Review: Slasher Girls and Monster Boys
So, I totally picked this audiobook off the shelf because the cover totally caught my eye and the title latched me solid before I could move my eyes away. Absolutely couldn’t pass it up once I’d seen it, and I’m so glad that I read this one. Lots of potential in a title like that, don’t you think? Well, if you’re in for a little horror that is, and we’re usually game for that around here at EBR. And even though all of the stories weren’t exclusively about slasher girls and monster boys — there were, for instance, some slasher boys and some monster girls, heh heh — nearly all of the stories did a great job of staying true to the theme of the anthology.
SLASHER GIRLS AND MONSTER BOYS is an anthology of short stories assembled by April Genevieve Tucholke. I wasn’t familiar with her, but apparently she’s a fairly new YA author that has a few solid books under her publishing belt so far. And given the stories that she was able to pull together and choose for this anthology, it’s obvious that she knows something about story telling.
Nearly every single one of these stories was a well-crafted trip into nightmare. Honestly it kind of surprised me how great such a large majority of the stories were. I’m usually not a huge fan of YA, so even though I was excited to see what the anthology held, I was still somewhat hesitant because I didn’t want any whiney teenagers, cheesy setup, or hokey endings. Thankfully what I found in the large majority was beautiful tight writing, intensely personal characters, and stories that took me for a ride and a half. In addition, each of the multiple voice talents on the audio book did a great job of bringing each of the stories to life.
My rating breakdown for the stories was:
Didn’t Like: 3
Besides the few stories that I really didn’t care all that much for, my only real criticism was that even though all of the stories tended toward the speculative, I would have liked to see them more obviously speculative earlier on in the story. Then again, for one or two of them, I didn’t really care at all that the speculative stuff came in late because they were so amazingly good.
Here’s a bit from some of my favorites.
“The Birds of Azalea Street” by Ren Suma — A teenage girl lives next door to a man that tortures birds, until one day when they all leave. He’s also obsessed with taking pictures. The girl and her friends think he’s creepy. Then he shows up one night with a girl that looks like a hooker, but they take it upon themselves to warn the new girl about who she’s staying with. Bad idea.
“In the Forest Dark and Deep” by Carrie Ryan — An uber-creepy spin off of Alice in Wonderland with the white rabbit playing the part of a serial killer. The ending was a little telegraphed, but it was seriously good. Great atmosphere.
“Fat Girl with a Knife” by Jonathan Mayberry — This one was so brilliant. A self-declared fat girl gets picked on at school by another “popular” girl. The fat girl learns to fight back, and then brings a knife to school one day to slash a guy’s tires. Which just happens to be the day the world ends. Remember, this one IS written by Mayberry after all. 🙂
“M” by Stefan Backman — A blind girl deals with a murderer in the traditional, English, family-overrun house where she resides. Reminded me a bit of the film, Wait Until Dark. Brilliantly written. This was one of those where I didn’t care that the fantastical elements were very small and came in very late. So great.
“Stitches” by Ag Howard — This one was just so odd that I couldn’t help but love it. A girl is chopping off parts of her father that are offensive and selling them to a collector that pays her $10 for each part and then gives her a replacement, presumedly from someone else. All she has to do is stitch the replacement part back onto her father and it heals beautifully. Loosely-based on the Christian-bible teaching about plucking out your eye if it offends you. Was fun.
On the whole, I was quite pleasantly surprised with this one. If you’re looking for some good horror in the YA realm, this would be a great choice. I love getting into short stories like these because it gives me some good names to go chase when I’m looking for a good read later on.
Recommended Age: I wouldn’t give this to anything younger than a 15-year old. Period. Amazon says 12-17. Just eek.
Language: Mostly no, but there are a couple stories that get pretty strong.
Violence: Pretty strong. Especially for the suggested age range. Lots of death, some very personally so, and some fairly graphic mutilation
Sex: Again, mostly not, but in a few it gets ramped up pretty high and mixed with violence.
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