Reviews of Teen Books by Genre: Horror

This is Not a Test
Summers, Courtney
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:
There's Someone Inside Your House
Perkins, Stephanie
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
Hunting Prince Dracula
Maniscalco, Kerri
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
Scary Stories for Yong Foxes
Heidicker, Christian McKay
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
There's Someone Inside Your House
Perkins, Stephanie
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
All These Bodies
Blake, Kendare
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
House of Hollow book jacket
Sutherland, Krystal
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
Scary Stories for Yong Foxes
Heidicker, Christian McKay
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Scary Stories for Young Foxes is a very intriguing book with twists and turns all the way down. It is designed to be, hence the name, "scary" but the way the stories from each perspective connect creates a much more interesting story than it may seem. Heidecker is able to create interesting twists in the story, and is entertaining and funny as well, with an odd twist on the famed author, Beatrix Potter. But, I feel like this book could have been a children's book if it hadn't been written like to be like the scary stories you write around the campfire. The writing was not very challenging, but the plotline is perfectly written.

As you read the book you get rather attached to the main characters, Mia and Uly. Uly is a young fox with a disfigured foot, making it harder for him to function in his fox family with his sisters. His mom is always supportive and encourages Uly as he figures out how he will live on his own. But, life on his own takes a turn for the worst...

Mia grew up attending A little fox school with her siblings, and her wonderful teacher, Miss Vix. They are learning how to hunt scavenge, and survive in the wilderness, and Mia loves her class. And her teacher. The litter is learning fast, and loving it. But, disaster strikes, and leaves only Mia and her mom alone, to run from the "monster" that has formed.

Uly and Mia's destinies soon intertwine and create a plotline that is perfect for a casual read, or, if you want to make it more exciting, read it in a dark room and let your imagination run wild. Recommended ages 10+
Reviewer's Grade: 8

Reviewer's Name: Priya
Genres:
Hellboy in Hell: Death Card book jacket
Mignola, Mike
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

The Death Card concludes the solo storyline of Mike Mignola's Hellboy. In The Death Card, Hellboy begins to discover the consequences of his actions in The Descent, and sees hope for a new, restored world. He also seems to fully grasp the power of his Right Hand of Doom and... well, I shouldn't tell you too much. But you can know that this is the end, the great conclusion, written and drawn by Mignola. And on that note: Mignola's art here is as good as ever. The scene with... well, I still can't tell you too much, but there's a part that's actually painted. The art is is great. And the writing is good as well. Hellboy in Hell: The Death Card delivers a satisfying end to the tale of Hellboy.

Reviewer's Name: Camden
The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
Stevenson, Robert Louis
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Lewis Stevenson is a novel about a scientist in London, Dr. Jekyll, that has the misfortune of having to control and mask his alter identity, Mr. Hyde. After some unfortunate events partake, others begin to realize that the wise Dr. Jekyll has an alter identity. This novel has an unpredictable ending that left me stunned. I thought that the book was really good due to the continuously moving plot and the amazing characters that create a wonderous mystery throughout the book. I was required to read this book for school and I would definitely recommend it for readers that are in middle school and beyond that enjoy a great science fiction or mystery novel. Reviewer Grade: 9

Reviewer's Name: Nicola
The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
Stevenson, Robert Louis
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson is a novel about a scientist in London, Dr. Jekyll, who struggles with controlling his alter ego, Mr. Hyde. As he attempts to mask his other personality, horrifying events occur that present the horrible personality of Mr. Hyde. Other citizens begin to discover the connection between Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde as the novel finishes with a jaw dropping climax and resolution. I was required to read this book for school and I would recommend it for readers middle school and above. I really enjoyed the progression of the plot and the ending that was unpredictable. Reviewer Grade: 9

Reviewer's Name: Nicola
Frankenstein: or, The modern Prometheus
Shelley, Mary Wollstonecraft
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, published the year she turned 20, marks the beginning of one of the 21st Century’s favorite genres - science fiction. Written as a series of letters, the story is narrated by an explorer who encountered and rescued a scientist in the far north of Europe. He recounts an adventure told by the mysterious scientist, Victor Frankenstein, who had been fascinated by mysticism and modern science since childhood. Destroyed by grief from personal loss, Frankenstein spent his adulthood constantly occupied with experiments. The experiment that brought him near death and freezing to a stranger's ship had toyed with human life as we know it.

The book follows this experiment and Frankenstein himself as they goes through grief, excitement, devastation, apathy, loneliness, and fear. Mirroring experiences Shelley had gone through in her own devastating adolescence, Frankenstein is an achingly heartfelt book to feature such an absurdly impossible plot. This combination illustrated by such a talented author makes for an excellent book, and allows readers to experience a story that has deservedly become a hallmark of modern literature.

Note: For a book written by a woman, there are shockingly few female characters, and seemingly none with importance to the plot. But readers must remember - such gifted writers do everything for a reason. I would recommend looking into the moon as a symbol for maternity, and to the lack of female characters as an element that relates to the chaotic cycle of the story. This book is often a required part of high school curriculums, and therefore includes powerful themes that rest just behind the inherently dark storyline.

Reviewer's Name: Malachi
Into the Drowning Deep
Grant, Mira
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

I was viewing some of the recommended books in the PPLD website and I
found this book. The title seemed suspenseful and interesting, and it drew me
in, so I decided to read this book. It's about mysteries wanting to be
discovered and uncovered. Years ago, the "Atargatis" filmed a documentary
about bringing ancient life back and discovering mythical creatures. It was
all going fine until the crew disappeared- and what's weird is how footage of
the crew getting slaughtered by mermaids got leaked out. Because of this, the
public grew suspicious and began to wonder if this was just to mock. Because
of this, Theodore Blackwell is curious and forms a new group of people to
voyage to the Mariana Trench. Each person in the crew has their own specialty
and has their own reason of wanting to explore the same area. Along the way,
they discover that a lot of the "myths" are true while finding fheir way to
safety.

Reviewer's Name: Trisha
Stalking Jack the Ripper
Maniscalco, Kerri
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

I absolutely loved this fast paced murder mystery! With awesome likeable characters to an exciting plot, this book has it all. A good murder mystery should always have an exciting ending, and this book did not disappoint. I was totally engrossed in this master piece from start to finish, and cannot wait to start the second one. Stalking Jack the Ripper blew away my expectations and more.
Reviewer Grade: 9.

Reviewer's Name: Sage
The Eyes of the Dragon
King, Stephen
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

This book is definitely over shadowed by many of Stephen kings other books, which is sad because it is SO GOOD! Not like his other works, this quick read is so fun it’s hard to put down. The main character is so easy to root for and the villain is so easy to hate. A great story, characters, and plot what more could you ask for? If you like Stephen king or old timely fantasy books definitely check this one out.

Reviewer's Name: Rylie
The Ocean at the End of the Lane
Gaiman, Neil
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Neil Gaiman's novel The Ocean at the End of the Lane gives an interesting perspective on the nature of childhood and the truth of reality. A folktalishly fantastical novel, this book follows a man as a he thinks back on his childhood and the magical and sometimes terrifying experiences he had as a kid. I at first found this book a little confusing because I didn't quite understand the time switch and whether or not it was meant to be serious or mystical. However, reading this book is very enjoyable as it gives very homely vibes and contains interesting mysteries to uncover. With an open ending that leaves the reader wanting, this is a great quick read for fans of Neil Gaiman or just general fiction enthusiasts.

Reviewer's Name: Maddie
Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba, Volume 3
Gotouge, Koyoharu
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Volume 3 is a perfect introduction to the real world of the demon slayers. After Tanjiro faces off against two powerful demons, we meet Zenitsu, the second main protagonist. The lore of the demon race really starts to unfold in this volume, and seeing it be almost as fleshed out as that of the Demon Slayer Corps is very intriguing. As the exposition starts to pick up the pace towards the main plot, the action and drawing are beautiful. Again, I would recommend this volume to those continuing the series. This graphic novel is relatively light and easy to get invested in, so anyone could get into it!

Reviewer's Name: Steven
Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba, Volume 2
Gotoge, Koyoharu
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

While the first volume of this wonderful series was a straightforward backstory, volume 2 presents a glimpse at what makes Demon Slayer so entertaining. The sub-plots start being developed with Tanjiro joining the Demon Slayer Corps. Much of the main cast is introduced, and the real thrill and dangers of the series are introduced. The atmosphere of the series comes out in full force during these chapters, and as just the second volume, many events are set up perfectly. Overall, I would recommend this graphic novel series to anyone continuing the series. If you are looking to get into this fantastic world, starting with the TV show or volume 1 is the way to go.

Reviewer's Name: Steven
Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba, Volume 1
Gotoge, Koyoharu
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

The first volume of Demon Slayer serves as a fantastic exposition to the main protagonist Kamado Tanjiro. It builds up his basic backstory and also sets the plot of the story. The art style and designs of the graphic novel are captivating and seeing some of the intricate foreshadowings during a reread is entertaining. As much as I love the series altogether, the introduction is rather basic and is not very innovative other than through its concept. Overall, I would recommend this volume to anyone looking for a new graphic novel or series to get invested in.

Reviewer's Name: Steven
Unwind
Shusterman, Neal
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Okay let's get the bad stuff out of the way. To start things off, many times throughout the book it feels a bit slow. I find myself trying to read a part of the book, hoping that something exhilarating will happen, but it turns out to be slow. Following that, sometimes things felt the opposite and felt rushed. At some points of the book, I feel like some plot twists/reveals were forced into happening and being revealed. I would think to myself that it's a bit cliche. But otherwise, there's nothing else that really bothers me.

Now the neutral/mixed emotions. Sometimes the transitions are very good; making the audience know another character's POV at the time of an event. Other times... well it's a little dull. For example, one scene you'd be at an action paced-fight, the other, you'd be having a conversation. But yeah this is the only neutral/mixed emotion factor.

Now the amazing stuff. The characters are absolutely amazing, the plot is amazing, and the action-paced scenes are amazing. I cannot use words to describe how much I love Neal Shusterman's unique way of writing. The way that the characters interact with the world around them, and overcome the problems and struggles put before them really draws you in, and they dynamic between the characters themselves is also amazing. Really love it!

Reviewer's Name: Evelyn