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Horror Writers Association Announces 2023 Summer Scares Reading List – It’s Frighteningly Good

Sunday, February 26, 2023 | Books, News


In October 2022, the Horror Writers Association (HWA) announced New York Times Bestselling author, Daniel Kraus as its 2023 spokesperson. “My love of reading began at a public library—but I had to hunt for the horror,” said Kraus, in the October announcement. “I would have been giddy to have a slate like our 2023 choices presented to me when I walked in. I am, in fact, giddy about it right now. It’s a tremendously far-reaching group of titles that epitomizes the breadth of creativity going on in the genre.”

In celebration of National Library Lover’s Day, Summer Scares—now in its fifth year—introduces horror titles to school and public library workers to help them start conversations with readers and promote reading horror. In addition to the annual list of recommended titles, the Summer Scares committee will release themed lists of even more “read-alike” titles. Additionally, to help libraries forge stronger connections between books and readers, the Summer Scares committee works with both the recommended list authors and other horror authors from all over the country to provide free programming to libraries. The goal: promote horror as a great reading option for all ages and during any time of the year.

Kraus and a committee of five library workers have selected three recommended fiction titles in each reading level—Adult, Young Adult, and Middle Grade— totaling nine Summer Scares selections. For 2023 the selected titles are:


  • Ring Shout by Djèlí Clark (Tordotcom, 2020)
  • Catherine House by Elisabeth Thomas (Custom House, 2020)
  • The Merry Spinster: Tales of Everyday Horror by Daniel M. Lavery (Holt Paperbacks, 2018)

Young Adult:

  • In The Shadow of Blackbirds by Cat Winters (Amulet Books, 2013)
  • Squad by Maggie Tokuda-Hall and Lisa Sterle (illustrator) (Greenwillow Books, 2021)
  • Mooncakes by Suzanne Walker and Wendy Xu (illustrator) (Oni Press, 2019)

Middle Grade:

  • Small Spaces by Katharine Arden (P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers, 2018)
  • Living Ghosts and Mischievous Monsters: Chilling American Indian Stories by Dan SaSuWeh Jones, Weshoyot Alvitre (Illustrator) (Scholastic Nonfiction, 2021)
  • A Small Zombie Problem by K.G. Campbell (Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers, 2019)

Summer Scares 2023 kicks off at HWA Librarians’ Day on June 16, 2023, in Pittsburgh as part of StokerCon. Summer Scares content will also be available for free on the HWA’s YouTube page, including panels with all of this year’s selected authors.

The 2023 Summer Scares program committee consists of author Daniel Kraus, HWA Library Committee Co-Chairs Becky Spratford and Konrad Stump, as well as Academic Librarian Carolyn Ciesla, Book Riot Editor and YA specialist Kelly Jensen, and Booklist Editor and Middle Grade specialist Julia Smith.

For more information about the Summer Scares reading program, including committee member bios and how to obtain promotional materials and schedule events with the authors/committee members, please visit The Summer Scares Resource page.

Lindy Ryan
An award-winning author, editor, professor, and short-film director, Lindy Ryan was recently named one of horror’s six most masterful anthology curators, alongside Ellen Datlow and Christopher Golden, for her work in UNDER HER SKIN, a women-in-horror poetry showcase, and INTO THE FOREST: TALES OF THE BABA YAGA, a forthcoming women-in-horror anthology from Black Spot Books and Blackstone Audio. A 2020 Publishers Weekly Star Watch Honoree and previous board member for the Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA), Lindy is a long-time advocate for women-in-horror and an active member of the HWA and ITW. She is the current chair of the Horror Writers Association’s Women in Horror Month. The author of numerous works of fiction and nonfiction, Lindy’s work has been adapted for film. Her debut horror-thriller novel, BLESS YOUR HEART, is forthcoming from St. Martin’s Press/Minotaur Books.