Review--Slasher Girls & Monster Boys edited by April Genevieve Tucholke

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.







I find myself starting to read my “scary” reads early! What can I say, I hate waiting! The anthology Slasher Girls and Monster Boys edited by April Genevieve Tucholke compiled 14 stories sure to delight and fright readers! From the 14 authors, I’ve read seven previous and intentions to start another of the author’s series. So I was already invested with some of these author’s works. The rest were new to me, but still rather enjoyable. And like with any anthology, I’m going to quickly break the stories down one after another. Because really, that’s how I would want to read a review over an anthology that I might considering reading!

Feel free to pick and choose only particular mini reviews to read as well, but really this whole anthology was pretty wild! I really liked it! What was even more fun was learning which horror movies or stories inspired the authors to write their own tale. Some I recognized, some I didn’t and only a small handful were of ones I actually watched, because, yeah, I’m a chicken when it comes to horror movies! LOL!

The Birds of Azalea Street by Nova Ren Suma

Figuring out which movies this one was based off was pretty easy, but still fun nonetheless. Tasha and her friends have always known that Tasha’s neighbor, Leonard was a downright creepy dude. Always watching the girls as they walked around the neighborhood and such, hearing the camera snap as they walk by. Even the birds in the neighborhood stopped coming to his feeders after some incidents.

Then Tasha and her friends notice a woman coming into the house with Leonard one night and determined to save her from the creepy man, the girls try to warn her about the danger she is unknowingly in. But things get weird as the story moves along, but I like to think I grasped some of those hidden secrets about. It was a pretty good story too!

Rating 4.5/5 stars


In the Forest Dark and Deep by Carrie Ryan

Carrie wrote a pretty creeptastic story here! One that still left me puzzled by the end, but it was still fabulously told! Cassidy has always loved playing in the woods in a secret little spot of hers where she once had tea parties, much like Alice did in Wonderland. The March Hare even makes an appearance.

Like LITERALLY makes an appearance!

The story gets told through flashbacks to her time as a child at seven years old and in the current time at seventeen years old. There was a pretty gruesome incident that happened years ago when she was seven and it seems that history is bound to repeat itself again in the current time.

I guess what confused me the most, was not being able to understand if what we were seeing was really happening or if there was some psychological twist I wasn’t sure I was reading about. All in all, a pretty creepy read if a bit puzzling.

Rating 4/5 stars


Emmeline by Cat Winters

This one was pretty freaky too! Emmeline is a young girl trapped in her room, longing to find someone to love and love her in return. Then one night, as her family was housing soldiers, she had a rather intriguing conversation with a young soldier. Although, it’s halfway through the story that we get a surprising twist added to the mix. While I could guess it in part and the thereafter, I was a bit puzzled with not grasping why the soldier seemed to know, and then yet didn’t? It had a few more shocks and twists to it in the end, but it was still a pretty chilling story!

Rating 4/5 stars


Verse Chorus Verse by Leigh Bardugo

This one was probably one of the most weirdest ones out of the bunch. And in a good way, yet not completely satisfying way. Jaycee is a young rising singer and after an accident and drugs goes to rehab. It gets told through Kara’s point of view in the present time, which is Jaycee’s mom and then what happened in the rehab center by Jaycee.

It was a little confusing switching back and forth, but then one night Kara gets a terrifying phone call from Jaycee begging to come home. But later all is forgotten, and Jaycee seems to love the rehab place.

I never quite grasped what was going on with this creepy clinic, but it was obvious from the getgo that something wasn’t right with this place. I wish there could’ve been clearer answers, but the mystery and downright eeriness definitely makes up for it!

Rating 4/5 stars


Hide-and-Seek by Megan Shepherd

Annie is a young teen that is murdered by her stepfather. She knows this upon waking as a ghost. Then Crow Cullom comes to take her to meet her final end, but Annie isn’t ready to go and knowing her lore about Crow Cullom challenges him or Death really, to a game of her choosing to win back her soul/life. The game is hide-and-seek and she must survive the game in 24 hours or else Death will claim her.

But trouble is bound to find Annie everywhere she goes and it takes everything she has to stay one step head of Death because he is hunting her at every turn. The ending was pretty chilling too, but I was able to surmise what would happen by the clues laid out for us and I was delighted to find I was right! LOL!

Rating 5/5 stars


The Dark, Scary Parts and All by Danielle Paige

Marnie is the smart girl, and woefully unpopular. She is bullied constantly by the whole school it seems, led by the most popular and vindictive cheerleader of them all.

Then there is Damien who seems to actually see her, though Marnie is hesitant to trust his generosity as she’s been hurt before countless of times. Marnie starts to have rather weird, terrifying and vivid dreams. Some that even involve Damien. The ending was kinda of surprising, yet I was able to guess it’s movie basis even though I never saw it. Though it was still revealed in an interesting way!

Rating 5/5 stars


The Flicker, The Fingers, The Beat, The Sigh by April Genevieve Tucholke

Theo, his girlfriend, Scout, his sister, Grace and her boyfriend, Asher are driving down the road one night headed to a party discussing horror movies when suddenly they hit a girl who had been walking alongside the road.

There were some intriguing twists to this one. And while it was clear what movies were used as inspiration, I really liked their combo. Even though I never saw either! The ending was both the heartbreaking and yet satisfying kind!
  
Rating 5/5 stars


Fat Girl with a Knife by Jonathan Mayberry

This one involved yet another bullied teen, who was overweight. Though she wasn’t one to take the bullying lightly. She fought back and I did love that about Dahlia! I mean what she did with the dog poop and the mean girl was just classic! LOL!

What I wasn’t expecting to see from this story was a zombie apocalypse! And that’s where I will leave things!

Rating 3/5 stars


Sleepless by Jay Kristoff

Justin recently has been chatting with a girl online. He really likes her, yet knows his overbearing mother might not approve of her. As she is his “special boy”. But when it seems clear that the mystery girl likes him too, they both decide a meet is necessary.

It’s when the meet is in action that things get really creepy. Creepy in a terrifyingly good way! It was pretty freaky, yet the ending was a total twisted shock and I absolutely loved that too!

Rating 5/5 stars


M by Stefan Bachman

Misha is the daughter of an earl and after he died, she was passed along from family member to family member in order for her to be taken care of. Misha is blind and is seen as useless. Though when she happens upon a dead body in her home during a party, and runs into the actual murderer things take a terrifying turn.

Despite his warnings and threats, she’s determined to uncover who he really is and turn him into the police detectives at the house. Though the killer is smart and cunning. He always seems to be one step ahead of her.

Once again, I wasn’t at all familiar with these particular horror movies used as inspiration for this story. The mystery element was good though, but I felt a loss at what was the creep factor of it all besides the murder mystery element itself.

Rating 3/5 stars


The Girl Without a Face by Marie Lu

Yet another positively creepy read! The stories that tend to involve a "faceless" being have always terrified me. (No Face Zombie, anyone? Seriously, anyone know what that's from? *grins*) I'm not even sure where it stems from. I guess because there's no face, it's just all the more terrifying than red glowing eyes, razor sharp teeth, and any other horrifying feature. What you can't see has always terrified me more than what you can see.

Marie scares the you know what out of me right from the beginning when Richard and his parents move into a new house and for some odd reason, his closet door won't open. So he changes room, and then not too long later, this closet door won't open! Now why you would keep trying to open said closet is beyond me! But Richard soon starts having nightmares, ones that involve a girl with pale hair that he always sees from behind. He never sees her face.

There's some more back story that starts to tie into what Richard is seeing. And it's just freaking creepy! Closets have usually freaked me out more than what's under the bed, because closets just seem darker! I really liked how the incident from Richard's past tied into this horrifying experience of his. And the ending was definitely another one that just left me with chills! I guess my only complaint was some of the revelations. It was drawn out almost too good, to the point where I still couldn't quite puzzle things together.

Rating 4.5/5 stars


A Girl Who Dreamed of Snow by McCormick Templeman

This was yet another one of the odder ones. I had read McCormick's book last year and found it to be just sort of so-so. So I was wondering what I would find within this story. It's definitely another of the more complicated stories. But it's one that's steeped with history and myth.

Here we have a young girl, woman? named Nara who's on a journey to her father. Though the why of it all never really gets said. Then there's Mowich who's apart of a tribe whose women were dying because of a disease and lack of cure available, so he and other tribe members have taken to kidnapping women and selling them for profits. Mowich, though is one of the nicer guys. He doesn't really like what he has to do, but he is trying to save his sister who is suffering from said disease. Then there's a hunter in the woods and you never really know if he's bad or good.

There's danger in these woods, but there's so many things we don't know about all these characters. It definitely has an intriguing end, but it's still one that puzzles me. Much like M. Night Shyamaln's movies, where you think you have things solved, then there's just that one last piece of info that you can't fit into the puzzle, yet it clearly belongs somewhere! Lol.

Rating 3/5 stars


Stitches by A.G. Howard

This one was clearly a Frankenstein inspired story from the getgo, yet it definitely has some surprising twists. Sage, Clover, and Oakley are siblings and they live with their neglectful and sometimes abusive father. After their mother disappeared one stormy night, their lives had been irrevocably changed.

Then after returning from prison one night, their father claims he met a doctor who promised him he could change. By replacing the bad with good. And since there was a payout involved, the father agreed. He trades his "evil" body parts for good ones, ones that came from a good person.

There was quite a mysterious twist that came in at the end that helped to make things clear. Though it was more sort of an "oh" kind of revelation, it was still surprising in some ways. Just not the jaw dropper I had been hoping for. It still has some dark and twisted moments though and yeah, maybe some cringing!

Rating 3.5/5 stars


On the I-5 by Kendare Blake

This was yet another puzzling story, possibly because I wasn't familiar with the movie inspirations, but I was able to make some surmises, I just wasn't sure if I was right or not!

EmmaRae is a strange girl. Something bad happened to her, but it's not clear until later what. And in the meantime she is looking for a particular somebody to exact her revenge. Though clear answers are never given. I guess what I need to do is watch these unfamiliar horror movies then re-read these few stories to get a better understanding of things. But then again, they were only used for inspiration!

This one still had some creepy vibes and a nice vindicated ending to it, but again, there was still a bit of mystery and questions to the ending as well!

Rating 3.5/5 stars


All in all this was a pretty creepy compilation of stories! Some were downright terrifying, others more puzzling than that. But it was still a delightfully freaky read!!


Overall Rating 4/5 stars





5 comments:

  1. Sounds like loads of the stories were pretty great! I really need to get me this one for Halloween reading for sure!!

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  2. I AM WITH YOU REGARDING VERSE CHORUS VERSE. I was getting into, loving the creepy vibe and POV/time changes and then it just ended, and I had no idea what to make of it. Sleepless was my absolute favorite <3

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  3. I do fancy reading this one but possible not at night time!!

    Heather | Random Redheaded Ramblings

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  4. I've been really looking forward to this anthology so I'm pleased to hear it's good! I'm going to save it for Halloween to up the creepy feeling! haha. Great review :)

    -- Nicola Reads YA

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  5. Okay, so I just noticed this post and now I'm excited!! I've only read the first three stories so far and, while I've only loved one of them (the Alice inspired one) I'm super excited to read the rest. So far I haven't been very frightened by any of them, to be honest... The Alice in Wonderland story actually seemed kind of sweet. Maybe I'm weird. It seems like you really enjoyed it though!! I'm hoping to finish it soon! Great review!

    Tracy @ Cornerfolds

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