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Books about Carnivals: Creepy or Cool?

Posted on September 12th, 2012 by Mickie.
Categories: Books.


After watching this video today  from the Vlogbrothers about an abandoned Ferris Wheel that still turns….10 years after the park closed, I started thinking about how creepy a carnival can be. I have never actually had a bad experience at one so why can they seem so creepy? Is it because it is so “other-worldly” to have garish lights and music going at all hours? Maybe because it is unnatural for our bodies to fly and twist they way they do on rides? Maybe. But those are also the reasons that make carnivals and theme parks SO MUCH FUN!

How do you feel about it? Have a story to share? Let me hear your best and worst carnival story in the comments and enjoy these top 5 YA carnival books….got one to add? Give me a shout back in the comments.

#5 The Dead Tossed Waves by Carrie Ryan

Gabry knows it is wrong to sneak out of the compound's protection and into the abandoned theme park, but her friends are doing it and the boy she likes wants her to go and the fences will keep the zombies out, right? Wrong, Gabry....dead wrong.

#4 Full Tilt by Neal Shusterman

When sixteen-year-old Blake goes to a mysterious, by-invitation-only carnival he somehow knows that it could save his comatose brother, but soon learns that much more is at stake if he fails to meet the challenge presented there by the beautiful Cassandra.

#3 The Cask of Amontillado by Edgar Allen Poe

It's all fun and games until you are being buried alive. Tell that to Fortunato-he was partying at Carnival with his "good friend" and by the time he realizes his life is in danger, he is too drunk and too alone and too far under the city for anyone to hear his cries.

#2 The Likes of Me by Randall Platt

Where do you find work in 1918 when you are half Chinese and half Albino and all in love with a carny boy named Squirl? You join the freak show. But does that make you a freak??

#1 Something Wicked This Way Comes: Graphic Novel Adaptation by Ray Bradbury

The carnival rolls in sometime after midnight, ushering in Halloween a week early. The shrill siren song of a calliope beckons to all with a seductive promise of dreams and youth regained. In this season of dying, Cooger & Dark's Pandemonium Shadow Show has come to Green Town, Illinois, to destroy every life touched by its strange and sinister mystery. And two boys will discover the secret of its smoke, mazes, and mirrors; two friends who will soon know all too well the heavy cost of wishes. . .and the stuff of nightmare.

BONUS BOOKS! Like adult reads? Check out these two creepy carnivals from the adult section…

The story of what is perhaps America's first serial killer. He stalked his victims on the grounds of the beautiful Chicago's Worlds' Fair. True Story Bro.

Waging a fierce competition for which they have trained since childhood, circus magicians Celia and Marco unexpectedly fall in love with each other and share a fantastical romance that manifests in fateful ways.


Ms. Yingling

Comment on September 17th, 2012.

How about Laura Quimby’s The Carnival of Lost Souls? Horowitz’s The Switch mentions one briefly.


Comment on September 17th, 2012.

Oh! I haven’t read that, but it looks good! *adds to goodreads list to read* Thanks!


Comment on September 18th, 2012.

MirrorMask, by Neil Gaiman & Dave McKean! Although it’s one of the few where the movie is better.

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