Fans of the first may appreciate the happy ending, but most will wonder why the lily needed gilding.

SUCK IT UP AND DIE

The sequel to 2008’s Suck It Up fails to match its predecessor’s charm.

Now that vampires have come forward and learned to walk in the sun, it’s time to campaign for equal rights. But Morning McCobb, geeky vampire spokesperson, just wants to hang with his EB (eternal beloved) Portia and work on his Lifer (human) dream of firefighting. Sadly, there’s no rest for the immortal; villain Ikor DeThanatos is back, teamed up with a Palin-esque politician who hates vampires. Chock full of bad puns, a tensionless love story and underlying messages that come across more pointed than a hawthorn stake, this won’t garner new fans (and there’s almost no recap to orient newcomers, anyway). Messy mythology (the oldest vampires can sustain themselves by transforming part of their body into a creature they can then drink from) and unexpected shifts in character don’t help (tough-girl vamp Rachel Capilarus becomes a daffy hippie). Meehl’s wordplay (there’s a glossary for the acronyms, initialisms and made-up words) and humor are out in full force, and there are moments of genuine sweetness packed into the campy, inconsistent story.

Fans of the first may appreciate the happy ending, but most will wonder why the lily needed gilding. (Comic horror. 12-16)

Pub Date: Aug. 14, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-385-73911-5

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: June 13, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2012

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An eerie thriller reminiscent of summer horror movies that will keep readers on edge.

THE LAKE

Two teens with a dark secret return to their old summer camp.

Childhood friends Esme and Kayla can’t wait to return to Camp Pine Lake as counselors-in-training, ready to try everything they couldn’t do when they were younger: find cute boys, stay up late, and sneak out after hours. Even Andy, their straight-laced supervisor, can’t dampen their excitement, especially after they meet the crushworthy Olly and Jake. An intuitive 17-year-old, Esme is ready to jump in and teach her cute little campers. But when a threatening message appears, Esme and Kayla realize the secret they’ve kept hidden for nearly a decade is no longer safe. Paranoia and fear soon cause Esme and Kayla to revisit their ominous secret and realize that nobody in the camp can be trusted. The slow buildup of suspense and the use of classic horror elements contrast with lighthearted camp activities, bonding with new friends, and budding romance. Similarly, Esme’s first-person point of view allows for increased tension and action as well as offering insight into her emotional and mental well-being. Discussions of adulthood, trauma, and recovery are subtle and realistic, but acts of sexism and machismo aren’t fully analyzed. While the strong buildup of action comes late, it leads to a shockingly satisfying finale. Major characters are White.

An eerie thriller reminiscent of summer horror movies that will keep readers on edge. (Thriller. 12-16)

Pub Date: March 2, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-593-12497-0

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: Dec. 10, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2021

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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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