Reads like preteen-authored Twilight fanfic; only worth it for its intended purpose. (Horror. 11-17)



Cursed with a ravenous nighttime appetite, will John hurt the ones he loves?

Sixteen-year-old John had a fight with his girlfriend, Andrea, at a school dance. After she stormed off, he started talking to Beth, the dark, disheveled, athletic new girl. One thing led to another, and they were kissing; then Beth bit him hard on the neck. After that, the dreams started. Dark, disturbing dreams accompanied by “night hunger.” John eats everything he can get his hands on at night. When the French teacher turns up horribly murdered in the woods, Beth is the only student not distressed. She starts stalking John, showing up at his house at odd hours. On the night of a party on the full moon, John and Beth both become monsters. Will he be able to protect Andrea and save the town from whatever Beth is…and whatever he has become? Prolific British children’s and YA author Gibbons’ entry in this high-interest, low-vocabulary series is a first-person tale told in simple, declarative sentences and a conversational style. A slick cover, short chapters and cliffhanger chapter endings make for a good Hi-Lo title, but not necessarily good fiction.

Reads like preteen-authored Twilight fanfic; only worth it for its intended purpose. (Horror. 11-17)

Pub Date: April 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-78112-179-5

Page Count: 50

Publisher: Stoke Books

Review Posted Online: Feb. 27, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2013

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A deliberately paced thriller with a frightful twist.


A spooky New England town gets a couple new residents.

Jane arrives in Bells Hollow, Maine, hoping to rebuild her life in the wake of her father’s unexpected death. After selling their California home to settle debts, Jane’s mother, Ruth, has relocated the small family to the childhood home left to her by her estranged parents. The house, North Manor, is the subject of whispers and rumor in the small town. Jane makes friends at school and gets an after-school job in a bookstore that contains a coffee shop, but all the while there’s a creeping dread in the back of her mind: Something is very wrong with this place, and her mother isn’t being completely honest with her. As Jane stumbles through anxiety, mystery readers will itch for the big reveal. The author crafts spooky set pieces and an intriguing cast of supporting characters, but Jane’s repetitive cycle of grief, dread, anxiety, repeat comes very close to wearing out its welcome. Luckily, just when it reaches the boiling point, secrets are revealed and twisted upon, serving up an explosive finale that reframes the slower bits and ends the book on a high note. Main characters are White; Jane’s school friend Susie and her boss, Will, are Black.

A deliberately paced thriller with a frightful twist. (Thriller. 13-17)

Pub Date: Sept. 15, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-316-53724-7

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: June 25, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2020

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

An adequate thriller.


A group of teens do their best to survive the night.

Fright Night is in town, and local teens Dylan, Sofia, and Quin are excited to enter the woods for a night of scares. Kelly and Sandy are excited for Fright Night too, but they’ll be working the attractions: dressing up in disturbing costumes to stalk the paying customers and earning a hefty chunk of change for their services. Over the course of Fright Night, the five teens mix and mingle with creepy, violent results. The narrative plays its cards close to the vest, creating a pulpy read filled with thrills and chills that unfortunately lack much nuance or substance. The result is a book that’s fun in the moment but forgettable once the book is done. The teen characters lack specificity, so much so that the two teens who have mysterious backstories (Dylan and Kelly) are almost interchangeable. The novel’s big reveal reframes this a bit with hindsight, but by then it might be too little too late. The spooky sequences are rendered admirably enough, and readers looking for a Fear Street–like paperback to bring to the beach or on the bus will be satisfied. All characters are presumably white.

An adequate thriller. (Thriller. 12-16)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-17596-5

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Underlined

Review Posted Online: June 19, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2020

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet