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Resurrection High

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Resurrection High is like Carrie, but without the telekinetic powers; like Donnie Darko, without the time travel; like The Karate Kid, but our protagonist is training in poetry. A subversive, spooky tale set in the days when America Online, The Smashing Pumpkins, and The X-Files reigned supreme.

At Lestershire High, Eric Verlaine is seen as a freak, even by alt 90s standards. His best friend is dead, his only living friend is tied up with a girl, and a group of vile bullies make his time at school unbearable. Eric would rather spend his days in the local cemetery than go to school, or even home, where he is ignored by his mother and abused by his stepfather. He’s planning one last adventure with his deceased pal, an exhumation to get at the small safe in his friend’s casket, the contents of which Eric believes will provide some form of closure. After visiting the grave of his friend one evening, Eric is shown a curious monument to a trio of artists who died mysteriously a century prior, sparking an investigation into his town’s unsavory past.

Resurrection High is a nostalgic, darkly comic story of a teenager finding a passion for life after insurmountable loss.

154 pages, Paperback

Published June 19, 2018

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About the author

John Brhel

19 books68 followers
I'm the co-author of Tales From Valleyview Cemetery, Marvelry's Curiosity Shop, At The Cemetery Gates: Year One and Carol for a Haunted Man, Corpse Cold: New American Folklore, Her Mourning Portrait and Other Paranormal Oddities, Resurrection High , At The Cemetery Gates: Volume 2 and The Thrumming Stone with my long-time friend Joe Sullivan.

I work full-time as a marketing/PR professional at Binghamton University. I enjoy writing, reading, watching movies, playing music, and spending time with my family.

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Displaying 1 - 12 of 12 reviews
Profile Image for Rachel (TheShadesofOrange).
2,083 reviews2,942 followers
July 3, 2018
3.0 Stars
Entertaining and darkly funny, this was more of a black comedy than a traditional horror novel. As a lighter piece of fiction, Resurrection High was a very readable story that I flew through in just a few sittings.

This was also a fantastic addition of the growing subgenre of nostalgic horror. Set in the 1990s, this story was packed with references to iconic music, movies, tv shows and toys from the decade. There were so many nods to 1990s media that I had completely forgotten about.

Told from the perspective of a teenage boy, this story will likely appeal to male readers who will most relate to main character. Eric and his friend were both very immature, constantly making offensive slurs, which unfortunately probably made them quite realistic as teenage boys.

I received a copy from the publisher
Profile Image for Bethany.
40 reviews30 followers
August 8, 2018
Thank you to the author for sending me a copy in exchange for my review!

I enjoyed this lighthearted little tale. I agree with others that it is more of a dark comedy than horror, but I enjoyed it all the same. The 90's references were well placed and it felt like a macabre 'Ready Player One' for 90's babies.
The book perfectly captured both the feelings of being a teen and the grief when losing someone too soon. I appreciate the protagonist's perspective, and thought it was an interesting way to visit the topic of death.
I only wish that we were given more information about our 'ghosts' in the story; just because I felt that their explanation was a little rushed or brushed over. Otherwise, this is a quick and enjoyable read that I took a liking to almost instantly.
Profile Image for Audra (ouija.reads).
739 reviews252 followers
November 24, 2018
Despite unending trips to the cemetery, this tale of a high-school misfit doesn't dig much deeper than the surface.

I think the main issue of the story was that the point of the narrative was unclear. The beginning sets up this intriguing and slightly morbid mystery—will Eric dig up his best friend's coffin to see what's hidden inside? But then the story goes off in so many different directions, I lost the thread of what was important, of what the story was supposed to be about.

Is it about Eric grieving the loss of his friend? Is it about the mysterious history of the town? Is it a supernatural tale? Is it about the bullies Eric comes up against all the time? Is it about the girl? The story just felt untethered to me and never really picked up speed or tension. There was just too much going on and to me, the narrative threads didn't come together in a way that felt cohesive.

I also felt there were just too many stereotypes at work that weren't being used in an interesting way. Eric has a mean stepfather—check. Eric is constantly bullied by the cool, popular kids—check. The faculty never take his side because he is the weird emo kid—check. The pretty, edgy girl is into him—check. But nothing interesting or unique really came of any of these cliches being used.

The book could be described as an homage to the 90s or a nostalgia story, but in truth the narrative is nearly drowning in 90s references, to the point that they felt stuck on clumsily rather than fitting in naturally with the flow of the story. As a kid who grew up in the 90s, the references felt forced and unnatural.

My thanks to the publisher for sending me this one to read and review.
Profile Image for Alex | | findingmontauk1.
1,177 reviews97 followers
January 24, 2019
I think Resurrection High would make for a pretty dope episode of Are You Afraid of The Dark? or something similar. It seemed to have so much going on to really focus on just one storyline, and that is why I think it would have been awesome as a TV episode and maybe less as the book. I did still enjoy it though - I just had high hopes of enjoying it more!

I had a hard time figuring out what I was supposed to focus on: the friend who died that was supposed to be exhumed, the ghosts from the past, the bullied, angsty teen with an abusive stepfather-like figure who was into alt music and wrote poetry, etc. It seems that none of those storylines were explored in as much depth as I would have liked. However, it does seem like grief, coping, and moving on are themes at the forefront of this story.

The story read easily and put me back in the 90s. Sometimes the 90s references were just too much and it seemed that every half a page was another forced reference. While I did enjoy reading about some of the things I had forgotten from growing up then, it also got a little tired at times for me. As someone who grew up in the 90s, I definitely do not remember talking with so many pop culture references in such brief conversations.

I am going to give this one 3 stars because I did enjoy it for what it was - I just went into the book with different expectations of what was going to happen, what the main plot would be, the balance of horror vs. dark comedy, etc. This is a good book for people with a couple hours to kill who want to revisit their lives in the 90s with a light, spooky vibe!
Profile Image for GracieKat.
272 reviews79 followers
January 6, 2019
I really wasn't sure if I would like this book but the synopsis intrigued me and, being a nineties kid, thought it might be amusing at least. It also had a cute cover. It was a heart-breaking, rage-inducing and all-around a pretty damn good coming-of-age story about losing a very close friend. I actually found myself getting into it much more than I thought I would. Fortunately my teenage years weren't as fraught with terrible as Eric's (sort of) but a lot of the time little Emo Gracie could empathize with Eric. I also had a propensity for poetry, dark clothing and hanging out in the cemetery. Unfortunately ours didn't have a cool mystery. It did have a pretty cool tombstone with a unicorn on it, though. If you knew the area you'd realize it was fascinatingly creative. We also firmly believed that the little shed on the side held bodies. After an, uh, creative endeavor we found out that it was gardening equipment. Bummer. Sometimes that teenage GracieKat could understand him. At other times he was infuriating, awesome, and the adult in me at times alternately wanted to hug him tightly and give him a good talking to. His parents infuriated me. In other words he felt real. It was practically a perfect reading experience. But, that being said, there were a few issues which I'll address later. 

The pacing was good. The story flowed well and quickly. Eric's experiences at school felt very real (for the most part, at least as far as I can imagine a suburban high school being). His fight with his friend Bryan was believable and you could see both sides of it, enough to hope they get back to being friends again. Belinda was a great character as well. She seems a wee bit on the 'perfect girl' side but not so it's overly annoying. The dialogue also flowed well. It seemed realistic and mostly to the time period. Except for the use of the word 'trolling'. I don't think that was commonly used around then.

I did like most of the references but they seemed a bit much after a while, to the point that it sometimes seemed to overwhelm the plot. The plot was very good but I think the mystery portion could have been fleshed out a bit more if a few references had been left out. Such as do we really need to know Eric's munching on 3D Doritos or drinking Kool Aid Bursts? I did like the mystery and cemetery portions the best. They were very interesting and sets up the end very well. One of Eric's characteristics that I did enjoy was that he was polite to the adults in his life that deserved his respect and I enjoyed that aspect of him. It was nice to see. I particularly enjoyed his visit with the historical society. 

The ending was unexpected (a bit) and it fit the story so well. I loved it. 

I'm not sure if this could continue in a series or if the author/illustrators even intend it as such but I wouldn't mind spending time with Eric and his friends again. 

I have to wag my finger a bit at one mistake (intentional or not I couldn't decide, I almost feel like it was meant to see who would notice). At one point Eric is hanging out in his basement bedroom and watching tv. He's watching his favorite rerun of the X-Files "the one with the inbred family in Pennsylvania". It can only be the episode 'Home'. Which, I believe ran in a marathon in 1997 but was never an actual rerun until later. And Eric doesn't mention it being a marathon. So, there you go. A minor nitpick in good spirits. If I'm wrong please let me know!

Find this rview and much more at https://www.scifiandscary.com/

Received from the author for review consideration
Profile Image for Melody.
Author 9 books25 followers
June 16, 2018
I received an ARC of this title. This is my opinion of the book- no spoilers!

First off, any kid of the 1990s will instantly recognize the callbacks in this book; from pogs to JNCOs, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles to Nirvana, it's all in there. While some callbacks are incredibly nostalgic and work well, others can be heavy-handed and clunky, reminding you far too often on the page of the time you're in.

Though it's a loving ode to the 90s, Resurrection High is ultimately a tale of a teenage kid finding himself after the death of his best friend. As someone who has recently experienced a lot of grief, Eric's seemed genuine and I was definitely there in his despair with him.

The book addresses bullies and the horrible things they do, and the all-too-real iteration of what high school is really like for many kids; we all know the jocks, the freaks, the preps, and the kids that waver in the cracks between them.

As usual, the duo does the horror part of the story well-- these two know how to do ambiance for sure. When ghosts appear, they're unsettling and their mystery demands your attention. When corpses are shown, they're gruesome.

When two teenage kids are exhuming their dead friend in hopes of getting into a lockbox... well, yeah, that's there too.

My main gripe about Resurrection High is that the story strays so far off its self-prescribed course. At times, we go so far into Eric's life that it's hard to see the path back to the point of it all-- yes, we experience the bajillion valid emotions of a teenager, but it's almost like Eric (or the story) forgets what it came for. Are we still concerned for Andy? His parents? With the introduction of the three enigmatic artists that capture Eric's attention, it seems like we end up reading two separate stories that only intertwine a handful of times.

Also, do we ultimately find out what lies inside Andy's safe?

I won't spoil that for you.

Overall, Resurrection High was a good read. Kids of the 90s will appreciate the attention to detail of the era, and Eric is relatable in a lot of ways. You'll cringe at the inside jokes of these punk kids, and you might even cry graveside with Eric as he attempts to find peace and closure.

It just might take you a while to get there.
Profile Image for Brittany (brittreads).
140 reviews33 followers
May 11, 2019
Resurrection High is about an outcast named Eric, who recently lost his best friend, and his only living friend left ditching him for a girl. Eric is constantly tormented inside school and outside, by both bullies and his alcoholic stepfather. Eric plans to dig up his friend, to have one last hoorah with him, and see what his friend kept locked in a safe, which he was buried with.
I don’t want to say too much else because it’s a short book. It was fun, and I loved that it was set in the 90s. Lots and LOTS of 90s culture references which I actually understood 😂 it was heart warming at times, as well as dark and vicious. I also really liked the fact that a lot of this story was autobiographical, being pulled from both authors high school careers.
While it kept me entertained, it left me feeling a little underwhelmed and a little unsatisfied. It felt unfinished to me. I didn’t get some of the answers I had wanted, and not in that “open ending” way. It could get cheesy, but what high school doesn’t have some cheese? I didn’t find myself connecting with the characters as strongly as I usually do, although I did really feel for Eric.
It isn’t a favorite of mine, but it wasn’t bad by any means. If you’ve been curious about it, I’d say give it a go.
Profile Image for Kasha's Book Sematary.
630 reviews267 followers
May 22, 2019
Pitched as Horror meets the 90s I was expecting a more....horror book.

It felt more like a growing up story of a 16 year old going through a rough time.

I really loved the investigation part of the story and the cemetery visits. However I was not a huge fan on how bullying was portrayed in the book and the lack of interest of the adults.

Disclaimer alert for bullying and parental abuse.
Profile Image for Michelle.
169 reviews14 followers
December 2, 2018
3.5, rounding up to 4. Pretty cool premise and story, but the 90's references kind of killed me. Felt like an ad for everything from that era, and it got a little annoying. The story itself was pretty awesome, though I wish we had gotten a bit more details/info, and the ending felt a little rushed.
Profile Image for Eugene Cundiff.
Author 7 books33 followers
May 8, 2019
Entertaining and Authentic

While the 90s nostalgia can come across as a bit gratuitous, Eric's struggles feel no less raw or real for it. Worth a read, especially for those of us who were on the outside looking in as teens.
Displaying 1 - 12 of 12 reviews

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