Slasher Girls and Monster Boys
by April Genevieve Tucholke
Publication Date: August 18, 2015
Length: 400 pages
Publisher: Dial Books
Obtained Via: Borrowed from the library
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A host of the smartest young adult authors come together in this collection of scary stories and psychological thrillers curated by Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea’s April Genevieve Tucholke.
Each story draws from a classic tale or two—sometimes of the horror genre, sometimes not—to inspire something new and fresh and terrifying. 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 supernatural creatures to unsettling, all-too-possible realism, this collection has something for any reader looking for a thrill.
We all know how anthologies go. You love some, you dislike some, and some are just okay. Slasher Girls and Monster Boys is much the same, though I did feel I loved more than I usually do and disliked less. I think any anthology is going to be a mixed bag by nature, but out of the YA anthologies I’ve read, this was one of the better ones. My thoughts on each story:
The Birds of Azalea Street by Nova Ren Suma
Nova Ren Suma is one of my favorite YA writers, and I’ve read *all* her novels(including the middle grade that rarely gets talked about). Her writing is just as gorgeous here, and I love her magical realism touches. I liked this story a lot, and the teen girl commentary is spot on, but I think possibly because I’ve read all of Nova Ren Suma’s writing before it didn’t feel like something really new. 4/5 stars.
In the Forest Dark and Deep by Carrie Ryan
This was a story with an Alice in Wonderland twist, and to be frank a lot of it went over my head. I don’t actually know the story of Alice in Wonderland that well, so I was confused and bored when reading. It’s a well-written story and quite creepy. . . just not for me. 2/5 stars.
Emmeline by Cat Winters
Okay I have never read anything by Cat Winters but now I MUST. This was indeed a short story(one of the shortest in the collection I think?), but I LOVED it. Set in WWI France(automatic win for me), bittersweet, haunting. . . it didn’t feel like a slasher story to me, but it WAS a ghost story and I loved it. 5/5 stars.
Verse Chorus Verse by Leigh Bardugo
Teen celebrity gets sent to rehab where things go bump in the dark. This story was entertaining enough, but I didn’t feel strongly on it one way or the other. It reminded me of the Supernatural episode in the insane asylum. 3/5 stars.
Hide-and-Seek by Megan Shepherd
Another favorite! This story is about a girl who makes a deal with death. If she escapes death for twenty-four hours, she gets to live. If not, she stays dead. The plot is classic cat-and-mouse, which means it’s always thrilling. There’s also a great friendship in the story that’s actually rather sweet despite all the death and chaos. 5/5 stars.
The Dark, Scary Parts and All by Danielle Page
I loved the basis in mythology, but there was too much reliance on high school tropes instead of actual character building. This one has a paranormal romance feel with the “bad boy” love interest, but I liked the ending enough that it was slightly redeemed for me. 3/5 stars.
The Flicker, The Fingers, the Beat, the Sigh by April Genevieve Tucholke
This story is very obviously based on I Know What You Did Last Summer, and. . . that’s about it. It did hit some good horror notes, even if I found the overall plot lackluster. I like Tucholke’s writing but felt this one lacked substance. 3/5 stars.
Fat Girl with a Knife by Jonathan Maberry
Zombies. I dislike zombie stories, so the fact I read all the way through this one says something! . . . I suppose. I guess it was inevitable that a horror collection had zombies. It wasn’t bad? That’s really all I can say. Not a whole lot actually happens. Probably my least favorite of the anthology. 2/5 stars.
Sleepless by Jay Kristoff
AHH this one was great! I saw some of the plot points coming, but it was creepy and the pacing was SPOT. ON. And there was a plot point I didn’t guess right away, so for awhile I was on the edge of my seat wondering what would happen next. Another 5/5 stars.
M by Stefan Bachman
A murder mystery with a large cast of characters. . . and the only witness is a blind girl. I feel like there’s only so many ways those types of murder mysteries can go, but it was well-written and the inclusion of the creepy rhymes definitely helped the atmosphere. 3/5 stars.
The Girl Without a Face by Marie Lu
Psychological thriller about a boy and a girl in a creepy, creepy closet. It *was* definitely creepy, but I didn’t feel it was all that surprising as far as psychological thrillers go. Liked it, but it didn’t make a strong impression. 3/5 stars.
A Girl who Dreamed of Snow by McCormick Templeman
This is the only story I didn’t finish. It wasn’t bad, but it didn’t grab my attention. . . which is not a good sign in a short story collection. There’s less time for a build-up in a short story so I want to actually *get* to the story right away. No rating.
Stitches by A.G. Howard
There is definitely some actual slashing going on in this story. Gory and creepy story about a family, a tragedy, secrets, and revenge. Scalpels make an appearance. 4/5 stars.
On the I-5 by Kendare Blake
The premise of this one reminded me a LOT of Shallow Graves by Kali Wallace, which is great because I love that book. I love girls getting vengeance stories and turning tropes on their head, so I liked this one. It was straightforward so I would have loved a bit more of a thrill, but I still enjoyed it. 4/5 stars.
When I averaged all my ratings, I came out with 3.5., which is right around where I end up on this anthology: better than average, with a few disappointments but also a few hits. I would definitely read some of the stories in this anthologies again(obviously any that I gave 5 stars, but I think Cat Winters’ is my overall favorite). 3.5. is a good rating, but I have mostly positive associations with this anthology, so I rounded up to 4/5 stars.