My rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Genre: YA Horror Anthology
Published: August 18th 2015
Trigger Warnings: Graphic violence, sexual assault, cutting, bullying, addiction, pedophilia.
A host of the smartest young adult authors come together in this collection of scary stories and psychological thrillers curated by Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea’s April Genevieve Tucholke.
Each story draws from a classic tale or two—sometimes of the horror genre, sometimes not—to inspire something new and fresh and terrifying. There are no superficial scares here; these are stories that will make you think even as they keep you on the edge of your seat. From bloody horror to supernatural creatures to unsettling, all-too-possible realism, this collection has something for any reader looking for a thrill. – Synopsis from Goodreads.
“Not all monsters are filled with darkness.”
I would pick this book up just for the stories by Nova Ren Suma, Carrie Ryan and Jay Kristoff. There is a lot of hit or miss for me in this anthology but those stories really stand out among the rest.
This is my second reading of this anthology. I read it a couple of years ago and had a very luke warm reaction to the book and only really remembered the story by Carrie Ryan. I’m going to stick with my rating of three and a half stars because there were just too many I either DNF’d or felt very middle-the-road about. I would still recommend this book because there are some tales that are certainly worth a look and it’s a great October read. Alright, let’s break down what I thought of these tales:
The Birds of Azalea Street by Nova Ren Suma – Five Stars
This one won’t be for everyone but I dug Suma’s writing style. It’s very beautiful and poetic. This one focuses on three young girls and a creeper neighbor. You know right off the bat that something is very wrong with this guy and how it all plays out is pretty unsettling. To me, this story was about vengeance and I was very excited to see karma get its just desserts.
In the Forest Dark and Deep by Carrie Ryan – Five Stars!
This is my favorite read in the book. This story was genuinely creepy and I had a sense of dread through-out the entire story. It’s a Alice in Wonderland short story and features a young girl and the March Hare. This story is a thing of nightmares but so well done. I really need to get on reading more of Ryan’s stuff asap. If you scary easy, this one might be a lot.
Emmeline by Cat Winters – Three Stars
I’m a huge Cat Winters fan. I adore historical fiction so I was really looking forward to reading this one but it ended up not being anything that special. It was well written but very predictable and stuff I’ve read before. It wasn’t at all creepy, the story just made me sad and it didn’t really feel like it felt the vibe of the book.
Verse Chorus Verse by Leigh Bardugo – Four Stars
Yes, we get an entry by one of the queens of YA herself. This is a bit of a polarizing read I think and not entirely like other stuff written by Bardugo but I still really liked it. It focuses on a young Hollywood star staying at a rehab facility that is far from orthodox. It has a very creepy vibe and I had no idea what was going on most of the time. The ending was cool though but this is a story that could’ve been fleshed out better. Still four stars for me though.
Hide and Seek by Megan Shepherd – Four stars
I can’t believe I still haven’t read a book by Megan Shepherd. I have a stack of them, but this was my first introduction to her writing. I really enjoyed this story. It’s basically a cat and mouse game with death itself and I liked watching how it all played out. The plot was solid and the ending was satisfying.
The Dark, Scary Parts and All by Danielle Paige – Four Stars
Yet another known YA author that I’ve never had the pleasure of reading before this. This story made me so happy. It was fun, uncomfortable and had a great little twist. I don’t want to say much about this one but totally worth checking out.
The Flicker, The Fingers, The Beat, The Sigh by April Genevieve Tucholke – Four Stars
This wasn’t a particularly new idea. It’s basically the basis for the movie I Know What You Did Last Summer but the couple parts where April really made this story her own had be really intrigued and fairly ragey at the characters. I liked the backstory, even though I wanted to punch the main character in the face frequently for being such a coward. It gave the story a lot more depth, so I cared a lot more when the ending came.
Fat Girl With a Knife by Jonathan Maberry – Skipped
Honestly, I saw the title of this one and saw it was written by a man and I just couldn’t…. I knew that I wouldn’t be able to focus on the story at all, I’d be much too salty about the title. Maybe it’s a great read but I’ll never know and I’m ok with that.
Sleepless by Jay Kristoff – Five Stars
Not surprising, I gave the man himself five stars for his entry. I’m a huge Kristoff fan and he didn’t let me down here. This entry is about an online relationship where things might not be as it seems. There is a movie this was obviously inspired by but I can’t say which or it would give it all away. The story also had some Hard Candy vibes. Don’t let your parents read this one or you’ll never be allowed on the internet again!
M by Stefan Bachmann – DNF
I don’t really have anything to say about this one. I was just bored.
The Girl Without a Face by Marie Lu – Three Stars
I struggled with the rating on this one a bit because I did have a hard time staying interested. It does have a creepy vibe going for it and I’m sure a lot of people will find this one pretty scary but it didn’t do a lot for me. Why I gave this three stars is because the end message was important and well done. The very last scene is quite disturbing and the only thing that really stood out for me in this story.
A Girl Who Dreamed of Snow by McCormick Templeman – DNF
This wasn’t a bad story, it just didn’t have any of the spooky vibes I was looking for and I didn’t want it to remove the mood for me completely. Maybe I’ll go back and read it someday but I don’t really feel like it belonged in this book.
Stitches by AG Howard – Three Stars
Another story that I was interested in but couldn’t get into it completely. I liked the premise but it dragged a little for me. Once we got to the last few pages though and the reveals started happening I was really into the story. Worth checking out but it took too long to pay off for me.
On the I-5 by Kendare Blake – Three Stars
Yet another story where the ending was a great payoff but the story itself didn’t do a ton for me. I’ve seen this type of story many times and done a lot better so it was just alright for me. I’m still giving it three stars because the ending was pretty cool.
Ok we’ve hit the end of this book. I think a lot of people will enjoy this one, especially if you are looking for something for October that is going to creepy you out and might even have you sleeping with the light on after!