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.
Creepy, complex, genuinely frightening, thrilling, sad, and unbelievably tender and hushed and beautiful all at once. This is a dark, violent fairy taCreepy, complex, genuinely frightening, thrilling, sad, and unbelievably tender and hushed and beautiful all at once. This is a dark, violent fairy tale, it's a mystery, it's a fantasy, it's horror, it's historical, it's gothic, and it's also the story of a girl trying to find a place for herself among a grieving family torn apart by war. The family dynamics and sister relationship are so well done, as are the way the book handles loss and longing. And on top of that? Feminism and jazz and tea shops and plates and plates of cake! (view spoiler)[Not to mention shrieking dolls, shudder-inducing but poignant consumption of various things, and a fantastic play on the fears of parents re: changelings. (hide spoiler)]
I haven't read a middle grade book with this much nuance and wild imagination and feeling since The Golden Compass--and I'm betting those who liked Coraline or the original Grimm's fairy tales will like this. I was thrilled by the intense creepiness and dread of the mystery behind Triss' illness, I was outraged by what she has to endure, and I teared up over what was to become of her. Best read knowing as little about the plot as possible--just enjoy the wonderfully descriptive writing, the perfectly paced plot, and the experience of not knowing where the story will go next.
Love love love love love. And now I have to read everything else Frances Hardinge has ever written.
Great setting and entertaining plot, but the storytelling felt loose, jumbled, and confusing. The characters could also use more development2.5 stars
Great setting and entertaining plot, but the storytelling felt loose, jumbled, and confusing. The characters could also use more development, there were stirrings of an unnecessary love triangle, and the dialogue was painfully stilted at times. Still, the author creates a compelling atmosphere and there were enough interesting scenes to keep me going. This debut feels like it could have been something solid with a few more drafts, so I'll leave the door open for trying another book by this author down the road.
An advance copy was provided by the publisher for this review....more
This is the story of a girl, locked in a room, who is strapped into a chair every morning while a man holds a gun to her head. She’s wheeled into a clThis is the story of a girl, locked in a room, who is strapped into a chair every morning while a man holds a gun to her head. She’s wheeled into a classroom in which there are other kids strapped into chairs just like hers, where a woman teaches them lessons that they will probably never need to learn.
This book is like a fantastic combination of
the scrupulously researched medical thriller aspects of Mira Grant's Deadline + the queer, feral curiosity of a child who's not what she seems, like Octavia Butler's Fledgling + the wandering survival aspects of The Reapers are the Angels and its badass heroine Temple + the dichtomy of high-functioning/degenerate beings in Warm Bodies the poignant, impossible need in Let the Right One In.
But with a fascinating pathogen, distinctly drawn characters, and unexpected (and AWESOME) ending of its own. First 5 star read of 2014!
Review to come. But man, oh man--don't miss this one if you're a fan of StWell, this book is just crazy. (view spoiler)[CRAZY GOOD! :D (hide spoiler)]
Review to come. But man, oh man--don't miss this one if you're a fan of Stephen King. One of the few cases where that comparison in the marketing materials is not just an empty promise.["br"]>["br"]>...more