Wednesday, October 25, 2017

[Top 5 Wednesday] Scary Non-Horror Novels

It's time for this week's Top Five Wednesday! This has been created by gingerreadslainey and it also has a Goodreads group. I am hoping to do these posts (or other weekly Wednesday posts) more often as long as I am interested in the current prompt! This week's prompt I am talking about five non-horror books that scared me. Because they're non-horror, some of these are kind of dark but I really like my picks and I hope you do too.

Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult

I am pretty sure I haven't read this book since high school but it scared me big time. When I was in high school the only real school shootings I knew about were Columbine and Virginia Tech and the thought of it happening actually terrified me (and still does with the way the world seems to be going). I remember it being well written, and that it had my interest from start to finish, but it's been so long since I've read it I can't say much else.

In nineteen minutes, you can mow the front lawn, color your hair, watch a third of a hockey game. In nineteen minutes, you can bake scones or get a tooth filled by a dentist; you can fold laundry for a family of five....In nineteen minutes, you can stop the world, or you can just jump off it. In nineteen minutes, you can get revenge.

Sterling is a small, ordinary New Hampshire town where nothing ever happens -- until the day its complacency is shattered by a shocking act of violence. In the aftermath, the town's residents must not only seek justice in order to begin healing but also come to terms with the role they played in the tragedy. For them, the lines between truth and fiction, right and wrong, insider and outsider have been obscured forever. Josie Cormier, the teenage daughter of the judge sitting on the case, could be the state's best witness, but she can't remember what happened in front of her own eyes. And as the trial progresses, fault lines between the high school and the adult community begin to show, destroying the closest of friendships and families.

Nineteen Minutes is New York Times bestselling author Jodi Picoult's most raw, honest, and important novel yet. Told with the straightforward style for which she has become known, it asks simple questions that have no easy answers: Can your own child become a mystery to you? What does it mean to be different in our society? Is it ever okay for a victim to strike back? And who -- if anyone -- has the right to judge someone else?

House of Evil by John Dean

A handful of years ago I watched a movie titled American Crime, which was about a real life event where a woman basically tortures a young girl in her care. It's an amazing movie. Heartbreaking, but well acted and really well made. It had me intrigued in the actual event, which lead me to buying this book off Amazon. It goes in detail of everything that happened and it's pretty chilling.

In the heart of Indianapolis in the mid 1960’s, through a twist of fate and fortune, a pretty young girl came to live with a thirty-seven-year-old mother and her seven children. What began as a temporary childcare arrangement between Sylvia Likens’s parents and Gertrude Baniszewski turned into a crime that would haunt cops, prosecutors, and a community for decades to come…
When police found Sylvia’s emaciated body, with a chilling message carved into her flesh, they knew that she had suffered tremendously before her death. Soon they would learn how many others—including some of Baniszewski’s own children—participated in Sylvia’s murder, and just how much torture had been inflicted in one HOUSE OF EVIL.

In the Heart of the Sea by Nathanial Philbrick

This book is about men who get stranded in the middle of the ocean while hunting whales. Something I do not talk about often is the fact that I am actually kind of terrified of large bodies of water. I haven't always been, but the last 8ish years or so I suddenly developed a phobia and I hate it. Considering I used to live on an island where I'd be transported by ferry, it could sometimes be a bit rough. It's a good book, but the thought of being stranded in the middle of the ocean sets my heart in a little panic.

Tells perhaps the greatest sea story ever - an event as mythic in its own century as the Titanic disaster in ours, and the inspiration for the climax of Moby-Dick.

"With its huge, scarred head halfway out of the water and its tail beating the ocean into a white-water wake more than forty feet across, the whale approached the ship at twice its original speed - at least six knots. With a tremendous cracking and splintering of oak, it struck the ship just beneath the anchor secured at the cat-head on the port bow..."

In the Heart of the Sea brings to new life the incredible story of the wreck of the whaleship Essex - an event as mythic in its own century as the Titanic disaster in ours, and the inspiration for the climax of Moby-Dick. In a harrowing page-turner, Nathaniel Philbrick restores this epic story to its rightful place in American history.

In 1820, the 240-ton Essex set sail from Nantucket on a routine voyage for whales. Fifteen months later, in the farthest reaches of the South Pacific, it was repeatedly rammed and sunk by an eighty-ton bull sperm whale. Its twenty-man crew, fearing cannibals on the islands to the west, made for the 3,000-mile-distant coast of South America in three tiny boats. During ninety days at sea under horrendous conditions, the survivors clung to life as one by one, they succumbed to hunger, thirst, disease, and fear.

In the Heart of the Sea tells perhaps the greatest sea story ever. Philbrick interweaves his account of this extraordinary ordeal of ordinary men with a wealth of whale lore and with a brilliantly detailed portrait of the lost, unique community of Nantucket whalers. Impeccably researched and beautifully told, the book delivers the ultimate portrait of man against nature, drawing on a remarkable range of archival and modern sources, including a long-lost account by the ship's cabin boy.

At once a literary companion and a page-turner that speaks to the same issues of class, race, and man's relationship to nature that permeate the works of Melville, In the Heart of the Sea will endure as a vital work of American history.

Coraline by Neil Gaiman

This one didn't terrify me, but there are pretty spooky moments that I really love. Both the movie and the book have this eeriness about it that I think works really well. It's not a horror it's more like a spooky children's story, so although I don't think this is cheating, it's definitely close. But I love this story, I cannot recommend it enough and anytime I have a chance to I will.

The day after they moved in, Coraline went exploring....

In Coraline's family's new flat are twenty-one windows and fourteen doors. Thirteen of the doors open and close.

The fourteenth is locked, and on the other side is only a brick wall, until the day Coraline unlocks the door to find a passage to another flat in another house just like her own.

Only it's different.

At first, things seem marvelous in the other flat. The food is better. The toy box is filled with wind-up angels that flutter around the bedroom, books whose pictures writhe and crawl and shimmer, little dinosaur skulls that chatter their teeth. But there's another mother, and another father, and they want Coraline to stay with them and be their little girl. They want to change her and never let her go.

Other children are trapped there as well, lost souls behind the mirrors. Coraline is their only hope of rescue. She will have to fight with all her wits and all the tools she can find if she is to save the lost children, her ordinary life, and herself.

Critically acclaimed and award-winning author Neil Gaiman will delight readers with his first novel for all ages.

Asking For It by Louise O'Neill

TW: rape, sexual assault, victim blaming 

This is one of the dark ones, but I think the thought of myself or someone I love being sexually harassed or raped and not taken seriously when I (or they) come forward really scares me. This is a reality for a lot of women and men in the world and that scares me. I know this isn't the best to end on, but this book and so many like them actually frighten me. I haven't read it (I have only seen the show) but stories like Handmaid's Tale is another one with similar topics that terrifies me.


It's the beginning of the summer in a small town in Ireland. Emma O'Donovan is eighteen years old, beautiful, happy, confident. One night, there's a party. Everyone is there. All eyes are on Emma.

The next morning, she wakes on the front porch of her house. She can't remember what happened, she doesn't know how she got there. She doesn't know why she's in pain. But everyone else does.

Photographs taken at the party show, in explicit detail, what happened to Emma that night. But sometimes people don't want to believe what is right in front of them, especially when the truth concerns the town's heroes...

Thanks for reading!


  1. I've read Asking For It and I'd definitely call it scary - it's an incredibly uncomfortable but important read.
    My Top 5 scary non-horror books.

    1. I agree! It’s such an important book! I’ll check out your post now :) thanks for reading!

  2. OMG! Heart of the Sea gave me wicked anxiety!

    1. Right?! Big bodies of water already freak me out, so Heart of the Sea was a big no-no for me hahaha.