Here are some recommendations from some guys we trust.

Peter Brown

is an illustrator and a writer.  Probably best know for his books about a dog named Chowder.  But he’s working on plenty of new books right now.

  • George and Martha, George and Martha
  • I can't overemphasize how perfectly James Marshall balances sweetness and absurdity in these stories.

  • Everyone Poops
  • Everyone Poops is a continuous source of 'inspiration.

  • James and the Giant Peach
  • Witty dialogue, fantastical adventure and a wonderfully dark sense of humor seem to effortlessly flow from Roald Dahl's pen.

  • His Dark Materials
  • This series is perhaps the most unique, thoughtful, and provocative fantasy I’ve ever read.

  • 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea
  • I was mesmerized by the way Verne describes the science and logic of the world in which this story takes place.

Michael Buckley

  • The Outsiders
  • A timeless story of outcasts versus the privileged. Exciting and heartbreaking — Hinton should be applauded for understanding the mind of a guy so well.

  • All Star Superman Books 1 and 2
  • Lex Luthor finally finds a way to kill Superman and the Big Blue Boy Scout prepares for his death with a shocking ending no one could have seen.

  • Lord of the Flies
  • A ship full of children from an all boys' school crashes on the beach of a deserted island. Unfortunately, it isn't long before the kids stop working together and break up into tribes with dark and deadly results.

  • Pinocchio
  • Most people have seen the movie but few have read the book and that’s a shame. Pinocchio is a walking nightmare and hilarious.

  • An adaptation of the Jungle Book but instead of a boy being raised by wolves, he's reared by ghosts in an abandoned cemetery. It's chilling and dark, yet a powerful lesson on how a boy becomes a man.

Mo Willems

  • The Complete Peanuts
  • Charles M. Schulz
  • The gold standard of comic strips. Fun for everyone; except Charlie Brown, who seems a little down on his luck.

  • The Complete George and Martha
  • James Marshall
  • Lessons learned include: just because you've got a best friend doesn't mean you have to pour pea soup in your shoes. I try to re-read this before I start making new book.

  • The Complete Calvin and Hobbes
  • Bill Watterson
  • When Hobbes is wise, Calvin is a stinker. When Hobbes is hungry, Calvin is in trouble.

  • Go, Dog, Go!
  • Philip D. Eastman
  • A dog party in a tree? Wait for me, I’ve got to get my hat!

  • Cul De Sac, This Exit
  • The best comic strip you've never heard of. Alice and her family walk in the footsteps of Peanuts and Calvin and Hobbes, only sideways.

  • Children at Play, A Cul-de-Sac Collection

Micol Ostow

Here are some of my favorite spooky novels (in some cases thrillers or otherwise twisty), and in particular books that influenced me while I was working on Amity!

  • The Haunting of Hill House
  • Shirley Jackson
  • "The ne plus ultimate haunted house story, I like to think of Amity's Gwen as sort of a modern spin on Eleanor, a young woman seeing and experiencing ghostly things, whose mind and perceptions can't be trusted."

  • We Have Always Lived in the Castle
  • Shirley Jackson
  • "A slow-burner filled with atmosphere. Merricat is the platonic ideal of an unreliable narrator."

  • The Shining
  • Stephen King
  • "A suggestible man, prone to violence, isolated in a hotel that exerts evil force over his will... Jack Torrance is to Amity's Connor as Hill House's Eleanor is to Gwen."

  • Tighter
  • Adele Griffin
  • "A modern take on The Turn of the Screw, Griffin draws from chilling source material and makes it her own for today's teen readers."

  • To Die For
  • Joyce Maynard
  • "A dark and twisty thriller (the movie's great, too) that serves up multiple POV's on a platter. I spent a lot of time poring over the many distinct voices of that book."

  • The Maddaddam trilogy
  • Margaret Atwood
  • "Epic and sprawling, boldly visionary, and still she manages to tie all of her narrative threads together by the series' conclusion. To spend ten minutes in that woman's head!"

  • Dangerous Girls
  • Abigail Haas
  • "Pacing, pacing, pacing. Totally un-put-downable."

  • The Amityville Horror
  • Jay Anson
  • "(That one probably goes without saying.)"

  • We Were Liars
  • E.Lockhart
  • "The pages turn and the ending twists!"

David Yoo

  • The Last Picture Show
  • Although it takes place in a tiny, dusty Texas town that's nothing like the New England town I grew up in, this is easily my favorite coming-of-age story, ever, period.
  • Then Again, Maybe I Won’t
  • Given the fact that I asked for a pair of binoculars for Christmas (for "bird watching"), too, this was the teen novel that spoke to me when I was 13.
  • The Postman Always Rings Twice
  • My favorite noir writer, this is one of the best plotted stories, ever, in my opinion, with one of the most satisfying endings to a story to boot.
  • Rats Saw God
  • This was the first recent(ish) YA novel that got me excited to write about teens, because it made me think I was reading about, well . . . me.

  • Rosemary’s Baby
  • This horror story is just about perfect in every way, and I've read it maybe 50 times in my lifetime. The movie's one of my favorites, too.
  • Franny and Zooey
  • A decidedly strange little novel that for the life of me I can't quite describe why it's one of my favorites, but it just is.