We spend so much of our lives in the neighborhoods we choose to live in. For some, that means a highly residential, suburban neighborhood full of cookie-cutter houses, large driveways, and green lawns as far as the eye can see. For some, a neighborhood is more urban with coffee shops and grocery stores within walking distance of the apartment complex they live in. For others, it’s some combination of houses, commercial businesses, and playgrounds full of laughing children.
When I think of a neighborhood, I also think of homeowner associations with their regulating rules on the color of a backyard fence or the height of a basketball hoop parked in the front driveway and their fines that show up in the mailbox the next day. Gated or not gated, residential or urban, I think a lot of us seek out the feeling of safety in where we choose, if we can, to live.
But Scare Street is the opposite of that. It’s full of monsters and creatures and horrors, oh my! Scare Street is where all of our favorite villains love to live. Where even the playground is a dangerous destination. Take a walk through the neighborhood, I dare you.
The Association by Bentley Little
New to the neighborhood? Don’t worry, The Association is there to greet you…and also introduce you to the many rules that keep this neighborhood perfect. Barry and Maureen learn them firsthand after moving into their new neighborhood with a miles-long list of rules including not mingling with neighbors and oh yeah, never, ever leaving. As their fines stack up in the thousands, threatening to kick them out of their hard-won home, Barry decides to put up a fight against the Association.
The Good House by Tananarive Due
Never mind the HOA, you’ve found the perfect house and moving day has arrived! Built in 1907 by the Goode family, this house’s history is nothing to scoff at. The only house to survive a town-wiping mudslide and with a history of tragedy that seems to follow it around, Angela Toussaint returns to her home to find answers for her son’s death. What she finds is a twisting story of her own family history and something evil inside the house, waiting to take hold of her too.
The Room Upstairs by Iain Rob Wright
There’s nothing alarming about a mysterious doorway that appears on the landing of your perfect house. Nothing at all. Just ask 11-year-old Martin. After coming home with treasures from the second-hand store, a doorway appears on the landing outside of his bedroom with someone or something moving around inside. Illness runs through his family and the door seems to beckon them all inside its dark depths. They must join together to fight against whatever lives on the other side before his family loses sight of what’s important.
The House Next Door by Anne Rivers Siddons
Now you’ve moved in, you can meet your next-door neighbors! Colquitt and Walter Kennedy thought just that, a couple in the suburbs spending their days barbecuing on the weekends, working a 9 to 5 through the week, and spending evenings on the porch of their beautiful house. When construction starts on the lot next door, it all seems normal. Just another gorgeous house in a long line of them. But, inside the beautiful walls lurks something that seems to turn the people who live there to desperation. They’re driven to commit horrible acts to themselves and to others inside those perfect, perfect walls.
Good Neighbors by Sarah Langan
The key to a good neighborhood? Good neighbors. After Arlo and his wife Gertie move the family to an idyllic neighborhood, their next-door neighbors greet them warmly. Rhea, the community’s leading lady, becomes something of a best friend to Gertie. But then a sinkhole opens in the park and Rhea’s daughter falls inside, ending in accusations on the newly moved in Wilde family. With the community up in arms, this book proves how powerful your neighbors truly are.
The Children by Carolina Sanín (Translated by Nick Castro)
You can’t have a neighborhood without some kids running around! After Laura finds a 6-year-old boy abandoned outside on the pavement, she can’t help but want to take care of him. As she tries to find out where he came from, he starts to act strangely, stealing from the supermarket and talking about imagined trips he took. Mental health and lifelong loneliness creates this sudden companionship between the two, one that Laura doesn’t want to let go of.
Pet by Akwaeke Emezi
What’s a neighborhood without a few pets running around? Even if that pet is a horned and clawed creature that crawled out of one of her mom’s paintings, right? Jam has been taught her whole life there are no monsters anymore, but Pet seems to fit the definition. After Pet sets its sights on something in Jam’s best friend’s house, she must save her friend and reckon with a shifting world view at the same time.
Such Pretty Flowers by K.L. Cerra
Don’t stop and smell the roses in this neighborhood, especially not the ones Holly finds surrounding her brother’s girlfriend, Maura. After she’s too late to save her brother from killing himself, Holly has questions only Maura can answer. But following her forces Holly into a world of carnivorous plants and strange black roses. Now Holly must uncover the truth before she meets the same fate, no matter her attraction to the suspicious Maura and her dangerous plants.
Playground by Aron Beauregard
You’d think a playground trip would be fun and safe weekend activity. That’s what the three families in Playground thought when they were invited to Geraldine Borden’s fancy estate for a day. All they had to do was let their kids test out her new playground equipment. But the equipment here isn’t so safe after all, and the kids must band together to get out of Geraldine’s messed up playground alive. This one’s a graphic splatterpunk novel, so be warned before picking this one up.
The Good Son by You-Jeong Jeong
Every neighborhood’s got a golden boy destined for greatness, except, of course, for this one. After Yu-jin wakes up to the smell of blood and a worried call from his brother, he finds his mother’s body at the bottom of the stairs. His memory is weak and he’s disoriented, though that could be attributed to his chronic seizures. As he digs deeper into what happened, reading his mother’s journal and sifting through her things, his perception of what happened changes.