Best read late at night in a tent with a trusted friend nearby….

DAUGHTERS UNTO DEVILS

An old-fashioned ghost story plays on primal fears: parents turning on children, the dread of what is out there, and the horror of what might be within.

Teen Amanda has been playing out in the woods, and she hasn’t been playing alone. Against all teachings of her religious family—and after suffering a devastating breakdown the previous winter—she is now “with child” and trying to hide her secret in the family’s crowded mountain cabin. Set in the unspecified past, the tale is reminiscent of Laura Ingalls Wilder’s, even including parents called Ma and Pa. Relocation by ox-drawn wagon begins when Pa decides to follow rumors of a better life available out on the prairie, and soon, true to the genre, they move into a cabin thick with old blood and gore. Amanda laments, “I’m starting to believe that Hell is everywhere,” and readers won’t disagree. There’s pestilence in the form of ants, feverish plague, and evil of, well, biblical proportion; Job has nothing on this family. This is nightmare on the prairie, and on the mountain, and in the woods, and pretty much everywhere in between; the only real question is which devil will get them: the one within Amanda or the ones circling the cabin? The fast pace and period dialogue mesh reasonably well.

Best read late at night in a tent with a trusted friend nearby…. (Horror. 14 & up)

Pub Date: Sept. 29, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-373-21158-6

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Harlequin Teen

Review Posted Online: June 29, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2015

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Busy, busy, busy…with portents of doom.

CHAIN OF GOLD

From the Last Hours series , Vol. 1

Clare’s (Ghosts of the Shadow Market, 2019, etc.) latest is set in the Shadowhunter world in the 20th century’s first decade (with frequent flashbacks to the previous one).

Teenage offspring of the Herondales, Carstairs, Fairchilds, and other angel-descended Nephilim continue their families’ demon-fighting ways amid a round of elegant London balls, soirees, salons, picnics, and romantic intrigues. James Herondale, 17-year-old son of Will and Tessa, finds himself and his “perfectly lethal dimple” hung up between two stunning new arrivals: Cordelia Carstairs, red-haired Persian/British wielder of a fabled magic sword, and Grace Blackthorn, an emotionally damaged but (literally, as the author unsubtly telegraphs) spellbinding friend from childhood. Meanwhile, a sudden outbreak of demonic attacks that leave more and more Shadowhunters felled by a mysterious slow poison plunges James and a cohort of allies into frantic searches for both a cause and an antidote. Ichor-splashed encounters with ravening boojums and even one of hell’s own princes ensue—all leading to final hints of a devastating scheme to destroy the Nephilim in which James himself is slated to play a central role. Characters have a range of skin tones, but ethnic diversity adds no texture to the portrayals; there is a lesbian cousin who wears traditionally male clothing and two young gay men (one tortured, the other less so).

Busy, busy, busy…with portents of doom. (Fantasy. 14-18)

Pub Date: March 3, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4814-3187-3

Page Count: 624

Publisher: McElderry

Review Posted Online: Jan. 23, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2020

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Bloody? Yes. Scary? No.

THERE'S SOMEONE INSIDE YOUR HOUSE

Someone is murdering high school students. Most freeze in fear, but a brave few try to stop the killings.

Senior Makani Young has been living in corn-obsessed Nebraska for just a little over a year. She has developed a crush and made some friends, but a dark secret keeps her from truly opening up to those around her. As the only half–African-American and half–Native Hawaiian student in her school, she already stands out, but as the killing spree continues, the press descends, and rumors fly, Makani is increasingly nervous that her past will be exposed. However, the charming and incredibly shy Ollie, a white boy with hot-pink hair, a lip ring, and wanderlust, provides an excellent distraction from the horror and fear. Graphic violence and bloody mayhem saturate this high-speed slasher story. And while Makani’s secret and the killer’s hidden identity might keep the pages turning, this is less a psychological thriller and more a study in gore. The intimacy and precision of the killer’s machinations hint at some grand psychological reveal, but lacking even basic jump-scares, this tale is high in yuck and low in fright. The tendency of the characters toward preachy inner monologues feels false.

Bloody? Yes. Scary? No. (Horror. 14-16)

Pub Date: Sept. 26, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-525-42601-1

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Dutton

Review Posted Online: July 17, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2017

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