Category Archives: YA Horror/Suspense

Rotters by Daniel Kraus

Rotters

Can we all just stand up for a minute a hold a lighter in the air for Daniel Kraus?

….

Thank you.

Because, Rotters was seriously the SHIT.

Life is pretty plain for the nerdy Joey Crouch. He’s a junior in high school, plays the trumpet, and goes pretty much unnoticed by the rest of the student body. But when his mom is killed in a sudden accident, Joey’s world is turned upside down when he is sent to live with his weirdo absentee dad in rural Iowa.

Things are not what they seem when Joey goes to live in his father’s filthy little shack. An ever-present stench lingers in the air and it soon becomes apparent that something about his dad is not normal. Rather than spending his time focusing on senior year, Joey is about to learn one of the world’s oldest professions…

Grave-robbing.

Say what?! (You heard me, bitch).

I’m not even going to tell you anything else about it. You need to read it. Kraus masterfully blends the grotesque, the macabre, and most importantly the living and the dead. Seems that not so much separates us, after all…

Seriously, I. Could. Not. Put. It. Down.

5 trusty shovels of 5

 

 

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The Uninvited by Tim Wynne-Jones

I honestly wasn’t sure what I would think of The Uninvited, as it has mixed reviews online. (Say whaaa? A book reviewer who reads book reviews??) Fortunately, I was pleasantly surprised.

Following Mimi Shapiro’s STUPID affair with her creepy college professor, she decides to escape to her dad’s Canadian cabin to let things settle in her mind. But “getting away from it all” proves to be harder than Mimi anticipated when she arrives on the doorstep and finds someone already wynne_jones_theuninvitedliving there. Jay–a young musician–immediately accuses her of snooping around the property and leaving strange tokens–a snakeskin, a dead bird, etc…

But since Mimi just arrived, who could the stalker be?

I actually really enjoyed The Uninvited and it most DEFINITELY kept me turning pages. The alternating points of view gave a better perspective of the whole story, and really really added to the creep factor. To be inside the stalker’s head and feel him watching… Yikes. I read Flowers in the Attic a good decade ago and I feel like this story had me squirming with discomfort just as much as I did back then. Ugh.

Mimi was kind of an annoying character, mostly because she reminded me of someone I work with. Jay was much more tolerable and let’s all just say a huge THANK YOU BABY JESUS for his girlfriend. Without her this book would’ve been absolutely revolting. And the stalker… well… let’s just say he isn’t who you’d imagine him to be…

Let’s just say I’ll definitely never donate my eggs…

4 hole-riddled canoes of 5


Anna Dressed in Blood and Girl of Nightmares by Kendare Blake

anna dressed in blood

Ever since I can remember, I’ve been a baby back bitch when it comes to scary movies. I can watch one heinous thing and it haunts me for years. Scary books on the other hand… I love. I guess it’s because I feel more in control. Nothing can jump and go RAWWWWRRR in my face, so I feel better about it. On the other hand, since books and words and stories are played out in your mind… they can have a much more all-encompassing effect when they’re creeptastic.

Hence why I was interested in Anna Dressed in Blood and its sequel, Girl of Nightmares. Our protagonist Theseus Cassio Lowood (or “Cas” for short) is a ghost hunter. And no, not the Discovery-Channel-night-vision-camera-*bump*-AHHHWHATWASTHAT?? kind either. After his ghost-hunting father’s untimely demise, Cas is handed the power and responsibility of the athame–a dagger that can “kill” the dead. Or at least send them back to wherever they came from.

Loner Cas gets more than he bargains for when he moves to Canada with his mom to find “Anna Dressed in Blood”–a 50 years slain girl who haunts her old house and has a very high body count. It’s up to him and his new pals to stop Anna before she goes too far. But Anna is not what she seems. And strange signs start to lead Cas to believe that his father’s murderer is somewhere nearby… OOooooOOOoooOOOooo

Girl of Nightmares brings us back to Cas and company, and this time his mission is to help save Anna. Hmm…

These were very disappointing books. You’d think that when a book cover says “Stephen King better start looking over his shoulder” it would mean something. I hear that statement and start gleefully rubbing my hands together. Nope. If you are looking for a wise-cracking and very trendy narrator (very similar to a teenage version of the Dresden Files but without the likeability) then look no further.

I’m not saying I hated Cas, but it’s strange to see Facebook and “pwned” referenced in a book. I think Blake’s attempt at casual teen speak was a little too casual, and it made me dislike the characters. Cas was too cocky. And (OF COURSE) there has got to be some love interest crap going on. I didn’t like how out-of-left-field and instantaneous Cas’ feelings were. I didn’t understand it at all. Blegh. The whole thing was just blegh.

Do you guys know of any good books that will actually scare me?

2 bloodstains of 5

 


The Other Life by Susanne Winnacker

After a deadly rabies virus is unleashed on the city of Los Angeles, fifteen year old Sherry and her family have not left their underground bunker in more than three years. Three years, one month, one week, and six days to be exact. Trapped inside with her two younger siblings, her squabbling parents, her ceaselessly knitting grandma, and her dead grandpa–who’s been in the freezer for the last six months.

Kinda puts you off your frozen peas, doesn’t it? the weepers

But Sherry and her dad have to make a hard decision when they run out of food eight months earlier than expected. They have to go outside and face whatever’s left of the outside world. Turns out, the Weepers are what’s left. Ugh.

Imagine zombies, but kind of rotting animals too. There are different kinds of Weepers–so called because of the milky fluid that runs out of their eyes when you kill them. Gross. Some walk upright and look mostly normal, others are down on all fours and look monstrous. All have a taste for human flesh. All of them creeped me out.

Only hours after Sherry and her dad leave their bunker, the Weepers attack. All seems lost until a handsome stranger shows up, guns blazing. Unfortunately, once the dust settles, a large puddle of blood is the only thing left of Sherry’s father. Is he still alive? And even if he is, where could he be?

Can Sherry and her new friend Joshua find him before it’s too late?

And where has the government been this whole time??

Do me a favor with this book and please please please IGNORE the cover. It’s totally ridiculous and off-putting. (I judge books by their covers, so sue me…) The book itself is actually really fast-paced and entertaining. I read it all in one sitting. I understand that the market is being flooded with post-apocalyptic YA zombie novels, but TOL actually holds its own. There’s a big enough twist to the virus for it to be untraditional and for some reason the Weepers reminded me of really creepy raptors or something. It’s that nasty blood-thirsty run they do, I think.

I just can’t imagine living in a world so fraught with peril… (I just said “fraught with peril” *tee hee*). Even the “safe” havens aren’t really that safe. There’s no way I’d be sleeping alone in Zombieland.

From what I understand, TOL’s sequel The Life Beyond is supposed to be released this weekend. I will definitely snag it soon.

5 strips of peeling flesh of 5

injured-zombies


Long Lankin by Lindsey Barraclough

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I refuse to watch scary movies, because they ALWAYS give me nightmares (I’m a wimp, I know) but I really enjoyed creepy books. I guess because nothing can JUMP me, I don’t feel as scared. Long Lankin was the perfect combo of creep factor meets the real world. Set in the 1950’s, two small girls, Cora and Mimi, go to live with their Auntie Ida after their carefree father decides he can’t take care of them on his own. Their mother has been admitted to what we assume is a sanitarium.

But the girls’ presence in Aunt Ida’s creepy old house awakens an evil presence that has been lurking for years.

Said my lord to my lady, as he rode away:

“Beware of Long Lankin that lives in the hay.” “

Let the doors be all bolted and the windows all pinned,

And leave not a hole for a mouse to creep in.”

So he kissed his fair lady and he rode away,

And he was in fair London before the break of day.

The doors were all bolted and the windows all pinned,

Except one little window where Long Lankin crept in.

Based on a freaky folk song originating in Europe, Long Lankin is some sort of unholy monster that preys specifically on young children 2-4 years of age. Mimi’s presence is enough to attract the villan and it’s up to Cora and her new friend Robert to stop him. But how will they be able to break an age old curse? Dozens have children have been stolen and consumed by Long Lankin, what makes Mimi’s fate any different? Cora finds out some hard truths about her family history along the way.

Long Lankin didn’t really begin to pick up until about a hundred and fifty pages in, but then I could NOT put it down. It’s not scary at all until page 219–the imagery illustrated there seriously made me sleep with the light on. The creepy-crawly inhumanness of him is what really makes it so terrifying. He is a man, yet not a man. A monster. A baby-eating, roof-climbing, scritchy-scratchy, get-in-your-house-if-you-ever-dare-open-a-window thing. 

Good stuff. I highly recommend. Stick it out, it’s well worth the read.

If you’d like to hear the song Long Lankin performed, click here. 

4 long dirty nails of 5