January 21, 2014

Discussion: A Lack of YA Horror?

Last summer, I was at Barnes & Noble perusing the YA section (always head there first!) when I happened to overhear a man asking an employee to help him find a YA horror novel for his teenage daughter's birthday present. After an unsuccessful search, she recommended a H.P. Lovecraft novel. He thanked her, and she left. I personally haven't read anything by H.P. Lovecraft, which I plan to since I believe he had a profound effect on today's horror, but my husband has warned me it isn't easy reading. 

The father looked as though he was unsure about buying the book, and I started talking to him, wanting to help him find something she might like better. I know if I were sixteen, I probably wouldn't be too enthusiastic about H.P. Lovecraft. I told him it isn't easy reading, then cursed myself because I just made it sound like I thought his daughter was an idiot. I quickly said I meant that it reads a lot differently than horror novels we're used to today. I explained it's much more subtle and that even my husband said at times he struggled with the writing holding his attention. 

He said he knew I didn't mean anything by what I had said at first (whew!), and we started looking in YA again. I suggested many different books that were as close to horror as I could find, one of those being ANNA DRESSED IN BLOOD. To my horror (haha, pun intended), there was almost nothing at the store that could be considered horror to me. Maybe I'm wrong, but I struggled to find something awesome even though I had suggested a lot of books. Every book I recommended, he shot down, saying his daughter wouldn't like it. Not even ANNA DRESSED IN BLOOD!!! O.O

I wasn't offended, just frustrated because I wanted to help sooo much and put my knowledge of YA to good use! So...what got me thinking about all of this? A blitz I'm posting tomorrow for THE APPEAL OF EVIL by Pembroke Sinclair - the author has written honest-to-goodness YA horror novels that are going on my TBR. I didn't really end up helping him unfortunately. I can't remember if he ended up picking out something or not. Maybe he got her a gift card? Always a good idea if you aren't sure what to pick up a bookworm. 

There aren't enough YA horror novels out there in my opinion. While zombies definitely belong in the horror genre, I'd also love to see horror novels without zombies. I want the kind of horror like Stephen King, Peter Straub, in YA form. It'd be so cool to read about haunted houses, ghosts, and other freaky stuff that will scare the pants off of me! LOL 

I miss Christopher Pike books SO much. I'm not sure he's written anything recently, but I've collected most of the books of his I grew up reading. My favorites are Witch, Whisper of DeathMonster, and Road to Nowhere. WITCH makes me cry every time - there's a particular scene that is so sweet and so sad, no matter how many times I've read this book, the tears are brought out immediately. The same for my sister, and sometimes I'm convinced the girl has a heart of stone, lol. 

What do you guys think? Is there a lack of YA horror? Do you have any titles to recommend that I may be missing? 


  1. I must admit to never really getting into the horror genre. Dark fantasy is the closest I get. There seems to be a lot of that, though not nearly as dark as Ursula K LeGuin was, or Michael Moorcock. I would recommend Moorcock to your young reader. He also wrote horror.

    1. I love dark fantasy, too. Thank you, Greg, for the recommendation - I'll check out his books. Now I'd love to see the father in the store again so I can tell him, too. :)

  2. Hm...YA Horror. I have more that I need to read, but here's my take on a few:

    Witch World is Christopher Pike's latest release. It's not that good. Too much info-dump and the dialogue is stilted, but it got better as the book went along, so I think that the sequel might be worth it.

    The Hallowed Ones by Laura Bickle -- authentic Amish setting/characters with a vampire/zombie hybrid twist

    Rot and Ruin by Jonathan Maberry -- more survival than zombie and from a male POV

    Anna Dressed in Blood -- scary ghost, but could have been scarier IMO, still good for people who like horror

    Reboot -- this is a book about zombies, but reads more like a dsytopian thriller, good for cross-genre people

    The Troop -- good for those who like gory horror

    I've been on a historical fiction kick lately, so been ignoring the horror books on my shelf. I'll get onto them. Got Something Strange and Deadly, Ashes, Lockdown, Quarantine, and a few more...damn, need more time to read.

    1. That's too bad about Witch World. I'll still try it. It's strange that I love Christopher Pike so much yet have given two stars to about half of the books of his that I've read. Is Witch World the sequel or the first book? Have you read the ones I mentioned above? I really enjoy those.

      The Hallowed Ones plot sounds familiar, but the title and author don't. Maybe the one I'm thinking of is just Amish vampires? The Hallowed Ones sounds good to me - I'm checking it out.

      I have the first three books of the Rot and Ruin series and just haven't had time yet to read them. So here's a funny story! My husband read the first one and enjoyed it, so I bought the next two. He was with me when I bought them, and he freaked when he saw they came from the YA section. He isn't allowed to take anything electronic into the office (he works for an attorney), including a Kindle. He takes books with him to read at lunch, so anything he wants to read at work, we buy paperback or hard cover because of the whole no Kindle thing. He isn't afraid to take a Buffy the Vampire Slayer book to work but doesn't want to be seen with YA books in general. WTF?? LOL

      Anna Dressed in Blood! Yes! My husband said he might read it, and I didn't tell him it's YA. ;) Looking forward to Reboot, too. The sad thing is, I can't remember if I have a copy of it. I get the cover mixed up with Proxy, which I do have. The Troop - god, these are all books I've been wanting to read for forever so I really need to have a marathon soon! I'm behind. All of the books you mentioned, Something Strange and Deadly...Ashes..., are ones I want to read as well. Thanks so much, Lizzy!! :D


Leave a comment and make my day awesome! :D This is an award-free zone - thanks for your consideration though!