Wanting gorgeously and fantastically creepy.
I feel like I generally stay far, farrrr away from "creepy" books, but there are a few I've read and just adored- adored, in fact, more than many non-creepy books I've read. These two just have a certain magical something. They scare me, but don't leave me utterly terrified. They... actually fill me with yearning, to meet the characters (at least some of them) and spend a few brief moments in their world. And I like that so much.
Coraline is perhaps the most wonderfully terrifying book I have ever read. It's incredibly creepy, especially the 10th anniversary edition that I have (pictured; the link also takes you to that edition), illustrated by Chris Riddell (fairly well my all time favourite illustrator). His illustrations really cement the creepier facets of this book, because they are vivid and detailed and just capture the world and characters so well, bringing to life other-mothers you maybe never wanted to meet and will certainly never forget. There is such beauty in this art, too, and it leaves you utterly speechless, which is why I think it's such a perfect fit for Coraline.
Gaiman's story is full of a childhood sense of fear that I think is inescapable as an adult. A fear that you'll see your "family" in a different form and what once was delight and love is now an all-consuming fear. I think it was the thing of nightmares for me, as a child, that the people who loved me would stop, or they would change, and I'd never be ready or okay with that. That is so present, here, in a way, and I know I would never be able to read it in YA or adult fiction because it is so very striking, unforgettable and scary (but well done) in MG.
This one! *sighs* I feel like I bring this up, in favourite book lists and Instagram photos and just really quite regularly. I was shocked, when I went to get the link, and found I only gave it 3 stars in the day. A reread is vastly required.
I have such a love for this book and that is surprising to me even now, because I really didn't like the first two thirds of it and was almost certain I would DNF. But I didn't, because something happened- I have no idea what- and I just... went from dislike to love. And now I sing its praises semi-regularly. Fairytales is a dark, murderous feat of writing; the ground you tread on is unstable and the characters have a threatened/threatening sense to them that is so very undeniable and completely captivating.
For all the unexpectedness and peculiarity to this tale, though, the darkness is met (although often swamped by) whimsy, and it's such a good mix. When things feel almost overwhelming, you have a moment where red eyed bunnies appear, or all manner of interesting, fascinating, wonderful characters turn up. Throughout there is a definite sense of darkness, of reality, and those are just as penetrating as the fantastical aspects of this dark, wonderous book that just clicks, somehow.