Nostalgic Summer Horror

by Hannah K. 

Something about a hot summer day makes me want to curl up with a creepy read for a good old-fashioned scare. The kind of stories that take you back to the summer days of childhood- riding bikes and telling ghost stories with your friends. While I never joined a group of misfit friends to face down an unspeakable evil, I am absolutely down for books that deliver that trope.


Let’s grab some stories that go back a few decades and indulge in a bit of nostalgic horror.


It’s summer break, and the kids of Elm Haven Illinois are ready to enjoy their freedom until their friend disappears. The group calls themselves the Bike Patrol and takes off to start their investigation, only to find a town steeped in secrets and mystery. In this small town surrounded by cornfields, the kids uncover years of missing children, ghosts, and a terrible evil. Dan Simmons creates a world you know with characters you care for desperately. Summer of Night rekindles that childhood fear of things that go bump in the night.


In Cleveland, the summer of 1980 had quite a few alarming realities to contend with, like burning rivers and the collapsing steel mill industry. Things only got worse for the girls on Denton Street. Phoebe and her friends face a very uncertain future after their graduation, but no one could have expected the horrifying affliction that started to spread among the teenage girls in her neighborhood. Their bodies started to transform with no logical explanation; the girls’ bodies start to rust and corrode…

The Rust Maidens won the Bram Stoker Award for Best First Novel in 2018, and you’ll see why in this unique and compulsively readable horror story.


Grady Hendrix knows exactly what horror fans want, since he is One of Us. He’s the writer of the fantastic Paperbacks from Hell, which dives into the heyday of mass market pulp horror novels of the 70’s and 80’s. Hendrix genuinely loves the genre, and his books are perfect for those of us nostalgic for the horror stories of our past. My Best Friend’s Exorcism is an enthralling read, ripped right from the 80’s. Abby and Gretchen are growing up and headed to high school, but Gretchen started to change… This creepy tale of demonic possession serves up the perfect dose of horror, tinged with the humor and heartfelt characters.

There are more nostalgic horror reads waiting for you. Check out this list to find a few reads to send chills down your spine!



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2 responses to “Nostalgic Summer Horror”

  1. Kim says:

    I don’t know what it is about this time of the year either, but I’ve been craving horror. I’m currently reading “The Toll” by Cherie Priest since it takes place in my native Georgia. I loved My Best Friend’s Exorcism and the 90’s follow up The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires so I am super excited for your suggestions. Thanks!

    • Hannah K says:

      I’m glad I’m not the only one! I’m a horror nerd all year round, but summer definitely puts me in the mood for a good scare. My hold copy of The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires is in transit, and I CANNOT WAIT!

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