Monday, November 2, 2015

Book Review: Slasher Girls & Monster Boys Anthology

Title: Slasher Girls & Monster Boys
Author: Multiple
Publication Date: August 18, 2015
Publisher: Dial Books

Pages: 385
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A host of the sharpest young adult authors come together in this collection of terrifying tales and psychological thrillers. Each story draws from a mix of literature, film, television, or even music to offer something new and fresh and unsettling. Even better? After you’ve teased out each tale’s references, satisfy your curiosity at the end, where the inspiration is revealed. 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 unnerving, all-too-possible realism, this collection has something for anyone looking for an absolute thrill.

Not only did this book promise to be a terrifying collection of horror and thrillers, but it also had stories by some of my all-time favorite authors! It should be a surprise that I HAD to have Slasher Girls and Monster Boys as soon as it was released. Oddly, I didn't blow through this anthology like I'd expected to. I had to take it one story at a time over several weeks. I have to say, although some of the stories included were interesting, they did not live up to the promise of the synopsis or the terrifying cover (honestly, I had to take the cover off so I didn't have to look at it).

Understand that I'm rating these stories mostly as horror. If this was just a random YA anthology, I feel like I would be rating differently. However, I went into this expecting to be terrified and not one of these did that. Sure, a couple creeped me out a little here and there, but I was never scared by any of the stories included. Here's my rating breakdown:

The Birds of Azalea Street by Nova Ren Suma - 2.5 stars
In the Forest Dark and Deep by Carie Ryan - 5 stars
Emmeline by Cat Winters - 3 stars
Verse Chorus Verse by Leigh Bardugo - 3.5 stars
Hide-and-Seek by Megan Shepherd - 3 stars 
The Dark, Scary Parts and All by Danielle Paige - 3 stars
The Flicker, The Fingers, The Beat, The Sigh by April Genevieve Tucholke - 4 stars 
Fat Girl With a Knife by Jonathan Mayberry - 3 stars
Sleepless by Jay Kristoff - 4.5 stars 
M by Stefan Bachman - 3 stars 
The Girl Without A Face by Marie Lu - 4 stars
A Girl Who Dreamed of Snow by McCormick Templeman - 3.5 stars
Stitches by A.G. Howard - 3.5 stars
On the I-5 by Kendare Blake - 2 stars

One thing I hadn't realized was that these stories are all retellings of old horror movies or books. This was actually a really cool idea! Unfortunately, it didn't quite work for a few of them. The connections were either weak or made the stories predictable. And a lot, a LOT, of these stories have to do with abuse, as if that were the same as horror.

Of all of the stories included, In the Forest Dark and Deep by Carrie Ryan was my absolute favorite, but certainly not because it was scary. In fact, it was kind of the opposite... While the Hare might have been a little unnerving, the story actually gave me the warm fuzzies and I was dying to read more! Other favorites were Sleepless by Jay Kristoff and The Flicker, The Fingers, The Beat, The Sigh by April Genevieve Tucholke. Neither of them was especially terrifying, but the former did creep me out and kept me guessing, while the latter was written in the lyrical prose I've come to love from this author.

While none of the stories included were terrible, none of them were terrifying either. Most of the selections for this anthology were pretty good, just not as horror, and that's what I was hoping to find in a horror anthology with a terrifying creature on the cover.