Um, it’s not what it looks like. I swear.
No one was harmed in the making of this blog post.
I love horror. Not because of the gore, and not because of jump scares in horribly thought-out movies (Yes, I’m looking at you, The Conjuring 2.) I love horror because fear is one of the strongest emotions a person can feel, yet so many people can’t convey it through the written word. Obviously, the authors in this book claimed that they could.
Needless to say, I was intrigued.
A few of the stories were ones that I absolutely loved. Most were okay, not good or bad. One of them was, for lack of better words, absolutely shit.
Don’t hate, don’t hate. Literature is completely subjective, you know? We all have our opinions, and you’re here to hear mine.
Stories in order of quality (best to worst):
- Sleepless- Jay Kristoff
- In the Forest Dark and Deep- Carrie Ryan
- Stitches- A.G. Howard
- Emmeline- Cat Winters
- Hide-and-Seek- Megan Shepherd
- The Girl Without a Face- Marie Lu
- The Dark, Scary Parts and All- Danielle Paige
- M- Stefan Bachmann
- The Flicker, the Fingers, the Beat, the Sigh- April Genevieve Tucholke
- Verse, Chorus, Verse- Leigh Bardugo
- The Birds of Azalea Street- Nova Ren Suma
- On the I-5- Kendare Blake
- A Girl Who Dreamed of Snow- McCormick Templeman
- Fat Girl with a Knife- Jonathan Maberry
Most of the “lower quality” stories I just personally didn’t find interesting or exciting. A few of them had extremely transparent story line “twists” if you can even call them that (zombie apocalypses, revenge-seeking dead girls, etc.) I won’t go into detail about most of them, but I’ll talk about my top 3 and my most disliked story.
Spoiler Alert! If you plan on reading this book, skip to the “In Conclusion” portion near the end.
Sleepless by Jay Kristoff
This story started off kind of bland, as a lot of stories do (including the golden series, Harry Potter). It got into what appeared to be a bland, online, high-schooler flirting session. There were pages filled with chat messages between the girl and boy. Occasionally, the boy would be yelled at by his mother and told to stay away from the “skank” on his laptop. Long story short, the girl and boy plan a meetup, and his “dad” picks her up. Only, the story is still being written from who we thought was the boy. The boy even tells her “I’m Justin, Wolfie’s dad.” (Wolfie being part of the boy’s online username.) She gets in his car, goes home with him, and the twist has fully emerged. Instead of a cliche teenage romance we get a creepy, disgusting case of catfishing. And he’s a serial killer. And he tries to kill her.
But, of course, she prevails. She kills him to seek revenge for all the other girls he had killed. Apparently she sensed the girls’ ghosts or something and needed to put them to rest . . . ? I admit, the girl’s supernatural abilities were the worst thing in the whole story. Super cliche, seemed thrown in at the last minute, and appeared as kind of a rushed resolution to the whole thing. But, hey. You get what you get. The twist outshined the horrible ending in my eyes.
In the Forest Dark and Deep by Carrie Ryan
Love Alice in Wonderland? You’ll love this story. Love stories with descriptions of decaying bodies mixed with the slow deterioration of a little girl’s mind? You’ll love this story. I’m personally not a big fan of Alice in Wonderland. Not even a small fan.
This story was good all on its own. A young girl stumbles across a tea table in the woods. A hat sits at one seat, a pine cone at another, and an apron at the last. She slipped on the apron, and started to act as Alice. She talked to the empty hat and pine cone as if they were the Mad Hatter and the Dormouse. She scanned the empty seats and said, “I guess the March Hare is running late again.” She would continuously return to the clearing to play pretend, almost every day. One day, she saw a human-sized rabbit cautiously emerge from the woods–the March Hare.
Long story short, she gets bullied by some girls, the March Hare kills them and places them in the seats at the table. He strings them up and controls their dead limbs as if their marionettes, making them nod and toast the young “Alice.” About 10 years later, on the anniversary of the girls’ deaths, a group of stupid teenagers went to party in the clearing.
The March Hare ripped their throats out, nearly decapitating them all. “Off with their heads,” Alice laughed when she found them.
Stitches by A.G. Howard
An abusive father, a dead mother. A typical sob story from a young girl and her siblings. One day, though, her horrible drunk of a father comes home with a “savior.” The man will rescue her father from his horrible ways by cutting of his feet, hands, ears, eyes, and tongue. They will be replaced by the body parts of someone who was a good person, and he will be cured. The family, which borders on poverty, will be awarded $10,000 for each body part. Added up, the total profit will be $90,000. The main character is forced to be the one who cuts off her father’s body parts and sews the new ones on. Slowly, the “treatment” actually starts to work. Her father has no taste for alcohol or cursing with his new tongue, he does not hit or kick with his new hands and feet, his new eyes only see kindness, and his ears only hear the sweet voices of his children. Then, the beautiful twist.
The body part replacements were from none other than the main character’s dead mother. Her father’s wife. Both of her parents were now combined into one person. It as the only way her father could get closure for what had happened. It was the only thing that could have saved him.
Fat Girl with a Knife by Jonathan Maberry
Why would someone think this story was even remotely good? It had everything bad a story can have: cliche plot, cliche characters, cliche setting . . . Nothing that set it apart from anything else. Nothing unique or interesting at all.
A young overweight girl, bullied by the skinny pretty girls. Boohoo. Next.
She uses the school restroom, and the main pretty girl comes in crying. Boohoo. Next.
It ends up a fucking zombie apocalypse has begun in the school. Wait, I’m sorry, what? Where was the buildup to this? Why is this happening? Who was the author who obviously hit a roadblock and decided to just throw a random “twist” at us? Jonathan Maberry. That’s who.
It was an all-around horrible story. No interesting characters, no intriguing plot, no real twists. NOTHING.
In conclusion . . .
The stories in this book that were good, were really good. Most of them were just okay.
One was absolute shit.
But that’s okay. More of them were good than shit, so that’s an accomplishment. Overall, I’ve decided to read some books written by Jay Kristoff, Carrie Ryan, and A.G. Howard, because their stories were incredible. Maybe I’ll come across a book that really speaks to me. Who knows?
Have any of you read this book? Are you going to? What are your thoughts on this?
Let me know with a comment, and I’ll be sure to respond!