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From The Guide: YA Horror

alameda_shutterThis year’s “Horn BOO!,” our annual roundup of Halloween-y books, will satisfy the spook-loving picture-book set. Teen readers — those with a more mature taste in fright, greater immunity to fear, and, in some cases, seriously strong stomachs — should check out these horror novels from the spring and fall 2015 issues of The Horn Book Guide.

—Katrina Hedeen
Associate Editor, The Horn Book Guide

Alameda, Courtney Shutter
373 pp.     Feiwel     2015     ISBN 978-1-250-04467-9

YA Micheline Helsing (of Van Helsing lineage), a tetrachromat, can see the undead, and with her Helsing Corps crew and camera, she exorcises them. But then a powerful ghost defeats the group and leaves them all cursed; they have seven days to break the curse or be damned. Alameda’s alternate–San Francisco setting is vivid, the horror gruesome, and the story action-packed.

Brooks, Kevin The Bunker Diary
260 pp.     Carolrhoda Lab     2015     ISBN 978-1-4677-5420-0
Ebook ISBN 978-1-4677-7646-2

YA In a fictitious diary, sixteen-year-old English runaway Linus tells of his kidnapping and imprisonment in an underground bunker, where he, along with five other captives that gradually fill the other cells, endures evil punishments. Gripping, terrifying, and full of abominable actions, this provocative contemporary-set Carnegie Medal–winner is not for the faint-hearted, but thrill-seekers and realistic-horror enthusiasts will find the sharply written narrative compelling.

Delaney, Joseph A New Darkness
344 pp.     Greenwillow     2014     ISBN 978-0-06-233453-4
Ebook ISBN 978-0-06-233455-8

YA The first in an unillustrated follow-up trilogy to the Last Apprentice series shows Tom taking over the late Spook’s work. The narration alternates between Tom’s voice and his would-be apprentice Jenny’s; Tom resists the idea of a female Spook. Last Apprentice fans will find the same creepy imagery and a few surprises, and the backstory is clear enough for those new to the series.

Garcia, Kami Unmarked
387 pp.     Little, Brown     2014     ISBN 978-0-316-21022-5
Ebook ISBN 978-0-316-21023-2

YA Legion series. In Unbreakable, Kennedy, love interest Jared, and their ghost-and-demon-fighting team, the Legion, accidentally released the powerful demon Andras. Now they must locate the final Legion member and the Vessel that will contain and bind Andras again — ASAP, because Andras has possessed Jared. With a tighter focus and a tension-heightening nonlinear structure, this second volume is even stronger than its predecessor.

Higson, Charlie The Fallen
535 pp.     Hyperion     2014     ISBN 978-1-4231-6566-8

YA Enemy series. Higson’s fifth zombie apocalypse series entry focuses on survivors quartered in London’s National History Museum. One group sets out to retrieve medical supplies; others struggle to trap a traitor working among them. Followers of this violent series about kids battling endless horrors will relish the moment-by-moment action and cameo appearances by characters featured in previous volumes (those still alive, that is).

Monahan, Hillary Mary: The Summoning
250 pp.     Hyperion     2014     ISBN 978-1-4231-8519-2

YA At the insistence of ringleader Jess, a group of friends attempts to summon urban legend Bloody Mary — and succeeds. The violent spirit attaches herself to narrator Shauna, who desperately seeks to rid herself of the ghost, discovering Mary’s tragic history, another haunting victim, and Jess’s secret motives along the way. Readers of supernatural horror are in for a gory, fast-paced thrill ride.

Pillsworth, Anne M. Summoned
320 pp.     Tor Teen     2014     ISBN 978-0-7653-3589-0

YA At an arcane bookstore in (fictional) Arkham, Massachusetts, Sean finds a clipping directing him to a reverend seeking an occult apprentice. But when Sean attempts the reverend’s test, he mistakenly summons a Lovecraftian monster that threatens Sean and his family. A deliberative pace keeps the action at a slow boil, but fans of Lovecraft and his grotesque chthonic horror will enjoy the dark atmosphere.

Stolarz, Laurie Faria Welcome to the Dark House
368 pp.     Hyperion     2014     ISBN 978-1-4231-8172-9

YA After submitting their darkest personal nightmares to a writing contest, Ivy and six other teens win a chance to meet famed horror movie director Justin Blake. Ivy hopes that dredging up those haunting memories will help her process a significant trauma. But the contest quickly turns deadly. Truly terrifying plot twists unfold at a breakneck pace, shifting quickly from character to character. Impressively fearsome.

From the September/October 2015 issue of The Horn Book Magazine. These reviews are from The Horn Book Guide and The Horn Book Guide Online. For information about subscribing to the Guide and the Guide Online, please click here.

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