T5W: Non-Horror Books that Scared You

Top 5 Wednesday is a goodreads group created by Lainey (gingerreadslainey) and now hosted by Sam (thoughtsontomes). This week’s topic is  Non-horror Books that Scared You.

This can be entire books you found frightening or just specific scenes from those books, but discuss books that weren’t technically supposed to scare you, but did.

I don’t think I ever read a scary book that wasn’t supposed to scare the reader (or be somewhat creepy) so this is a list of creepy books that were supposed to be creepy but aren’t horror.

The Gallery of Unfinished Girls by Lauren Karcz

The Gallery of Unfinished Girls isn’t a scary book, but some of its scenes were at the very least unsettling. Time lapses, memory loss, pictures disappearing – all the scenes set in the Estate had that feeling of not-quite-real that creeped me out a bit.

Wink Poppy Midnight by April Genevieve Tucholke


I read this more than a year and a half ago, but I remember that Wink Poppy Midnight was a twisted little book. I don’t think I understood everything that was happening, but the writing was stunning and I loved the (creepy) atmosphere.

The Stars Are Legion by Kameron Hurley

The Stars Are Legion is known mostly for its premise (lesbians in space!) but not everyone knows how many weird and intentionally gross descriptions/themes there are in it. And believe me, it’s better to be aware of what this is before reading it. In this book there are in-depth descriptions of entrails, body horror, and people who give birth to objects. It’s disturbing at times.

I Built This City For You by Cassandra Khaw

This is one of my favorite short stories, and probably the weirdest I’ve ever read. It’s about a woman who turns into a city because her ex-girlfriend doesn’t love her anymore. Unlike other books by Cassandra Khaw, it’s not exactly horror, but it does have creepy aspects. And the writing. Every time I think about this story I want to read it out loud. And it’s free!

Is this your city?
No, no. We understand. It is not a city yet. It is merely embryonic. Conceptual. An idea to which your bones are laced, the sinews that tether the tendons of your dreams. It is only a city in waiting, a city mid-birth, a city breathless, inexorable.

Blue Lily Lily Blue by Maggie Stefvater

The Raven Cycle as a whole has its creepy aspects – it feels so close and so removed from reality at the same time. But nothing in the series was as creepy as the tapestry scene from Blue Lily Lily Blue, at least for me. Or the mirror magic. Also the mirror magic.

What are your favorite creepy non-horror books? Have you ever been scared by a book that wasn’t supposed to be scary?

5 thoughts on “T5W: Non-Horror Books that Scared You

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