Review: Slasher Girls and Monster Boys

September 17, 2015 Reviews 1 ★★★★

Slasher Girls and Monster Boys by A.G. Howard, April Genevieve Tucholke, Carrie Ryan, Cat Winters, Danielle Paige, Jay Kristoff, Jonathan Maberry, Kendare Blake, Leigh Bardugo, Marie Lu, McCormick Templeman, Megan Shepherd, Nova Ren Suma, Stefan Bachmann
Published by Dial Books on August 18, 2015
Genres: Anthology, Horror
Pages: 400
Format: Hardcover
Source: Library
A host of the smartest young adult authors come together in this collection of scary stories and psychological thrillers curated by Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea’s April Genevieve Tucholke.

Each story draws from a classic tale or two—sometimes of the horror genre, sometimes not—to inspire something new and fresh and terrifying. There are no superficial scares here; these are stories that will make you think even as they keep you on the edge of your seat. From bloody horror to supernatural creatures to unsettling, all-too-possible realism, this collection has something for any reader looking for a thrill.

Fans of TV’s The Walking Dead, True Blood, and American Horror Story will tear through tales by these talented authors:

Stefan Bachmann
Leigh Bardugo
Kendare Blake
A. G. Howard
Jay Kristoff
Marie Lu
Jonathan Maberry
Danielle Paige
Carrie Ryan
Megan Shepherd
Nova Ren Suma
McCormick Templeman
April Genevieve Tucholke
Cat Winters

Even if you’re not a fan of short stories, you need to give this anthology a shot.  It’s a collection of horror stories by some very well-known YA authors, and the result is solid and diverse, with one common them running through all of the stories.  They don’t feature the type of bimbo-ish, murder-bait girls typically found in horror movies. These girls take charge and get revenge on the men who have wronged them.

With only two exceptions, these 14 short stories range from good to very, very good. All of them are based on one or more horror/thriller book or movie.  Most of the inspirations are quickly identifiable.  There are a couple of Frankenstein-ish stories, and in one story, as soon as it was revealed that a man was living with his mother, I thought, “Oh, I know what’s coming here!”  Almost all of the stories present clever spins on the famous stories, and part of the fun in reading them is trying to figure out where the author will take the story, once its inspiration has become clear.  And if you haven’t figured out the inspiration(s) by the end of the story, they are written out at the end.

My favorite story is A.G. Howard’s “Stitches,” which shows the lengths a father will go to to redeem himself for the daughters he abused.  And seriously, you will not believe these lengths.  Other very good stories are from Jay Kristoff, McCormick Templeman, and Kendare Blake.  Kristoff’s “Sleepless” updates a well-known classic film for the social media age.  The villain in this story is probably the worst in this anthology, and he has some pretty stiff competition.  I wasn’t familiar with McCormick Templeman, and I will need to read more from this author, because “The Girl Who Dreamed of Snow” managed to demonstrate hopelessness and heartbreak in just a few pages.  Blake’s story, “On the I-5” is perhaps the most “traditionally” scary story, in the sense that, as you may guess from the title, it’s based on bad things that can happen to girls out on the highway.

The big miss is April Genevieve Tucholke’s story.  While all of the authors used other works merely as inspiration, Tucholke basically took “Carrie” and “I Know What You Did Last Summer” and stapled them together to regurgitate a sadly unoriginal story.  I suppose she can be forgiven, however, since she is the author who selected all of the other stories for this excellent anthology.


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