Family history is uncovered when a teen heads to New Jersey with her aunt’s film crew to seek out the urban legend of the Jersey Devil.
Winnie Flynn, a horror-movie fan, is about to spend her summer as an intern for her aunt’s reality TV show, Fantastic, Fearsome. This is a chance for Winnie not only to see the other side of a genre she loves, but for her to build a relationship with her previously estranged aunt, who has become one of her only remaining family members after her mother’s suicide, three months prior. The plot moves along via a combination of straightforward prose that takes the form of an ongoing letter to Winnie’s friend Lucia and screenplay excerpts, punctuated by David Ostow’s eerie illustrations—some graphic novel–esque—pointedly placed throughout. Micol Ostow carefully weaves themes of feminism in and among the tropes commonly used in horror, and equally meticulous plot twists turn the story into a genuine mystery. Winnie’s narrative voice is grounded, critical, and humorous, all while being true to that of a teenager. Some readers may question how “ready” Winnie seems to be after suffering the loss of her mother, but there is no textbook way to deal with grief, and in her letters, she explains her feelings along the way.
This stylish novel is both a celebration of horror as a genre and chilling in its own right. (Horror. 14-18)