Thursday, April 4, 2013

Over the past year or so, I've heard a lot about the Horror genre slowly creeping in to YA Lit.  I'm not bringing up trends again, I promise, but I've really been looking for a way to talk about some darker books.

I Hunt Killers (Jasper Dent, #1)Last year, one of my favorites was I Hunt Killers by Barry Lyga.  If I hadn't read and loved one of his previous novels (The Astonishing Adventures of Fan Boy and Goth Girl), I might not have gone for it.  I'm not a huge fan of serial killer narratives...never watched Hannibal Lector bully Clarice...to date I've read only one Stephen King novel.  Scary movies and scary books tend to...scare me.  And I'd much prefer to laugh.

Game (Jasper Dent, #2)That isn't to say that I can't appreciate good storytelling when I see it.  And I Hunt Killers was one of those reads for me.  Yeah, it completely creeped me out, but not unbearably.  In fact, the main story is  about the son of a notorious serial killer and how he's trying to deal with everything that comes after his father is imprisoned.  And when dead bodies show up, he he has to convince the town that it isn't him, picking up where his father left off. That's compelling stuff.  Matched with Lyga's prose and you've got a seriously good book.  The sequel is coming out very soon...and despite my hesitations about the scary, I'm going to have to get it.  (I did snag a short story pre-quel and preview of The Game, which helped put me back in that mind frame.  So good!)

The Marbury Lens (The Marbury Lens, #1)I don't even know what force drove me to pick up a copy of Andrew Smith's The Marbury Lens.  I remember people talking about this book a few years ago and it's always been on my radar.  What piqued my interest was the main story about a boy who can see into an alternate world with a pair of purple glasses.  That's just quirky enough to get me obsessed.  Of course that world--Marbury--is in turmoil.  It's hellish, and really painful to experience.  And yet the main character (and me) can't resist going back.  The scenes in Marbury are really intense and incredibly described.  The story hasn't left my mind--much like those who happen to own the glasses that see into Marbury.  The characters are run through a gamut of horror, and yet, I feel like this dark stuff is so important to fictionalize.

What is it about horror that draws us to it?

I love a story that gets me thinking about the human experience (I mean, that's a requirement, honestly).  And Horror gives us a place to discuss the uncomfortable, and that's really important.  Especially to people who have, unfortunately, experienced horrors of their own.

14 comments:

Rebecca @ Crunchings and Munchings said...

Yay, horror! The Marbury Lens is one of my all-time favorites (really, everything Andrew Smith writes I love). I totally agree—there is just something about that little twinge of horror that keeps me coming back for more.

Mary @ BookSwarm said...

I am *not* a fan of horror, though I do have some horror stories that I've seriously enjoyed. However, a lot of my students (high school) seem to go out of their way to read it. *shudders* Just not my thing but at least I can recommend some good ones for them!

Bookworm1858 said...

I don't really think of myself as a horror fan but I have read a few books that might be classified as such since I started blogging. Anything that is well-written and gets buzz intrigues me and tempts to pick it up.

Sarah Wedgbrow said...

@Rebecca...Andrew Smith=amazing. His next one, WINGER, looks fantastic, and already has three starred reviews. Looking forward to that one. I think he writes with such respect to character that it's not too much to handle. And I really appreciate that. :)

@Mary...it's not my go-to genre, but both of these authors are excellent. Glad we could rec some, and Thanks for your insights.

@Bookworm...yes, if the writing is good, I will read it!! A good story trumps genre every time.

Kristan Hoffman said...

So far I haven't gotten too much into the horror/thriller side of YA... but I have been wanting to check out Emma Carlson Berne's books, and I'll definitely pick up Stephanie Perkins's "Scream-esque" thriller when it comes out in 2014 (I think).

Lauren Elizabeth said...

I'm a big fan of horror, and absolutely loved I Hunt Killers. I really need to read The Marbury Lens; I keep hearing amazing things about it. Great topic!

Sarah Wedgbrow said...

@Kristan...thanks for weighing in. I forgot about Stephanie Perkins' next work!! Yes, definitely picking it up.

@Lauren...so glad you enjoyed I Hunt Killers. It really is excellent. The Marbury Lens similarly stays in your mind. Really haunting. I want to read Cat Winters' In The Shadow of Blackbirds next, but I think it's more gothic than horror. Close cousins. :) Thanks for commenting!

Kim (YA Asylum) said...

I love horror. I'd rather be scared than laugh, so that's probably why. There's something about the creepy and its inability to leave my mind even after I stop reading it (or watching a movie) that I love. Even though it deprives me of sleep sometimes. It just sticks with me, and I adore that.

I was a Laini Taylor book signing not too long ago (well, it was December, so I guess that was a while ago) and she said that horro just might be a new trend in YA (maybe not the trend, I've heard contemporary YA is right now). She had a lot of authors friends that just sold some thriller/slashers to some major publishing houses. So who knowns. In my opinion, there's not enough horror out there. Good horror at least. I'm more the psychological scare fan than the blood and gore. Like The Shining or Mothman's Prophecies not Chainsaw Mascare.

Great post!

Sarah Wedgbrow said...

@Kim...thanks so much for commenting. First of all, completely jealous you got to attend a Laini Taylor signing!! Dude. One day we'll get out to the West Coast per'aps.
Funnily enough, the Stephen King novel that I DID read was The Shining. Completely amazing. I could probably re-read it every year. And I'm with you on *good* horror challenging the brain. And those scary emotions/thoughts sticking with you after the story is finished. Powerful stuff.

chelleyreads said...

i haven't really read much horror recently. when i was in high school i loved "horror" and devoured those fear street books by r.l. stein and ones by christopher pike. will definitely check out your recs :)

University of Phoenix said...

I have to say i am very impressed with the way you efficiently website and your posts are so informative.
University of Phoenix

iLuvReadingTooMuch said...

I've heard a ton of the I HUNT KILLERS series, and it sounds so good! Thank you so much for sharing :D

Sarah Wedgbrow said...

@chelley...thanks for commenting! Hope you enjoy our picks. xx

@universityofphoenix...i have to say, i am not impressed with how you efficiently spam. I am impressed with yo mama.

@iLuvReading...SO good and completely stays in your head in such a creepy way. Read eet (now we're in your head).

Cicely said...

I love horror! Which is really weird because I can't watch horror films at all... But scary books - I can't get enough of them! Not read any of the books you mentioned in this post, but you've seriously convinced me to read I Hunt Killers! Great post :)

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Stephanie, Ingrid, Sarah & Kristan — we read, write, discuss and celebrate Young Adult lit.


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