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Have you ever really wanted to own a book, but the cover was just a little too disturbing, so you thought, “No, it can’t live in my house!” ? Or maybe you had no interest in the book but the cover was so creepy you thought, “Yes, pet, you’re coming home with me.” Maybe the cover wouldn’t be categorized as scary or unsettling based on people’s first scary/horrifying thought, but maybe it just makes your brain twitch to shake it. I talk about all of these things, and probably more, here. But just in relation to the cover, none of that “what’s inside that matters” makes any sense.
You probably think I went with clowns and dolls and only scary horror blankets, but there’s romance on this list because the only criteria was if the image kept swirling around in my brain even after the book was not in front of me. Don’t Follow Me, Scary Blanket! Alright, maybe some of you can.
Cherry Slice by Dia Reeves
This one is scary not for what’s on the cover as much as for what’s not shown. Did someone drink the blood from the teacups and then put them neatly away when finished? Who the hell is here drinking blood at tea parties? ! I mean a vampire tea party doesn’t sound scary, I would attend (without ingesting blood) but like real humans with a bloody tea party, I won’t stand it.
Hot Under His Collar (The Nolans #3) by Andie J. Christopher
Would you absolutely lose money betting that this list didn’t contain romance? Certainly. But look at the cover. Seriously, is the priest a giant? Is she the incredible shrunken woman who now fits in the palm of his hand? Does the shrunken woman dating the giant priest look scary to me? Yeah. And yeah. I think her eyes saying “I’m going to eat you” when she’s the size of an appetizer isn’t helping. Was it the first book I thought of for this list? Maaaaaaybe.
Nothing But Blackened Teeth by Cassandra Khaw
This one doesn’t really need much explaining, I just really, really, I don’t like looking at anything that will definitely eat my soul after I’ve nibbled all my limbs and licked under my fingernails – I just freaked myself out typing this! Plus, it absolutely, definitely makes a terrifyingly high-pitched sound when it nibbles. ON YOU. No thanks!
By Natsuo Kirino
That knife point so close to stinging that eyeball just made me shake my shoulder to get rid of the creepy crawling feeling. Alright, have you ever had your own lash in the eye? It’s the most uncomfortable and so irritating feeling and it’s just one little lash – it’s the edge of a knife! A sharp, pointed knife that kills! I can’t even talk about it anymore because I can’t watch this cover anymore so I’m moving on.
Alena by Kim W. Andersson
That’s a lot of blood on a teenage girl’s face that clearly isn’t hers. Because it was obviously sprayed on him. And she doesn’t look angry. Or scared. But rather mildly amused. I like it, but from afar. As far as you can imagine.
Appointment with Death (Hercule Poirot #19) by Agatha Christie
There’s a lot to be said for this 1980 Fontana cover that probably casts a wide net of things to scare people away. Starting with all those who are afraid of spiders. But not just any spider, apparently there is one that will come out of your sliced skull. To be honest, none of these points scare me. It’s the look in his eyes! What is she inviting you to? Playing with his spider brain? Absolutely not. But don’t really examine them, she could really hypnotize you and I would feel responsible and we can’t accept that.
Killing Auntie by Andrzej Bursa, Wiesiek Powaga (Translation)
Making it a graphic cover doesn’t change the fact that someone cut off her aunt’s foot. (I guess based on the title) Before or after he died? Does it matter?! On my wish list, there is no mention of looking at severed body parts. Even though they look like cartoons, you can see the bone!
NOS4R2 by Joe Hill
I call this book the license plate book because it is impossible for me to remember a string of letters or numbers, much less a mixture, as a title. It will not arrive. (I’ll never remember Nosferatu either.) However, the cover with the license plate isn’t the one that scares me. It’s this one of Orion with the Christmas wreath that does it. That’s subtly why it scares me. You’d walk past this house walking your dog and just think “Oh look, they got their Christmas wreath out” and you’d definitely wave if they were on the porch. You won’t notice that it contains bloody skulls. And it’s not just “Hey, let’s mix our Halloween decor with our Christmas decor” skulls. This blood is real and they have no problem exposing their victims outside their front door. It’s messed up and no one is safe around this house. It’s a serial killer trophy Christmas wreath!
If you’re wondering why I didn’t credit the artists for the covers, that’s something I kinda back and forth on and ended up feeling better off not attaching a name to something that could be read as negative when my opinions aren’t it’s not meant to attack someone’s hard work. I strongly advise you to research the cover artist if you like the cover of a particular book and want to learn more about their work.
If now you need more horror, here are 35 new YA horror books to devour!