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The 10 Best LGBT Horror Books You Should Have Read Already By Now!

The 10 Best LGBT Horror Books You Should Have Read Already By Now!

The wild! The spooky! The stories that leave you checking behind you as you make your way down the hallways of your house at night, and not wanting to close your eyes in the shower for fear of being happened upon by some unsightly ghoul. This is what the best LGBT horror books offer.

Horror means a lot of different things to different people. One needs to look into the many different genres of horror movies to understand that. Some people are more affected by slow, gradual scares that work on more of a psychological level, while others get their kicks from jump scares and brutal violence.

On the same note, creators of horror movies and authors of scary books come in all shapes and sizes, with their concept of what horror is differing as much as the opinions and tastes of their readers and watchers.

Horror books can follow the same principles as movies, incorporating elements of creeping dread and an ominous tone that gives the reader just as much unsettling anxiety as watching a frightening visual experience, or they can build on factors that only the written word can show mastery over.

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We’ve spoken about the relationship between horror and queer characters in other lists, but what about the relationship between queer people and horror stories – vice versa, if you will.

It can be easily said that there is a large amount of queer representation in young adult horror as a whole – which is one of the main hotspots of the genre in modern fiction – but this is large because young adult content is well known to be much more accepting and representative when it comes to LGBT themes than novels strictly for adults.

Another angle on the subject is that horror is a rather avant-garde section of fiction to start with, and thus often, notions taken on to ‘appeal to the public’ or keep the work more mainstream is generally abandoned.

This leaves the genre of horror as being quite a gold mine when it comes to looking for LGBT representation and a definite must-explore area for anyone interested in both creepy thrills and queer love. A legendary and excellent combination for all tastes!

So, with that said, get out your vampire fangs, ready for your werewolf transformation, and prepare to shuffle out of the grave as we hack through our list of the top ten LGBT horror books from the dark depths of literary history!

We tell beginnings: for the flesh and the answer,
or the look, the lake in the eye that knows,
for the despair that flows down in widest rivers,
cloud of home; and also the green tree of grace,
all in the leaf, in the love that gives us ourselves.

The word of nourishment passes through the women,
soldiers and orchards rooted in constellations,
white towers, eyes of children:
saying in time of war What shall we feed?
I cannot say the end.

From Elegy in Joy by Muriel Rukeyser
Queer Literature

Don't have time to read them all? Why not try listening to them? Audible is a great platform for listening to audiobooks because it offers a wide selection of books, including bestsellers and exclusive content. With Audible, you can listen to your favorite books on-the-go, whether you're commuting, working out, or doing household chores.

The Audible app also has features like adjustable narration speed, a sleep timer, and the ability to create bookmarks, making it easy to customize your listening experience. Additionally, Audible offers a membership program that gives members access to a certain number of audiobooks per month, making it a cost-effective option for avid listeners. 

A great resource for people who want to maximize their time and make the most out of their daily activities. Try a free 30-day trial from Audible today, and you'll get access to a selection of Audible Originals and audiobooks, along with a credit to purchase any title in their premium selection, regardless of price (including many of the books on this list!) 

For ebook lovers, we also recommend Scribd, basically the Netflix for Books and the best and most convenient subscription for online reading. While they have a catalog comprising over half a million books including from many bestselling authors, for some of the books on this list, you'll still have to purchase individually - either as a paperback or eBook to load on your Kindle - due to publishing house restrictions. 

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Hell Followed With Us by Andrew Joseph White

A work of power and resistance against dark forces, Hell Followed With Us is a fiery start to this list of the best LGBT horror books and pulls no punches with the strength of its horror, the braveness and complexity of its characters, or the depth of its world.

Benji is a trans boy in a world headed for destruction. More permanent destruction than it has already come to suffer that is.

He’s a little too busy running from the cult that caused the apocalypse that claimed everything that used to be – both from their attempts at capturing him and from the bioweapon that infected him within the midst of the years he spent raised under their control.

All seems lost for him until he stumbles across the Acheson LGBTQ+ Center – once a refuge for outcasts in a time of invasive society, and now a refuge for outcasts in a time of monstrous apocalypse.

There he finds the ALC’s de-facto leader Nick, who takes Benji under his wing in exchange for using his slowly manifesting strengths to defend the rest of the building’s inhabitants and what little dream of a stable life they all have left.

But what will Benji make of the ALC’s secrets, as well as Nick’s, and will he be able to control the monster slowly, taking his freedom away from the inside for as long as it takes to find a solution to all the insanity around them? That’s for you to read and discover.

Hell Followed With Us by Andrew Joseph White - Best LGBT Horror Books

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Queer Little Nightmares Compiled by David Ly and Daniel Zomparelli

We’ve covered other compilation volumes in other lists on this site, but none is so colorful, unique, and well-crafted as Queer Little Nightmares.

Including contributions from talented writers Amber Dawn, David Demchuk, Hiromi Goto, Jaye Simpson, Eddy Boudel Tan, and Kai Cheng Thom, the book aims to bring a new queer light to some of the most classic monsters, tales, and tropes of all times, and boy does it deliver!

The stories range from quirky to serious quite quickly but never leave behind their sense of wit and interesting storytelling as they skip from one underappreciated fiend to another demonized shadow dweller just looking for a real first chance.

In many ways, Queer Little Nightmares is about finding the monster that hides away inside of us all by conversely showing us human nature and the relatable normalness that hides away in the monsters we vilify so often.

Sure, one could say that a werewolf isn’t something you’d want to meet in the dark of the night, but what if she was going through puberty and had to balance her supernatural affliction with being queer and trying to do her best in school?

The talent of the contributing writers as well as the variety and diversity of both their own identities and the topics that they choose to cover, is truly amazing and makes Queer Little Nightmares an unforgettable read, though it is not always truly frightening in any negative sense of the word.

Queer Little Nightmares Compiled by David Ly and Daniel Zomparelli - Best LGBT Horror Books

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Sawkill Girls by Claire Legrand

Sawkill Girls is a book about seeing problems, being unsatisfied with the effort to fix them, and then taking things into your own hands. That’s exactly what the ‘Sawkill Girls themselves, Marion, Val, and Zoey, set out to do, and they certainly make waves in boldness, bravery, and persistence.

Sawkill Island has always been haunted by dark legends and very real nightmare tales, most importantly of all, the story of the Collector, who is known to hunt for, kidnap, and feast upon young girls across the island.

The missing people have stacked up over the years, and there doesn’t seem to be any stopping the place from turning into a deserted, haunted graveyard of what could have once been.

That is, at least if the three young women don’t do something about it. Fate isn’t going to intervene, or at least it hasn’t yet, and thus it’s up to them to save the island, unravel the mystery of the collector and the missing girls, and make things right for both themselves and the rest of the island’s inhabitants.

It isn’t easy, but they know they have no choice, and so on through the hopeless dark.

Addressing grief and pursuing new life with equal measure, Legrand’s writing in Sawkill Girls subverts initial expectations immensely and turns the book from a generic mystery novel into something that tries to connect with its readers and leave a deep message.

Sawkill Girls by Claire Legrand - Best LGBT Horror Books

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My Dearest Darkness by Kayla Cottingham

A New York Times and Publisher’s Weekly bestseller even though it is Cottingham’s debut novel, My Dearest Darkness is a tale of dread, darkness, and woe – watching over the shoulder of new transfer student Finch Chamberlin upon her arrival to the prestigious Ulalume Academy.

A school is a sour place of long corridors and stale lessons, filled with the feeling of age and power, but the mysteries of Ulalume Academy are nothing compared to the supernatural nature of its newest arrival.

Finch isn’t exactly a normal girl, as her fellow student Selena St. Clair is quick to notice. There’s something about her – something different, something strange, and something that could very well be quite dangerous.

Turns out there’s a little more to Finch’s pull to the school and Selena’s attention than either of them thought. Months ago, before she had ever set foot in Ulalume Academy, Finch and her parents drowned in a tragic accident. Finch alone did not pass on to the other side.

Instead, she returned, and everything was different for her. And now the school and the town of Rainwater around it is all she can think of. Something ancient lies in wait there for her; she knows it, and she will find out exactly what happened to her and why.

Deeply fleshed out and well written, My Dearest Darkness deserves all of its accolades and is a no-brainer entry to this list. Get yourself a copy asap!

My Dearest Darkness by Kayla Cottingham - Best LGBT Horror Books

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Dead Flip by Sara Farizan

Perfect for Stranger Things fans looking for a little more literary spice to bridge the gap between seasons, Dead Flip embraces everything good about the show that inspired its style and direction and adds its taste to create a blend that is much more.

The three best friends, Cori, Maz, and Sam, are practically inseparable. Or at least they were until Sam goes missing and is presumed dead for five years. In that time, Maz and Cori fall apart somewhat, and things are only complicated further when Sam appears back in both of their lives without any notice.

That, coupled with the fact that she is the same age as she was when she disappeared when their lives had all changed for the worse.

The story that follows is dark, mysterious, and ever-building, giving readers the feeling that they are delving into something that they just might be better off leaving alone. And that’s exactly how Cori and Maz feel, too, forced to investigate feelings and secrets they had tried to bury ever since the ‘death’ of their friends to discover what happened that Halloween night so long ago.

Award-winning Farizan’s writing is talented, gripping, and provides all the right levels of thriller and mystery horror at once, making Dead Flip and her other works must-reads for fans of the genre and – as mentioned earlier – those interested in indulging with a retro story that calls up Stranger Things nostalgia.

Dead Flip by Sara Farizan - Best LGBT Horror Books

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Tell Me I’m Worthless by Alison Rumfitt

A contemporary work from the artistically gifted mind of Alison Rumfitt, well known for her other horror and queer fiction work, Tell Me I’m Worthless, encompasses both of those genres and much more.

In one way, the book is about the single night that protagonist Alice spent with her friends in an abandoned house. That house is named Albion, and her visit there spelled disaster for Alice’s life ever since. Now she is alone, desperate, and poor – bouncing from one dark, boring party to another bright morning and wondering how she could get herself out of this mess.

In another way, however, Tell Me I’m Worthless is the tale of two of the original three friends – Alice and Illa – returning to Albion to face the site which started the onset of all their horrors to discover what went on that night once and for all, as well as what this house means to the world. But are they prepared to handle what they find?

The book focuses heavily on themes of fascism and oppression through the metaphors of power and horror that it explores, which makes it an even more interesting piece of literature especially given that those metaphors bridge heavily into queer and transgender rights arguments.

It’s a punk twist on the dark and dreary world of the modern thriller, and this adds an edge to it that brings it to rival even the most regaled works on today’s fiction shelves.

Tell Me I’m Worthless by Alison Rumfitt - Best LGBT Horror Books

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The Drowning Girl by Caitlín R. Kiernan

There’s nothing quite as good about a horror novel than hanging on the conclusion of a mystery – waiting for the great reveal of what exactly is going on and what will happen to our main characters in the end – and that is something that The Drowning Girl understands very well.

Narrated in first person by India Morgan Phelps – known as ‘Imp’ to her friends – The Drowning Girl is a tale of a mind that cannot trust itself, submerged in a world that threatens to betray and overwhelm it at any moment.

India is schizophrenic, and even she is not fully convinced that her story is factual. In her words, both her mother and grandmother were crazy, and she should have seen it coming.

But ‘being crazy’ alone does not dismiss the wit, the intrigue, and the depth of India’s life and adventures. The Drowning Girl is a tale filled to the brim with tense thrillers, ghosts and their mourning, wild werewolves, and long-sunken mermaids. Hypnotic, gripping, and mysterious like no other work of its kind, this book will keep you reading from start to finish.

The proud and worthy recipient of a sheer hoard of literary awards ranging from the 2012 Bram Stoker Award for Best Novel to a nomination for the 2012 Nebula Award, The Drowning Girl is weird and wonderful from start to finish – keeping up a haunting tone from every new step that it takes.

The Drowning Girl by Caitlín R. Kiernan - Best LGBT Horror Books

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Ace of Spades by Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé

Taking on both racial and queer discrimination in a dual-pronged attack into the world of horror, Ace of Spades is powerful in all the ways that matter and genuinely unsettling by way of a dark, gripping story in many more.

The book’s setting is the mysterious, prestigious Niveus Private Academy – a place where status is king, and money is even more invaluable to buy success than it is in the outside world. As it often is with places lined to the rim with money, secrets are paramount and hide in every corner.

Secrets that someone knows.

All of them. They seem to have no problem texting out to school members, either. The epidemic of truth-telling spreads on and on, causing chaos wherever it touches until the private photos of a quiet yet talented musician named Devon are sent to every pair of willing eyes. It isn’t just Devon who is finding themselves a target of this anonymous texter.

A head girl named Chiamaka – who, outside of Devon, is the only other non-white student at Niveus Private Academy – starts to see her slice of the insidious attention, and things only go downhill for both of them from there.

It’s up to them to solve the mystery of the anonymous texter and get back their reputations, but will the problems stop there, or is there something much darker at play here – more deadly, dangerous, and broiling than either of them could have ever imagined?

Ace of Spades by Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé - Best LGBT Horror Books

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The Many Half-Lived Lives of Sam Sylvester by Maya MacGregor

Making one’s way through life when you’re queer and the world around you is less than easy at the best of times, but what if you had to solve a demonic mystery at the same time before things would get any easier?

Sam Sylvester – recently moved from a rural home in the Midwest to Astoria, Oregon – doesn’t think so. At first, things were fine. Good, even.

They were already somewhat less than enthusiastic about the move after the disastrous repercussions of their last home change, but budding friendships throughout this new town soon eased the transition. There’s Shep – the next-door neighbor – and several other friends that they come to meet for the local ‘queer club’.

Things don’t say sunny for long, however, and soon any hope of Sam’s for peace is rudely interrupted by hints of a murder, the mass return of a startling number of ghosts, and a mystery that is sure to lead Sam far back into the past of the town as well as that of themselves. What happened here back so long ago?

The Many Half-Lived Lives of Sam Sylvester is a contemporary, heart-touching work that hits as many high notes as it fills good niches and horror and queer literature genres.

Filled to the brim with characters of all orientations and identities, the book is as good at bringing its characters together as it brings the reader into its well-crafted and just a little terrifying world.

The Many Half-Lived Lives of Sam Sylvester by Maya MacGregor - Best LGBT Horror Books

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The Honeys by Ryan La Sala

Another flaming hit from La Sala’s already immensely successful catalog of offerings to the writing scene; The Honeys holds the very spirit of the sickly sweet and just slightly wrong, playing on the edge between the wonderful and the horrific with a skill that makes it an addictive read and an unstoppable page turner for all fans of the genre.

The Honeys immediately pulls readers down and into its depths, taking you down the twisted paths of Mars’ development and coming to terms with his genderfluidity in a setting of creeping horror.

Their sister recently died, and if that wasn’t bad enough, their parents have decided to send them to the prestigious but mysterious Aspen Conservancy Summer Academy in her stead. She loved it there, but after Mars arrives, their enthusiasm to live out their sister’s life and honor her wishes slowly declines in the gloom of the school’s secrets.

The book offers excellent challenges to gender rules and issues in education and gender fluid representation, bringing real-life issues into a dark setting that makes them into just another weapon that the atmosphere of the Aspen Conservancy Summer Academy holds over Mars and the rest of its students as a whole.

What starts as Mars’ story and their journey through grief soon becomes much bigger. The buildup and execution of the slow build that The Honeys offers shows off La Sala’s excellent writing skills to a tee and is sure to please, impress, and terrify.

The Honeys by Ryan La Sala CR: Scholastic

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