Horror

Book Review: This is Not a Test

Author
Summers, Courtney
Rating
4 stars = Really Good
Review

This is not a test focuses on a high school girl who experiences the end of the world. Humans have been infected and zombies have taken over her world. She has had a bad home life with her dad and sister. She believes she should no longer live. Her and a couple of other teenagers take shelter in the high school. The books tells the story of a girl who thinks this is her end but it really is just her beginning. I really loved how suspenseful this book was it made you want to keep reading. I enjoyed reading about a girl who things she has nothing more to offer for the world but then slowly realizes all the bad things that have happened in her life and led her to a single moment. She finally finds where she belongs. I feel like the book could have a better ending. Maybe they could have ended in the government shelter. Overall this book was pretty good. I definitely would recommend it.

Reviewer's Name
Megan
Genres

Book Review: There's Someone Inside Your House

Author
Perkins, Stephanie
Rating
4 stars = Really Good
Review

As an avid Stephanie Perkins reader, this book is not her best work but still worth your time to read. There was ample suspense as Makani Young navigated the unfolding of an active serial killer's crimes in a small town, with a fast pace to not bore readers. Similar to thrillers like One of Us is Lying, I was constantly changing my mind as to who the killer could be. Do we pay attention to Ollie, the typical loner, or even one of Makani's own friends? Unfortunately, the movie adaptation did not do this story justice. Do not waver from trying it out if you stumbled across the movie first! It's not the darkest thriller I've read, but still disturbing enough to introduce a passion for the genre and keep you up at night.
Grade 11

Reviewer's Name
Maggie

Book Review: Hunting Prince Dracula

Author
Maniscalco, Kerri
Rating
2 stars = Meh
Review

In the second installment to the Stalking Jack the Ripper series, this time we follow Audrey and Thomas to Romania, mainly to escape the grief and memories that London contains, but also to attend one of the best schools of forensic medicine. However, Audrey and Thomas are once again thrown into another murder mystery, this time facing Vlad the Impaler.
Even though the plot of this novel seemed interesting enough, like the first book of this series, I still couldn't find myself connecting to Audrey or Thomas at all. Both of them just seemed like the stereotypical cookie-cutter fantasy romance interests, with no dimension and no personality. While I enjoyed some of the interesting cultural legends and information about Romania, I felt like the novel was going way too slow. I couldn't find myself getting into it, and none of the characters really interested me and kept me focused on the novel. Once I practically forced myself to finish the book, I didn't find myself thinking about the book ever again. There was nothing interesting or unique about the novel and all the characters just seemed like the same characters that I've read about over and over again in the fantasy genre. The murder was also pretty generic and simple to solve, so there wasn't much suspense or build-up. Overall, I could see why some people would like this book, but it wasn't for me.

Reviewer Grade: 11

Reviewer's Name
Michelle

Book Review: The Exorcist

Image
The Exorcist cover image; something evil is shown on the book in the fuzzy shape of a cross
Author
Beatty, William Peter
Rating
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review

The source material for the iconic film of the same name, The Exorcist is a about a young girl and what resides within her.
You follow Chris and her 12 year old daughter, Regan, as Regan's behavior begins to change and morph until she becomes unrecognizable to those around her. As her condition worsens, new characters fall under your eye: Klein, Father Karras, Kinderman, and more, all with their own involvement with Regan, Chris, and the events around them.
I enjoyed the book, though I thought the begin was a bit slow, personally. I enjoyed the book, but it wasn't a four star book for me. I would give it a read, especially if you have seen the movie (I haven't seen it, but I digress). It is a bid crude in a couple of places, so if disturbing descriptions make you uncomfortable or something similar, prepare or shy away from this one.
Horror readers and newcomers, enjoy!

Reviewer's Name
Antwaan

Book Review: It

Author
King, Stephen
Rating
4 stars = Really Good
Review

If you love a nice touch of supernatural horror in your life, you have to check out IT by Stephen King. Follow the story of young Bill Denbrough as he tries to discover what happened to his younger brother, Georgie, after his disappearance with his friends: Richie Tozier, Stanley Uris, Eddie Kaspbrak, Beverly Marsh, Mike Hanlon, and Ben Hanscom, while discovering a much darker secret under Derry, Maine. This book has everything you could possibly ask for in a horror novel with a strong bond of characters, a very unique villain, and enough variety that leaves you loving both the teenage and adult perspectives of the story. I love the concept of seeing both a child and adult perspective of the novel, it is a very unique concept, worth the 1000 pages. However, it only gets 4 stars in my book due to the constantly changing perspectives that seem to jump back and forth along with many questionable moments throughout the book. However, if you are looking for a book that will keep you reading for a while and love horror, It is the book for you.

Reviewer Grade: 12

Reviewer's Name
Alexis

Book Review: The Phantom of the Opera

Author
Leroux, Gaston
Rating
4 stars = Really Good
Review

The Phantom of Opera by Gaston Leroux is actually a simple classic novel that is really beautiful yet an extremely compelling story in itself. As the very name suggests the book is about a Parisian Opera (Opera in Paris), that is apparently Haunted by an alluring and a mysterious Phantom.

The worst part is that the Phantom eventually falls in love with a soprano Christine Daaè which in the end causes a lot of trouble for the Parisian Opera House.

Anyhow let's get back to this book review. Though the story is actually all about romance and mystery it is also full of obsession and suspense. The book is a classic literature and a bit Broadway musical genre, it is perhaps not bad to say that the book is filled with a lot of suspense and almost an indefinite thought provoking moments that some would find very interesting, when some would find it awkward.

Even though the story itself does go deep into the Christine's childhood and the Phantoms backstory what we really enjoyed is the psychological aspect and angle of it. So, a lot of thrilling moments that will literally nail you to your stool or a bed while you read it.

Reviewer's Name
Nesim

Book Review: Scary Stories for Young Foxes

Author
Heidicker, Christian McKay
Rating
4 stars = Really Good
Review

"Scary Stories for Young Foxes" is an enchanting fantasy read involving several talking foxes. When two of them are separated from their families and meet each other under odd circumstances, they quickly bond and become good friends. They've both already had their share of scary experiences, so they find comfort in having a friend. That is, until they encounter more spooky sites, such as a monster who lurks in the pond nearby, and a lady who wants to trap them for good. What I enjoyed most about this story was the unpredictable plot twists. It had a fast pace, and never left me bored. The author has a way of smoothly transitioning from event to event without any hiccups or plot holes. I also enjoyed watching the two young foxes bond, fight, and bond again. And watch out for the plot twist at the end! The only reason I gave it 4 instead of 5 stars was because I was hoping for a slightly scarier story. At times, the monsters got a little too silly, which made it difficult to put myself in the shoes of the characters. Don't be fooled; this is certainly not a horror novel, and best for ages 11-14.
Reviewer's Grade: 8

Reviewer's Name
Audrey

Book Review: There's Someone Inside Your House

Author
Perkins, Stephanie
Rating
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review

There's Someone Inside Your House follows Makani Young as she tries to escape her past and create a new life in small-town Nebraska with her grandma and two best friends. She also is developing a crush on town outcast, Ollie. Suddenly, members of her small high school are found viciously murdered, one after another, and her and her friends will have to scramble to find the killer before they become their next victim.
I originally read this book because of the movie coming out under the same name, based on the book. In the trailer, the story seems to follow a serial killer who kills his high school victims while wearing a mask of the victims face, while seemingly holding them accountable for their past digressions. Obviously, this sounds amazing to read, so I read this book. The result was somewhat disappointing. For one, the actual murder mystery at the center of the story is no where near as interesting as the one the film outlines. In fact, despite the pretty good terror the book can get across, its pretty typical. When the murderer is revealed, both them and their motive are pretty disappointing. Other mysteries also turn out to be pretty disappointing, like some of the characters pasts or motives. Furthermore, the murder mystery isn't really the center of the story. More time seems to be devoted to what is meant to be a romantic subplot, but quickly becomes the main plot, leaving the vicious massacres on the side. Now, on the good side, the romantic subplot is pretty good, even if it takes up way too much time. As I said, the murder scenes have a lot of good tension and gore, all told from the victims perspective. The trauma the characters go through is pretty well explored, and the characters themselves are pretty well rounded, well characterized, and pretty funny. And even if the story was basic murder mystery, it was still a fun murder mystery.
All in all, while I found this book pretty disappointing, I do think its a fun ride. This would be a great read for fans of mystery, thrillers, pretty cool gore, and emotional love stories!

Reviewer's Name
Eve

Book Review: All These Bodies

Author
Blake, Kendare
Rating
2 stars = Meh
Review

All These Bodies follows the country wide mystery of the Bloodless Murders, murders that leave every victim sucked dry without signs of struggle or bloodstains. Michael Jensen, the son of the sheriff who has followed the mystery as a hopeful journalist, one day witnesses the aftermath of the final murder in his hometown: the Carleson's family is found dead, with every ounce of their blood found drenched on one Marie Catherine Hale. As the nations whips itself into a frenzy over a fifteen-year-old murderess, Michael scrambles to, with Marie's help, solve the mystery of the Bloodless Murders, no matter how fantastical the answer may be.
I really wanted to like this book. See, I bought it impulsively about a month ago, hoping for a classic "How evil is the child that has done evil things?" that has been done so well in the past (None Shall Sleep, House on the Cerulean Sea, Good Omens, etc.). I was looking for some fun prose, debates on nature versus nurture, and a good thriller mystery. This book, sadly, did not live up to my expectations. For one, the writing is surprisingly prosaic for Kendare Blake, who's written other books I love. One could see this as an attempt to show that a teenager is telling the story, as the jist is that Michael is writing this story, so it makes sense that the writing is very to the point. However, even if this was intentional, it doesn't change the fact that the writing isn't very fun to read. There are some well written scenes that get across the small town vibe and deep horror of the book, but most of it was very simple. For another thing, I don't really like the way Marie was characterized. She's introduced as this worldly, weary teenager that has seen and committed many horrors. But despite this powerful image, for most of this book Marie seems very powerless and apathetic. This could be seen as accurate regarding her trauma, but it makes her much less of her own character and more a thing for Michael to protect and the world to judge. Finally, while some scenes were very scary, many of them simply described a maybe scary thing and didn't drive home the terror of the moment. Again, this could be accurate since many of these moments weren't necessarily scary out of context, but again, less interesting. The general theme of this book seems to prioritize the realistic over the dramatic, which is to be commended, but does decrease certain people's, including my, general enjoyment. Still, this book had a good ending, solid characterization, some good discussions on the public court, and accurately depicting the suffocating small town aesthetic.
All in all, this book could still be enjoyed in someone likes realistic writing, the 1900s aesthetic, discussions on justice, and nebulous mysteries, and I recommend anyone to read Kendare Blake's other works!

Reviewer's Name
Eve

Book Review: House of Hollow

Author
Sutherland, Krystal
Rating
4 stars = Really Good
Review

Krystal Sutherland creates a uniquely haunting atmosphere in House of Hollow, a story about three sisters who experienced a mysterious incident in their childhood which left their eyes pitch black and their hair bright white. Iris, the youngest sister, tries her best to blend in and lead an ordinary life, which proves very difficult; Vivi is a rebel who embraces her appearance; Grey, the oldest, is stunningly beautiful and remarkably successful, a secretive celebrity phenomenon. When Grey disappears without warning, Iris and Vivi embark on a bizarre, dangerous journey which will change the way they see themselves--and their sister--forever.
House of Hollow is filled with twists, turns, and tumbles into dark places. It will leave readers on the edges of their seats, dreading what comes next yet filled with a desire to know the full story. Sutherland's beautifully frightening, masterful plot is perfect for anyone who is craving something new and different and enjoys horror, suspense, and fantasy. House of Hollow serves as a reminder to us all: nothing is as it seems.

Reviewer's Name
Alexa