't one of them fading? The doctors ran tests, the neighbors shied away, and their parents begged for more time. Finally Addie was pronounced healthy and Eva was declared gone. Except, she wasn't...  For the past three years, Eva has clung to the remnants of her life. Only Addie knows she's still there, trapped inside their body. Then one day, they discover there may be a way for Eva to move again. The risks are unimaginable-hybrids are considered a threat to society, so if they are caught, Addie and Eva will be locked away with the others. And yet...for a chance to smile, to twirl, to speak, Eva will do anything. less...
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Butter by Erin Jade Lange
Jessica G. Says: Darkness Factor 3: Obese teen boy plans to commit suicide by excessive food consumption and broadcast it over the internet
Amazon Says: A lonely obese boy everyone calls "Butter" is about to make history. He is going to eat himself to death-live on the Internet-and everyone is invited to watch. When he first m more...
Amazon Says: A lonely obese boy everyone calls "Butter" is about to make history. He is going to eat himself to death-live on the Internet-and everyone is invited to watch. When he first makes the announcement online to his classmates, Butter expects pity, insults, and possibly sheer indifference. What he gets are morbid cheerleaders rallying around his deadly plan. Yet as their dark encouragement grows, it begins to feel a lot like popularity. And that feels good. But what happens when Butter reaches his suicide deadline? Can he live with the fallout if he doesn't go through with his plans? With a deft hand, E.J. Lange allows readers to identify with both the bullies and the bullied in this all-consuming look at one teen's battle with himself. less...
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Jessica G. Says: Darkness Factor 3: All-male society can hear one anothers' dark thoughts
Amazon Says: This is an unflinching novel about the impossible choices of growing up, by an award-winning writer.Imagine you're the only boy in a town of men. And you can hear everything t more...
Amazon Says: This is an unflinching novel about the impossible choices of growing up, by an award-winning writer.Imagine you're the only boy in a town of men. And you can hear everything they think. And they can hear everything you think. Imagine you don't fit in with their plans...Todd Hewitt is just one month away from the birthday that will make him a man. But his town has been keeping secrets from him. Secrets that are going to force him to run... less...
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Unwind by Neal Shusterman
Jessica G. Says: Darkness Factor 4: At the age of 13, children can be taken apart and redistributed to society (with parental approval of course)
Amazon Says: In a society where unwanted teens are salvaged for their body parts, three runaways fight the system that would "unwind" them Connor's parents want to be rid of him becaus more...
Amazon Says: In a society where unwanted teens are salvaged for their body parts, three runaways fight the system that would "unwind" them Connor's parents want to be rid of him because he's a troublemaker. Risa has no parents and is being unwound to cut orphanage costs. Lev's unwinding has been planned since his birth, as part of his family's strict religion. Brought together by chance, and kept together by desperation, these three unlikely companions make a harrowing cross-country journey, knowing their lives hang in the balance. If they can survive until their eighteenth birthday, they can't be harmed -- but when every piece of them, from their hands to their hearts, are wanted by a world gone mad, eighteen seems far, far away. In Unwind, Boston Globe/Horn Book Award winner Neal Shusterman challenges readers' ideas about life -- not just where life begins, and where it ends, but what it truly means to be alive. less...
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Long Lankin by Lindsey Barraclough
Jessica G. Says: Darkness Factor 4: Frightening child-eating entity haunts a small village
Amazon Says: A chilling, beautiful debut novel inspired by a haunting folk song about murder, witchcraft and revenge. Beware of Long Lankin, that lives in the moss ...When Cora and her lit more...
Amazon Says: A chilling, beautiful debut novel inspired by a haunting folk song about murder, witchcraft and revenge. Beware of Long Lankin, that lives in the moss ...When Cora and her little sister Mimi are sent to stay with their elderly aunt in the isolated village of Bryers Guerdon, they receive a less than warm welcome, and are desperate to go back to London. But Auntie Ida's life was devastated the last time two young girls were at Guerdon Hall, and now her nieces' arrival has reawoken an evil that has lain waiting for years. A haunting voice in an empty room ...A strange, scarred man lurking in the graveyard ...A mysterious warning, scrawled on the walls of the abandoned church ...Along with Roger and Peter, two young village boys, Cora must uncover the horrifying truth that has held Bryers Guerdon in its dark grip for centuries - before it is too late for Mimi. Intensely atmospheric and truly compelling, this is a stunning debut. less...
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The Waking Dark by Robin Wasserman
Jessica G. Says: Darkness Factor 4: Small town goes insane and residents begin murdering one another
Amazon Says: The Waking Dark is “a horror story worthy of Stephen King” (Booklist) and “a book you won’t soon forget” (Cassandra Clare, author of the Mortal Instruments serie more...
Amazon Says: The Waking Dark is “a horror story worthy of Stephen King” (Booklist) and “a book you won’t soon forget” (Cassandra Clare, author of the Mortal Instruments series)—perfect for readers of Gillian Flynn and Rick Yancey.   They called it the killing day. Twelve people murdered, in the space of a few hours, their killers also all dead by their own hand . . . except one. And that one has no answers to offer the shattered town.   Something is waking in the sleepy town of Oleander, Kansas—something dark and hungry that lives in the flat earth and the open sky, in the vengeful hearts of its upstanding citizens. As the town begins a descent into blood and madness, five survivors of the killing day are the only ones who can stop Oleander from destroying itself.   They have nothing in common. They have nothing left to lose. And they have no way out. Which means they have no choice but to stand and fight, to face the darkness in their town—and in themselves. “Suspense, chills, gasps—all that and a gem-like writing style that will make you shiver with beauty and horror. A book you won’t soon forget.” —Cassandra Clare, author of the bestselling Mortal Instruments series and Infernal Devices trilogy “Twisted, pulse-pounding, shocking, and very, very scary. With The Waking Dark, Robin Wasserman conjures vintage Stephen King as she peers into the dark heart of a nightmare America, where violence and evil lurk behind the golden glow of small-town life, and new terrors arrive by the hour. A superb horror story that is by turns visceral and lyrical, heartrending and heart-stopping.” —Libba Bray, bestselling author of the Gemma Doyle trilogy and the Diviners series   “This book has the combination of mystery and fright that I love. So many twists and shocks, I nearly jumped out of my chair several times! Trust me—this is a true chiller. Not to be missed!” —R. L. Stine   “A thriller dark and beautiful and—yes—achingly romantic at every unexpected twist and turn. Astounding.” —Lauren Myracle, New York Times bestselling author of The Infinite Moment of Us and Bliss   “Wild, nihilistic madness that will get true horror fans raising their pitchforks and torches in frenzied glee. Wasserman writes as if hooked up to IVs of Stephen King and John Carpenter's spiked blood.” —Daniel Kraus, author of Rotters and Scowler "Great dialogue and intriguing subplots add to the action-packed story . . . the suspense doesn’t let up until the final pages." —School Library Journal, Starred Review less...
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The Monstrumologist by Rick Yancey
Jessica G. Says: Darkness Factor 4: Teen boy and his eccentric guardian hunt grotesque man-eating monsters
Amazon Says: These are the secrets I have kept. This is the trust I never betrayed.But he is dead now and has been for more than forty years, the one who gave me his trust, the one for who more...
Amazon Says: These are the secrets I have kept. This is the trust I never betrayed.But he is dead now and has been for more than forty years, the one who gave me his trust, the one for whom I kept these secrets.The one who saved me...and the one who cursed me.So begins the journal of Will Henry, orphaned assistant to Dr. Pellinore War throp, a man with a most unusual specialty: monstrumology, the study of monsters. In his time with the doctor, Will has met many a mysterious late-night visitor, and seen things he never imagined were real. But when a grave robber comes calling in the middle of the night with a gruesome find, he brings with him their most deadly case yet.Critically acclaimed author Rick Yancey has written a gothic tour de force that explores the darkest heart of man and monster and asks the question: When does a man become the very thing he hunts? less...
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Jessica G. Says: Darkness Factor 5: Lovecraftian horrors, death, gore, and altered reality
Amazon Says: In the tradition of Memento and Inception comes a thrilling and scary young adult novel about blurred reality where characters in a story find that a deadly and horrifying more...
Amazon Says: In the tradition of Memento and Inception comes a thrilling and scary young adult novel about blurred reality where characters in a story find that a deadly and horrifying world exists in the space between the written lines. Seventeen-year-old Emma Lindsay has problems: a head full of metal, no parents, a crazy artist for a guardian whom a stroke has turned into a vegetable, and all those times when she blinks away, dropping into other lives so ghostly and surreal it's as if the story of her life bleeds into theirs. But one thing Emma has never doubted is that she's real. Then she writes "White Space," a story about these kids stranded in a spooky house during a blizzard. Unfortunately, "White Space" turns out to be a dead ringer for part of an unfinished novel by a long-dead writer. The manuscript, which she's never seen, is a loopy Matrix meets Inkheart story in which characters fall out of different books and jump off the page. Thing is, when Emma blinks, she might be doing the same and, before long, she's dropped into the very story she thought she'd written. Trapped in a weird, snow-choked valley, Emma meets other kids with dark secrets and strange abilities: Eric, Casey, Bode, Rima, and a very special little girl, Lizzie. What they discover is that they--and Emma--may be nothing more than characters written into being from an alternative universe for a very specific purpose. Now what they must uncover is why they've been brought to this place--a world between the lines where parallel realities are created and destroyed and nightmares are written--before someone pens their end. less...
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