Perfect October Reads to Feed Your 90s Nostalgia
by Jen Moyers (@jen.loves.books)
Last week, my 90s nostalgia was on full display with our episode all about the 90s horror classic Scream. Sara and I had a great time diving into our re-watch in which we discovered what aged well—and didn't—about that scary movie fave. Thinking about that film made me want to revisit some spooky (or spooky-adjacent) books I read and loved in the 90s. Two caveats: (1) These books were not all published in the 90s. (2) I have NOT re-read these books since then, so proceed with caution.
Lois Duncan's The Third Eye (Amazon | Bookshop.org)
I read alll the Lois Duncan in high school, but this one may be the one that stuck with me most. I loved the plot about Karen who saw visions of where missing children were . . . and I think there's a romance with a police officer who's searching for the kids? It's all pretty fuzzy. I don't think you can go wrong with any of Duncan's books, but this is one I haven't heard as much about this many years later.
Stephen King's The Shining (Amazon | Bookshop.org)
To be perfectly honest, I've read so much Stephen King so many times that I'm not completely positive that I read this during the 90s. But there's a good chance. (I graduated from high school in '94, so that window during high school and college held a ton of good reading!) Anyway, the movie here is clearly iconic, but there's something about the story of Danny in the book that wins every time. His peril at the hands of his possessed father is deeply disturbing. (And, if you're interested, King's honesty about what's really wrong with Jack Torrance and the way that reflects King's own trials during that time is a compelling part of On Writing [Amazon | Bookshop.org].)
Dean Koontz's Intensity (Amazon | Bookshop.org)
My college roommate recommended this one to me during our freshman year, and oh my goodness, it is so creepy. Thinking about it still gives me chills—there was something about the story of Chyna Shepard who happens to be staying with a friend when a serial killer murders them all that has stayed with me. There's a prolonged scene where Chyna is hiding under a bed . . . well, let's just say this one isn't for the fainthearted.
Christopher Pike's Remember Me (Amazon | Bookshop.org)
Here's another author whose books I devoured—I seriously think I read every single one of them . . . until I didn't anymore. Anyway, I could recommend them all (anyone remember the one where the girl is actually a vulture?), but Remember Me sticks out in my mind since the protagonist is the spirit of a girl trying to solve her own murder.
Anne Rice's Interview with the Vampire (Amazon | Bookshop.org) and The Witching Hour (Amazon | Bookshop.org)
I went through a HUGE Anne Rice phase in high school and read all of her books. These two began two different series that eventually became intertwined, bringing together the worlds of vampires and witches. Of course, Interview with the Vampire gained a ton of popularity with the 1994 release of the movie adaptation, but I'll always be a fan of the books first!
John Saul's Creature (Amazon | Bookshop.org)
Okay, I haven't heard as much about Saul lately, but I really enjoyed his books. Creature is, I now recognize, an allegory about football and steroids and the system's impact on teenagers, but at the time, I just knew it was a great story. (Randomly, I always thought of this book when I watched the video for The Flys' "Got You (Where I Want You)." I don't know why.) Anyway, John Saul is fun, and this was my favorite of his books.
L. J. Smith's The Vampire Diaries: The Awakening (Amazon | Bookshop.org)
So everyone now has heard of The Vampire Diaries because of the popular television adaptation. Funny story: when I started watching, some things seemed very familiar. Suddenly, I realized that I knew this story. The next time I visited my parents' house, I dug out my ORIGINAL copies of The Vampire Diaries books, first published in 1991! Yes, they did change the show a lot from the books, but they retained enough—including Stefan, Damon, and Elena—to be recognizable.
And that's it! I'm sure I could come up with more, but I think that's a great stopping place. Do you have any 90s favorites?
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