10 books to get your pulse racing

Published on: 24 October 2023

Author S.J. Wills knows how to hook readers into a story. She shares some recent favourite stories that have gripped her.

My favourite books as a child and young teen were the ones that made me forget about my boring life in the real world for a while. Books that whisked me away on a rollercoaster ride. I wanted to be intrigued, excited, made to hold my breath, and then brought safely to the end, exhilarated, with my imagination fired up. In writing Bite Risk, I aimed to create a creepy, thrilling world that readers could come and stay in for a while, and have the time of their lives there. Here, I’ve picked ten recent novels that did just that for me. These will get your pulse racing!

1. The Haunting of Tyrese Walker by J.P. Rose

A teen is haunted by an entity known as The Shadow Man while visiting relatives in Jamaica. Reading this horror novel, your spine will tingle, your skin will crawl, your heart will be in your mouth, but you’ll love every minute of it.

2. Skywake Invasion by Jamie Russell

This video game/alien invasion mash-up has non-stop action and kick-ass gaming kids who have to save the world. A cliffhanger ending will leave you desperate for more, but lucky you: there are two sequels in the series to enjoy.

3. How I Saved the World in a Week by Polly Ho-Yen

I love a good zombie thriller, and this is a gripping, creepy and tense one. Billy must use all the survivalist techniques he learned from his mum, but if he’s to stay alive and save the world, he may have to break one of her biggest rules: ‘trust no one’.

4. Escape Room by Christopher Edge

The birthday gift of an Escape Room experience leads to five tweens getting far more than they bargained for, in terrifying fashion. As they solve puzzles against the clock, the fun turns deadly. Twisty and exhilarating.

5. Amber Undercover by E.L. Norry

Ever fantasised about being recruited as a spy? Amber is catapulted into a world of big risks, Mission Impossible-style stunts and undercover mystery-solving. Full of humour and heart, not to mention fantastic action sequences.

6. Memory Thieves by Darren Simpson

At the sinister Elsewhere Sanctuary, children and teens are freed from painful memories. But there is far more going on there than they realise. Thought-provoking and nail-bitingly suspenseful adventure with characters you’re desperate to see win.

7. The House Trap by Emma Read

Do not walk into that house… uh oh, too late. Now you’re trapped, and the rooms keep moving around. Another fantastic twist on the escape-room idea, this has ingenious kids working together (and sometimes against each other), and the creepiest dolls imaginable.

8. The Bigwoof Conspiracy by Dashe Roberts

Holy flippin’ crudballs! Twelve-year-old Lucy Sladan investigates disappearances in her home town of Sticky Pines and finds that things are far weirder than she expected. Think The X-Files crossed with Scooby Doo. There are four books in the series to romp through.

9. Rebel Skies by Ann Sei Lin

Talk about exquisite world-building – this is a world you will never want to leave, with characters that come alive in your imagination. Airships, floating cities, magical creatures made of paper… Rebel Skies is bubbling over with thrilling adventures.

10. Bloom by Kenneth Oppel

Seeds fall from the sky, and for the first time teens Anaya and Petra find their severe allergies are easing. Then the seeds begin to grow, and soon monstrous plants are swallowing cars and attacking people in their beds. In the best traditions of plant-based horror, this riveting thriller is not for the faint-hearted.

Bite Risk by S. J. Wills is out now.

Topics: Features

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