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The Monster Librarian Presents:
Reviews of Horror Anthologies and Collected Works
Sometimes some of the best horror writing can be found in anthologies and collections of short stories. Anthologies or collected works that have a common theme such as zombies, vampires, or werewolves will be found under those specific horror fiction sections. The works reviewed here tend to be collections of stories that touch upon a variety of themes and don't neatly fit under any other categories.
Extremities: Stories of Death, Murder, and Revenge by David Lubar, illustrated by Jim Kay*New Review
Tor Teen, 2013
Available: Hardcover, paperback, Kindle edition
Don’t make the mistake of thinking these stories are for children. They’re not (just in case the impressive cover art didn’t give it away). With this collection of short stories, children’s writer David Lubar has crossed into the world of YA fiction with thirteen tales that are vicious, creepy, and will give you the chills. While the stories themselves are pretty over the top, the feelings they inspire are genuine. The first story, “Running out of Air” will stick with anyone who has ever suffered a sadistic gym teacher or felt guilt about being a bystander. Other stories, like “Apparent Motives” and “Whoodoo” telegraph their endings, but knowing where the story is going doesn’t keep it from being pleasurable reading. There’s a grisly poetic justice to many of the stories. Smug, unpleasant, and malicious characters, such as Jake in “Every Drop”, Collin in “Patterns of Fear”, and Turk in “A Cart Full of Junk”, often meet violent ends, while underdogs frequently prevail. “Feelings” and “The Ex-Box” are gems in this collection, and deliver unexpected endings that will leave readers cheering.
Stylistically, the collection reminded me a bit of Alvin Schwartz’s Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark. Like Schwartz, Lubar tells his stories in spare language, and doesn’t waste words— they are sketched-in outlines that leave the reader to fill in the blanks with her imagination. Each story is preceded by black and white interior artwork, giving the book an extra punch.
It took a long time for Lubar to sell an editor on the idea of publishing a collection of horror stories for teens, as there was a general belief that short story collections don’t sell. Now that Extremities is out on the shelves, I hope we’ll see that change, and that Lubar has the opportunity to come out with a second collection as compelling as this one,
Contains: murder, suicide.
Reviewed by Kirsten Kowalewski
Bloody Horowitz by Anthony Horowitz*New Review
Penguin Young Readers Group, September 2010ISBN: 9780399254512
Available: New and Used
Bloody Horowitz is a collection of short, scary stories by Anthony Horowitz, author of the Alex Rider books. It is a little dark and, at times, a little gory. But it also had me cracking up. From the forward (“Why Horror Has No Place in Children’s Books”) to the editor’s note at the end detailing all of the cuts they planned to make in the manuscript (before suspecting Anthony of being a serial killer), it’s pure dark humor. The first story in particular is a must-read for every Cirque Du Freak fan. It’s entitled, “The Man Who Killed Darren Shan.”There are also killer mp3 players, a GPS you should never listen to, and a game show you’d give anything to win. Not to mention that I’m NEVER going to ride the subway in New York.
I highly recommend this book for every library. It is the perfect book to give to every teenage boy who loves horror or the Alex Rider series.
Contains: Blood, violence, some themes that may be disturbing for children under the age of 13.
Reviewed by: Cherylynne W. Bago
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