Slasher Girls & Monster Boys is an anthology of fourteen horror stories by many of my favorite YA authors. Seriously. Look at this list of contributors and try not to drool!
We have Nova Ren Suma (The Walls Around Us), Carrie Ryan (Daughter of Deep Silence), Cat Winters (The Uninvited) Leigh Bardugo (Six of Crows), Megan Shepherd (The Cage), Danielle Paige (Dorothy Must Die), April Genevieve Tucholke (Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea), Jonathan Maberry (Rot & Ruin), Jay Kristoff (Illuminae), Stefan Bachmann (A Drop of Night), Marie Lu (The Young Elites), McCormick Templeman (The Little Woods), A.G. Howard (Splintered), and Kendare Blake (Anna Dressed in Blood). I recommend reading every creepy story in this anthology, but I’m focusing here on the eleven written by women.
The first story, Suma’s “The Birds of Azalea Street,” opens with birds flocking at a murder scene. The parents in the neighborhood don’t understand why Leonard (“a perfectly nice man, an upstanding member of our community”) is dead, while their daughters (“who sense danger when everyone’s telling us it’s fine”) know he’s a creep. Ryan’s “In the Forest Dark and Deep” draws from Alice in Wonderland: Cassidy’s fun tea party in the woods becomes a series of scary encounters with the March Hare.
Winter’s “Emmeline” is about a dead girl in Northern France, 1918, who lures soldiers to join her in what’s left of her bombed out bedroom. A teen celebrity’s rehab is much more than her mother paid for in Bardugo’s “Verse Chorus Verse.” In Shepherd’s “Hide-and-Seek,” Annie plays a game with Crow Cullom, death’s harbinger, after her stepdad nearly kills her. A dreams-come-true romance between “Marnie Monster” and the perfect boy becomes sinister in Paige’s “The Dark, Scary Parts and All.”
In Tucholke’s “The Flicker, the Finger, the Beat, the Sigh, “ a couple’s perfect future is jeopardized when a joyride turns nightmarish on a rainy night. Lu’s “The Girl Without a Face” is about a Harvard boy with a dark past who’s haunted by a vengeful ghost. A group of boys from a plague-stricken community seek salvation in a shaman girl they’ve captured in Templeman’s “A Girl Who Dreamed of Snow.” In Howard’s “Stitches,” a girl dismembers her “sinful” father, selling his “offensive” body parts to “The Collector” and replacing them with a “good person’s” cadaver pieces. In the final story, Blake’s “On the I-5,” a murdered girl seeks revenge.
This anthology pays homage to classic horror films and literature, urban legends, fairy tales, and myths; yet these stories are original and disturbing in their own right. As the book’s website says, “Each author draws from a mix of literature, film, television, or even music to create something new and fresh and unsettling….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 the supernatural, to unsettling, all-too-possible realism, this collection has something for anyone looking for an absolute thrill.”
Alyssa Raymond is a YA blogger for Coven Book Club and its sister site Spellbinding Books. She thanks Edelweiss, the publisher, and the Boulder Book Store for providing her with a digital review copy of this book for review purposes only, and her opinions are her own. Please follow Spellbinding BooksonTwitter and Tumblr.