With summer quickly approaching, libraries are gearing up to help readers during one of the busiest times of the year. Programs, prizes, and challenges have been prepared — usually based on summer themes. But have you considered incorporating horror into your summer reading? If not, now's the time to reach those readers who love a good scare! 

To help you work with a genre often neglected outside of October, you can use the Horror Writers Association's (HWA) Summer Scares Reading List!  

What is the Summer Scares Reading List? 

Each year, the HWA crafts a list of notable horror books for adult, teen, and middle-grade readers. The program aims to share new and exciting titles and authors with librarians and readers to encourage horror discussion and programming in libraries. While this year's selections were announced in February, the program just officially kicked off at the StokerCon 2022 Librarian's Day. Time to kick off a chillingly fun summer! 

HWA Summer Scares Programming Guide 

As part of Summer Scares, the HWA releases a fantastic programming guide that not only shares the selected books but also, for each book, provides:  

  • A book description 
  • Appeal factors just like the ones you're familiar with in NoveList 
  • A handy pre-written book talk 
  • Sample programs based on the book 
  • Read-alikes 
  • Reading group guides to facilitate fun conversations. They're ready-made for a horror book club! 
  • New and upcoming books by Summer Scares authors and spokespeople so you can stay up to date on the latest and greatest. 

The best part? You can download this beautiful program guide for free. Print it out or (my preferred trick) bookmark it for quick access if you're working at a public service desk.  

NoveList and Summer Scares 

It's a lesser-known fact that NoveList has a large group of devoted horror fans on staff, so we jumped at the chance to partner with HWA's Summer Scares program to create content that you can use this summer, and beyond. In NoveList, you'll find: 

  • Summer Scares-specific lists feature not only this year's winners but also read-alikes to try next. There are lists for all ages, and you can find the Summer Scares lists right on NoveList's homepage. We also have ready-made horror lists to meet a wide variety of user interests, like Monster Mayhem, Small Town Horror, and Witchcraft and the Occult. Lists like these make it easy to suggest books for all types of horror readers, no matter what the season.  
    • Find all the horror recommended reads list by searching GN "horror" AND ND "Recommended Reads" 
  • A brand-new article, "Recommending Horror is Nothing to Be Scared Of" by Konrad Stump, co-chair of HWA's Library Committee and horror programmer extraordinaire. Konrad shares horror how-tos for giving fans of the genre an excellent readers’ advisory experience (and maybe even luring would-be horror fans into the fold). Not a horror fan? Not a problem! NoveList has another resource waiting for you: Horror Genre Guides for older kids, teens, and adults. 
  • Horror Genre Guides that give you a quick overview starting with a concise definition of the genre; info about common elements and themes across the genre; key titles and authors; and search techniques that will convince readers you’re a total horror pro. 
    • Find all the horror genre guides by searching GX "horror" AND DE "genre guide" AND ND "readers' advisory" 
  • Searchable themes that let you find books based on overarching plot elements (think tropes) like body horror and cosmic horror.  
    • Check out all our horror themes by searching UI 448316 
  • Articles to help you learn about a variety of topics such as working horror into book clubs, horror programming, and trends.   
    • To see all horror articles search GN "horror" AND ND "readers' advisory" 
  • Last but certainly not least, LibraryAware subscribers can access phenomenal flyers that highlight this year's selections. Our talented in-house designers create eye-catching items that you can use to anchor displays (like Summer Scares) or simply post for indirect readers' advisory. 
summer scares flyers image

Download the flyers here or make your own in LibraryAware

We hope you'll embrace the spooky side every season to support your horror readers! 

Genre Foundations

Do you want to help your staff have a basic understanding of a broad range of the most popular and challenging fiction genres? Get an overview of current genre trends for adults and teens, tips to keep up with various genres, and titles to know, with an emphasis on diverse titles and authors. 

Yaika Sabat is a Senior Readers' Advisory Librarian at NoveList. She is currently reading Unmasked: My Life Solving America's Cold Cases by Paul Holes and The Strange Thing We Become and Other Dark Tales by Eric LaRocca.