Horror

Book Review: Small Spaces

Author
Arden, Katherine
Rating
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review

The book is about a book loving kid named Ollie who after coming home from school sees a woman trying to throw a book into water. Ollie of course takes the book away from her and got a warning. The book Ollie got slowly connects to the farm she's visiting for a field trip. After the trip the bus breaks down and they find themselves listening to the bus driver and leaving into the fog. Which led them to a creepy place where scarecrows roam around at the night. Overall I loved to see the book slowly connect as the pieces began making sense. You get to see the characters grow emotionally and begin to understand each other. The eerie feeling of the book fits and the ending makes it feel like it's gone back to this small town and nothing ever happened.

Reviewer's Name
Hana

Book Review: John Dies at the End

Author
Wong, David
Rating
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review

John Dies at the End is a story on two levels. On hand hand, it's a poignant exploration of the darkness of humanity, the fear of the unknown, the tragedies of life, and the devastating realities we exist besides everyday. But also, it's about two idiots on a space drug and their strangely resilient dog.
This book should be the blueprint for every dark comedy. It isn't a needlessly tragic story with a few laughs thrown in or a joke fest that undercuts every poignant moment. It blends comedy and tragedy seamlessly, balances it perfectly, and hits it for a home run with meticulous writing and characters. This is mostly done by finding the hilarity in tragedy, specifically the tragedy of life. This book is strangely and wonderfully existential for being mostly about shadows and movie monsters, a very classic demons of a character mirrored by demons of the world. The characters in general are stellar, with so many flaws and so much cynicism but with some shining nuggets of morality and love that makes them very easy to root for.
The entire thing is a joke that takes itself seriously in the best way possible. There are horrible moments of death and gore and dehumanization, and I would definitely look up some content warnings, but it's still such a fun ride. One minute there's gruesome character deaths and existential dread and body horror and such, the next minute one of the characters need to just kill the alien larvae quickly to get to work on time. Or their dog explodes and shows up like two days later and they don't care enough to investigate that. It's a rollercoaster of mood swings, but in a good way.
All in all, I don't know how to describe this book without using far too many words. Basically, despite some anticlimactic moments and weaker plot structure, this is a perfect dark comedy. I'd recommend this to any fans of horror, humor, existential dread, nihilistic humor, and well-written alien drugs!

Reviewer Grade: 12

Reviewer's Name
Eve

Book Review: It

Author
King, Stephen
Rating
4 stars = Really Good
Review

Despite the high page count, I've been looking to reread It by Stephen King for some time. It was a great book; it just took some time to get through. Seven friends all team up to fight an other-worldly murderous clown after several people turn up dead in the small town of Derry. This clown feasts on your worst thoughts and fears, and destroys your mind as well as your body. The switch between the seven friends as kids versus adults was entertaining, because they handled emergency situations differently as well as having different motives because of how the clown affected their childhoods. The chapters could get tedious at times and have a lot of fluff (in a horror book? YES!). I would even call the last hundred or so pages strange as the final battle became sort of biblical and unlike the direction of the rest of the book. Still, if you're a fast reader and would like to get a horror book under your belt, try it out!
Grade 12

Reviewer's Name
Maggie
Genres

Book Review: The Collector

Author
Alexander, K.R.
Rating
4 stars = Really Good
Review

I enjoyed this book a lot. I picked up this book because I enjoy reading the genre horror, and it did not disappoint! The main character, Josie, goes through a cycle of emotions in each stage of the book. I feel like this adds so much more to the book, and makes the reader feel more connected to her. For instance, when going to a new school, Josie meets Vanessa and eventually she feels like she finally belongs and has somebody to relate to.
The horror element of the book along with all of Josie’s grandma’s crazy rules lead the reader down a path of mystery, the rules including…
1. Never leave your windows open after dark
2. No dolls in the house
3. Never, ever go by the house in the woods
Josie’s dear friend, Vanessa leads her in the woods to the house, the house that is calling for her.
I can relate with Josie on different levels. One of these levels being in a new school and feeling like you don’t belong. I relate to her on that level of feeling awkward around new people.
I enjoyed this book a lot and would definitely recommend it to anyone looking for horror and mystery put into one book.
Reviewer Grade: 8

Reviewer's Name
Abigail

Book Review: The Stand

Author
King, Stephen
Rating
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review

The Stand by Stephen King is uniquely a classic tale of good and evil facing off. This novel follows sundry people in a world after the deadly flu, which kills most of the population. While the remaining population is drawn to two people, one represents evil and the other good. The question that readers will be left with is: who will win? This question remains as various characters are introduced who are relatable and could pass for real people. The characters face many challenges, romance, action, adventure, and so much more. The ending to this stunning book could not be predicted and will keep any reader guessing. As with any Stephen King book, the writing style is distinct and will not be boring throughout the novel. It is a peephole to 1978 with vocabulary and culture. The Stand will not disappoint anyone willing to take on the challenge of a long, complex book. Overall I would give it a five out of five stars.

Reviewer's Name
Lucia
Genres

Book Review: The Werewolf of Fever Swamp

Author
Stine, R. L.
Rating
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review

This book was super great! I love scary books and especially movies. I wish that R.L. Stein would make every book into a movie. It was so easy to read and I read it in a few hours. It is all about a family that moves into this house that was literally next to this swamp called fever swamp in Florida. The main character Grady can't sleep because he hears howling all night long. Grady does a lot.of exploring and finds a lot of crazy things. He finds a mutilated rabbit, a dead deer. He meets someone from the area named Will. Grady keeps exploring when he finds and hears things that aren't right, and the ending....it totally shocked me. It was so good.
-an almost 9th grader

Reviewer's Name
Sophia
Genres

Book Review: Under the Dome

Author
King, Stephen
Rating
4 stars = Really Good
Review

In this story (which holds heavy resemblance to the "Gone" series by Michael Grant), a small town is trapped within a invisible and impenetrable barrier (or dome if you prefer), leaving the inhabitants to fend for themselves against the lack of resources and each other as a power struggle appears in the midst of the crisis.
Similar to another 1000+ page book of King's, Under the Dome has a multitude of interesting and developed characters, a driving force for the majority of the plot, and a heavy lead up that concludes well enough, but a little underwhelming. Watching all the people within the town slowly morph to party, if you will, was great. The mystery of the dome is, of course, speculated throughout the story and gives a small sense of mystery while the conflict continues on. After the climax, however, things slow down to a pretty lackluster conclusion. I feel there could have been something more climatic in the final 50-100 pages of the story. I'm not mad at how it ended, but I felt it could have done a bit more that what it did. Even with that, it was a great book, even with the extensive length.
Reviewer's Grade: 11

Reviewer's Name
Antwaan
Genres

Book Review: House of Leaves

Author
Danielewski, Mark Z.
Rating
4 stars = Really Good
Review

House of Leaves is a story within a story within a story. In short, it is a collection of writings, put together by an amateur tattoo artist after retrieving the notes from a dead blind man's apartment, notes about a documentary that may or may not have existed, a documentary that details one family and their house that is far bigger on the inside than it is on the outside. It is a desperate mess, a mile-high pile of unreliable narrators' unreliable writings collapsing in on themselves. It is a horror, not about a haunted house or a monster in the dark, but about the things that haunt us and the monsters inside our minds. It is a book that pushes the idea of what a book can be. It is gibberish, illegible, unreadable. And it is one of the most gripping books I have ever read.
I was glued to this book when I got it. It was one of the first real horror books I have ever read, and yet it betrays every idea of what horror should be. It is long and rambling and pretentious, going off on random tangents and strange digressions at the drop of a hat, but it still made my skin crawl. After I first bought the book, I quickly realized that I could not read it when my parents weren't home. It's something about the abruptness of horror after so long without it, or maybe its the unsettling words before that put you in the headspace where every shadow looks like a death omen. It's likely also something about the way the book chooses to directly address the root of all fears. It isn't about a house invasion, it's about the primal fear that comes when the comforting becomes unsafe. It isn't about surviving in a dangerous or extreme environment, it's about the bone deep terror of being somewhere you don't belong. It isn't about a monster, it's about the monstrous things this world has to offer, and how that monstrosity can creep into our very bones. This can be seen in the way the horror of the book is never named or explained. There is no ritual or legend, no handy expert or trusty guide. Even if a character manages to escape the horror, the horror still exists, because it has always existed.
Despite the beautiful prose, rich imagery, and startling effect this book creates, there are definitely some problems. The main issue is the inherently illogical structure and plot of the novel. This is obviously intentional on the authors part, since the book, and its characters, are meant to be a challenge to understand. The book is filled with rambling, nonsensical footnotes that can take up pages at a time. Words will go in different directions, appendices will stretch on for hours, entire chapters will be devoted to academic nothingness. This strangeness also weaves its way into the plot. While the documentary's story is mostly straightforward (although it, too, dissolves near the end) the ramblings of the amateur tattoo artist bringing the story together are crude, strange, abrupt, and often incomprehensible. There is a lack of catharsis, of any sort of understanding of most of the characters, and this can be very confusing and frustrating.
All in all, this book was a difficult yet rewarding read. I'd definitely recommend it for older readers, and would instruct any attempting to read it to get the physical version, read however feels comfortable, and go to the appendices when directed. I'd also recommend it for any lovers of horror, mystery, or a story in unique format.
Reviewer Grade: 12

Reviewer's Name
Eve
Genres

Book Review: The Stand

Author
King, Stephen
Rating
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review

One of King's earliest and critically acclaimed books, a superflu ravages the planet, leaving a minuscule remainder of the population to pick between two opposing factions.
This book was a lengthy trip to follow, but it was pretty good. The characters were my favorite part of the story, as most of them were nuanced and developed. Seeing them interact with each other and/or their environment really pulled me in. The story, overall, was also good, but there were spots that didn't bring me the same enjoyment. The ending was anti-climatic and seemed forced, and it didn't flow with the setup before hand. Speaking of flow, the story was very slow. Characters acted and did things, but they also didn't. After the beginning, nothing really happened conflict wise. It all seemed like set up without much driving force aside from the attraction to the two fractions. In context with the story, it makes sense, but it still seemed boring at points where characters either weren't developing or were just there for a purely plot reason. Still recommend a read (especially with how it connects with his other works), but not the best I've read.
Reviewer's Grade: 11

Reviewer's Name
Antwaan

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