I would like to lock Lauren DeStefano in an attic so she does nothing other than turn out charming middle grade novels for the rest of her life. But II would like to lock Lauren DeStefano in an attic so she does nothing other than turn out charming middle grade novels for the rest of her life. But I suppose that would be unreasonable.
You'll love this book if the sad, tender pull between Liesl and Po tugged at your emotions, if you delighted in the dark humor and dire dangers of the Lemony Snicket series, or if you shivered ever so slightly at the delicious creepiness of The Cavendish Home for Boys and Girls. This book is so comfortably appropriate for children (though perhaps best read reassuringly curled up against a loved one, for both comfort and discussion of serious topics--parents might also consider reading it first before giving it to younger children), even as it doesn't shy away from intelligent use of language or touching on scary topics. The real world can be a sad, scary place, after all. The author's preface was also very moving--the idea of this young cousin of hers clutching a beloved book for security after a death in the family brought a tear to my eye.
Review to come. I loved this, and am so looking forward to book two. I hope the author writes many more middle grade books in the future--particularly ones that so deftly show her rather infamous sense of humor, as well as a glimpse of her heart....more
Started off fine, but got progressively more convoluted and ethically messed up as the story went on. Also SO annoying that a number of the charactersStarted off fine, but got progressively more convoluted and ethically messed up as the story went on. Also SO annoying that a number of the characters also had nicknames--and some of them had more than one! Sheesh. ...more
I love that these are horror stories from some of the best YA writers working today, some of whom don't normally write horror. Each story takes inspirI love that these are horror stories from some of the best YA writers working today, some of whom don't normally write horror. Each story takes inspiration from films, books, or music, and half the fun is seeing if you can guess the source.
I rated the stories as I went along:
Nova Ren Suma's "The Birds of Azalea Street" 5 stars Carrie Ryan's "In the Forest Dark and Deep" 3.5 stars Cat Winters' "Emmeline" 4 stars Leigh Bardugo's "Verse Chorus Verse" 4 stars Megan Shepherd's "Hide and Seek" 5 stars Danielle Paige's "The Dark, Scary Parts and All" 2.5 stars April Genevieve Tucholke's "The Flicker, the Fingers, the Beat, the Sigh" 3 stars Jonathan Maberry's "Fat Girl with a Knife" 3 stars Jay Kristoff's "Sleepless" 3.5 stars Stefan Bachman's "M" 3.5 stars Marie Lu's "The Girl Without a Face" 3.5 stars McCormick Templeman's "A Girl Who Dreamed of Snow" 3.5 stars A.G. Howard's "Stitches" 4 stars Kendare Blake "On the I-5" 3.5 stars
I knew that Jay Kristoff and Leigh Bardugo would have good ones--their usual writing is so well-crafted (and obviously, Kristoff's tinged with blood already), and I liked that they both switched from their usual genres and styles to try something totally different. Of course, Suma, Tucholke, Shepherd, and Winters delivered the kinds of eerie stories you'd expect, and I was pleasantly surprised by the new-to-me author Stefan Bachman (who's known for middle grade, but really must write more YA).
Overall, it's probably the strongest YA short story collection I can recall from recent years, and well worth seeking out if you like your stories not terribly gruesome or frightening, but a little grimy and torn and bloody.
An advance copy was provided by the publisher for this review.
3.5 stars Enjoyable, old-school yarn, most notable because it's tinged with so much sadness. There's an interesting nostalgic tone in this narrative,3.5 stars Enjoyable, old-school yarn, most notable because it's tinged with so much sadness. There's an interesting nostalgic tone in this narrative, and the carnie world is a fun place to be.
It's a bit on the predictable side, and a little more complexity would have made it better. But while the story is slight, it's a colorful one, with the pleasant spookiness of a campfire story. Besides, it's worth your time solely for King gems such as "reality enema."...more