All posts tagged YA

Cornered: 14 Stories of Bullying and Defiance

Published July 13, 2016 by Shadow Girl

 ‘It does not necessarily take a fist to create a punch in the gut.’


‘This fourteen-story YA fiction anthology delves into the experience of being bullied—socially, emotionally, physically, psychologically, and sexually. The school hallways, walks home, and house walls are no longer the boundaries for intimidation and harassment. With the rapid-fire response time of social media and smartphones, bullying has lost all limits, and the lines among truth, lies, and real accountability have become blurred.’

Cornered includes works from

Rhoda Belleza, Kirsten Miller, Mayra Lazara Dole, Matthue Roth, Sheba Karim, Kate Ellison, Jennifer Brown,Brendan Halpin, Jamie Adoff, Elizabeth Miles, David Yoo, James Lecesne, Josh Berk, Lish McBride, Zetta Elliott

I originally had this shelved on Goodreads as ‘ya-general’, but I had to add it to my ‘ya-horror’ shelf as well. ‘Cornered’ is pretty far out of my genre comfort zone, but it horrified me on a different level.

I’ve read a lot of (IMHO) outstanding fictional books about bullying –
THE 8th by Matt Shaw, JEREMY by Matt Hickman, MY BEAUTIFUL SUICIDE by Atty Eve,  RAGE by Stephen King, and most recently RAGE by Kimberly A. Bettes. (just to name a few). I think ‘Cornered’ hurt a little deeper because the stories lacked the gratifyingly bloody revenge from the victim(s).

I have the outline prepared, so BOLO for full review & author info. 


I came across an article I posted in 2013 when I searched for keyword word ‘bully’, and I want to share it again now. Please check it out when you have the time.



Published March 25, 2015 by Shadow Girl

Elrod Mc Bugle is just trying to stay out if trouble, and survive his first year at Greenwater Junior High. Too bad LIFE keeps getting in the way.

A comedy for kids . . . and adults who were warped as kids!

ElrodMcB.Cover Pic

This needs to be a movie. No, wait… a SERIES of movies, like the one’s based off of the Diary of a Wimpy Kid books, but funny 😉 (only kidding).
Movies or books – the world needs more Elrod McBugle.

Elrod McBugle is a normal kid, with a normal family, and normal friends. Things just have a tendency to get weird when he’s involved.
It’s not his fault – it’s just harmless shenanigans gone awry. Like when he does his own science project on a science project, (along with that one friend who will lick just about anything), and it becomes a delicious, money-making [mis]adventure. Or when he interviews a teacher to investigate rumours about her being an axe murderer, and gets way more information than he ever wanted.
There’s also friendship, first-love, a bully, and insane squirrels.

I’m a horror junkie – we all know this. But, I am really enjoying Jeff Strand’s young adult books! Like I’ve said before – it’s up to us to help raise the next generation of horror lovers correctly. Introduce your spawn to Jeff’s writing now, and soon the day will come…
That perfect moment…
You present your child with your original copy of Dead Clown BBQ…
…and they smile.

Elrod McBugle on the LooseAmazon, Goodreads, and Gleefully Macabre


Published March 22, 2015 by Shadow Girl

Henry Lambert, a self-proclaimed geek, but definitely not a wuss, sits and watches the worst You-Tube video ever produced. His dad, on the other hand, thinks the exact opposite.
Two weeks at Strongwoods Survival Camp could be a life changing experience for his son. But Harry… he has a very bad feeling about it.

Bad Feeling.Cover

This book has all the snark of Jeff Strand, without the swearing, horror, or blood. That’s because it’s one of the YA titles available from this author, but don’t let that scare you away. I recommend it to everyone, regardless of age.

His previous novel for young adults was A BAD DAY FOR VOODOO, which was called “The greatest book ever written in the entire history of human existence,” by somebody, somewhere.

I think it would have been a neat concept if this adventure were experienced by a young Andrew Mayhem! Two weeks at survival camp with his best friend Roger, and a love-at-first-sight meeting with a girl named Helen from a neighboring camp – tell me that wouldn’t be awesome!

Even in a witty YA book about some very indoorsy kids spending two weeks at a survivalist camp, the author had to throw in an emotional smack upside my head. I swear, at one point during every single book of Jeff’s that I read – I put the book down on my lap, look at my husband (sometimes with tears, sometimes just pouting), an tell him that I’ll be sending a very strongly worded e-mail to Jeff. Then he says “who’s Jeff?”, followed by our favorite tv commercial quote…“he sounds hideous.”

Don't just survive - SurThrive!

Don’t just survive – SurThrive!

25 WILDERNESS SURVIVAL TIPS! are included throughout the book. Helpful hints to not just survive the deep, dark woods – but to sur-thrive!
OK, no. Not really.
25 tips to help make you less of a wuss before you die?
Yeah, let’s go with that.

I will also be using the following quote whenever I need to sound like a bad-ass, (or in any event when conversation lags for more than 37 seconds).
“I killed a man just to finger-paint a picture of a duck with his blood.”
Suck-it Johnny Cash, this is WAY tougher. (Just kidding! Love me some JC ❤ )

I Have a Bad Feeling About This on Amazon
I Have a Bad Feeling About This on Goodreads
I Have a Bad Feeling About This on Gleefully Macabre

Read Across America Day ~ March 3, 2014

Published January 19, 2014 by Shadow Girl


Mark your calendars, and get ready to grab your hat and read with the Cat in the Hat on Monday, March 3, 2014 for the 17th annual Read Across America Day. The Seussical celebration will kick off a week of reading across the nation as NEA members gather students, parents, and community members together to share their love of reading.

The National Education Association’s Read Across America Day is the nation’s largest reading event, occurring each year on or near Dr. Seuss’ birthday (March 2nd).
Across the country, thousands of schools, libraries, and community centers participate by bringing together kids, teens, and books, and you can too!
Visit Seussville or the NEA for activities & ideas, to find ways that you can celebrate reading with young people, and information about receiving books by Dr. Seuss and many of your favorite authors for free or at significant discounts. You can find additional information on free and discounted books HERE.


Download the NEA’s Read Across America Activity Booklet

You don’t have to follow any set guidelines. Celebrate in a way that is unique to you & your spawn, any activity that encourages reading is a good one!
We’re raising & molding the next generation of horror lovers, so how can we incorporate this event with our love of the genre? (Be sure to share your ideas in the comments ❣)
I’m no expert, I’m just a gurl with a blog. Don’t scare the bejesus out of them with my twisted ideas! If you think that there is a chance something might be ‘too much’, it probably is – Reel it in.

Studies show that [most] kids who are read to – grow up to love reading.
THE MONSTER AT THE END OF THIS BOOK, (recommended ages: 2-3 yrs), is a great way to induct our young ones. (Baptism by fire never worked out well for anybody!) They’ve most likely already watched Sesame Street on PBS. Fuzzy & loveable Grover is the perfect “MONSTER” to begin with, and – you’ll get to read using Grover’s voice! Yay!

WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE is 50 years old, and still a bestseller for a reason! Young Max dons his wolf suit in pursuit of some mischief and his wild rampage leads him to the forest where the wild things are. For a lot of us, Sendak’s illustrations were our first ‘Monsters’. They can be creepy for a kid, not fluffy & cuddly like Pixar’s Monsters, INC. But, the wild things manage to be scary-looking without ever really being scary; at times they’re downright hilarious.
If this book backfired and had the complete opposite effect – a screaming & crying kid who wants to sleep with you, instead of a kid who wants a wolf suit – then grab a copy of WHERE THE WILD THINGS AREN’T. *Synopsis: “From wild things under the bed to monsters behind the closet door, children are often scared by what is cooked up in their imaginations. Where The Wild Things Aren’t strives to teach young children that many frightening situations they encounter are in fact nothing to worry about.”

Hello, everybodeee!

His mother called him ‘WILD THING!’

“There’s no monster under your bed sweetie! But, that thing in your closet… that’s fucked up! G’Night, baby – Love you!”

The GOOSEBUMPS books by R.L. Stine are recommended for Ages 8 – 12 (and up!). I still love these, but you can’t trust anyone’s opinion but your own – not for this series. There are a couple that STILL creep me the Hell out. I’m looking forward to trying the new-ish set,GOOSEBUMPS HORRORLAND.
✵ R.L. Stine: “I don’t really want to terrify kids,” he said. “I want them to have a really good time reading.”

Love Neil Gaiman? You’ll be happy to know that he’s written some outstanding YA books, too! Recommended ages 8 – 12, CORALINE is probably the most recognizable title. Showing a reluctant reader a book that is also a movie they love may encourage them.

I couldn’t possibly publish this post without mentioning the HARRY POTTER series, and THE HUNGER GAMES. Technically… more fantasy than horror, but elements of horror are strong enough to include them here. THE LION, THE WITCH, AND THE WARDROBE scared a few kids I knew – those witches are terrifying sometimes!!

Darren Shan‘s books are recommended for ages 12+ (Story coming…)
My neighbor’s daughter started reading the CIRQUE DU FREAK series, (I think she was around 13), and I read each book as she finished them. She would get a book on a Friday night, and give it to me when she went back to her mom’s on Sunday. I remember really liking them, and her dad read them after I did. We’d all be excited to discuss it when she came back on the following Friday. ::smiles:: I really love that. I remember her little sister (she was in preschool) couldn’t wait to learn to read – I need to check and see if she grew to have the same love of books that her sister & dad have. (Just curious.)
When she got a little older, (big sister, not little sister), and after reading the TWILIGHT SAGA, with a little nudging from me – her dad let her read the first few Anita Blake stories, and a couple Merry Gentry stories, before Laurell K. Hamilton started writing porn instead of horror.
This is the same time period that I read the *TWILIGHT books, too. (Don’t judge me!)
When reading the CIRQUE DU FREAK books, I remember the advertising in the back for Darren Shan’s DEMONATA series, and I wanted to try the first one out. If anyone has read those, leave me a comment, please? Let me know what you’re thoughts were.

The Holy Grail of all YA Horror is still SCARY STORIES TO TELL IN THE DARK, Volume 1, Volume 2, & Volume 3. If you’re lucky, you saved your old copies to pass along – because they’re no longer being sold with the original artwork. The drawings were what made these stories so terrifying!! ::shudders::

This is about when kids want to choose their own books, and nothing makes me happier than seeing kids shopping in book stores. That’s not saying that you can’t recommend books! Hopefully, by now, they’re trusting your bookish experience. The books I’ve talked about so far have been the more popular, better recognized titles. There are so many great indie authors that you can find on Amazon – the stories are usually better, and the prices are much more affordable!
MJ WARE has free & low cost YA Horror downloads available. MARISSA WOOD is a YA Horror author I adore – her stuff is like a YA version of Ed Lee! I found her through a (free) sale on Amazon, and have since read all but one of her available titles. (Reviews posted on the COVER TO COVER Review/Discussion Page) [If anyone knows her, please – put us in contact! I cannot find her, but would love to talk to her!] Alan Gandy, better known for his ‘children’s books for adults’, has a couple ‘children’s books for kids’ that I love – All I Want for Christmas Santa is You: A Zombie Children’s Book is recommended for, and reviewed by, ages 5 – 9+. Max and the Geeks, recommended for age 11+, is a fun & witty story about a group of sophomores who are fated to save the world when the zombies arrive. [I recommend this book highly, and suggest reading it with your kid – for fun.]
Jonathan Maberry has developed a YA-specific blog, It’s Scary Out There, to show how horror isn’t just one type of story.
I could continue naming authors & suggesting stories, but this post would be epic novel length!
These books are merely a jumping off point. A place to start, if you haven’t started already. If you would like more suggestions – leave a comment here, after the post, stating anything youre specifically interested in… what age group? any sub-genre interests? Whatever it is, if I can’t help – I’m sure that other members will have suggestions!!

* A few words on TWILIGHT
Being YA books, these are recommended for ages 12+
However, the Twilight series gets more mature as it goes along, and the author herself says that she didn’t write the books with younger readers in mind. The final book, Breaking Dawn, does have sexual situations, though the act is never described and it occurs between a married couple. NOW…
Forget that the movies exist. Forget every reason that you’ve sworn allegiance to the light.
When I heard whispers about this vampire story I hadn’t read yet, I decided to look into it. This was at the height of MySpace profiles, glittery gifs, and ♥ FLAIR ♥ – (I loved flair!) I searched Keyword: Twilight. My computer had a seizure. Long story short… when I read Twilight, I wanted to read it.

This is the cloud for the entire series. 4 books. FOUR!

This is the cloud for the entire series. 4 books. FOUR!

It’s a story about Bella Swan, a 17 year old girl, in a new town. When she starts her new school, she’s immediately drawn to mysterious senior Edward Cullen. They do the ritualistic HS mating dance, and fall truly, madly, deeply in love. But, he’s a vampire – she’s mortal. There are issues.
Eventually, there is more to the story. Bad guy enters, and then it really takes off.
If you can’t fall back into your high school self, when every trouble felt earth-shattering & true love leads to a heart-break with pain like none other… then this is probably not for you.
Hopefully – you can get past the sparkly, day-walker element.

To find more books, check out these links –


Horror in YA Lit is a Staple, Not a Trend: Great blog post from SCHOOL LIBRARY JOURNAL, includes many YA Horror titles – separated into categories / sub-genres

It’s Scary Out There: Jonathan Maberry’s YA specific blog is built around exploring the nature of horror and of fear, how that’s different for teens and adults, and why so many of today’s writers tackle that subject matter. The answers are always surprising. What we’re showing is that horror is different for each person.” Maberry also interviews Darren Shan.

Cliff McNish’s top 10 most frightening books for teenagers

Scary Book Lists on Goodreads: Lists broken down into groups by age

10 Children’s Books That Are (still) Frightening To Adults

P, L, & N ❤
~ sg

Grandma? by J.A. & Talon Konrath

Published January 1, 2014 by Shadow Girl

Grandma?Grandma? by J.A. Konrath
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

You know how hard it is for me to review short stories! I’m always afraid of posting spoilers. So, here’s a Short & Sweet review for a short story…

This is a very good, short, YA zombie story written by J.A.Konrath and Talon Konrath. Don’t skip the intro 🙂
Tense moments and some humor that got me to laugh out loud, I’d recommend to everyone – zombie fan or not.
This AS was a surprise to some ‘Konrath’ fans. Now that I think about it though…there are many adult horror authors who are taking part in short YA stories… let me get a list together for us – this should be a fun discussion!

(I read this on 12/3/13)

View all my reviews

Zombie Thanksgiving: A YA Paranormal Story

Published October 22, 2013 by Shadow Girl

Zombie Thanksgiving: A YA Paranormal StoryZombie Thanksgiving: A YA Paranormal Story by Rusty Fischer
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

It’s the Thanksgiving Holiday weekend at Parnassus Preparatory Academy for Troubled Adolescents, aka Paranoia Prep, and most of the students have gone home to spend it with their families. Except for Cassie.
It’s not revealed why Cassie has stayed behind, but it’s not important in this short story. If we meet her again, then I may have the urge to find out. She is startled when the Zombie Job Squad comes by her room to clean the floors. At first, she’s a snarky little teenager looking down her nose at the Zombie who comes to clean. But, when she realizes that he is not a slow, stupid, shambler – (he was injected with ‘the cure’ soon enough to not lose too much of his humanity) – but, a boy named Reggie who is just doing the best he can in his situation, she lightens up, and turns into a person I could stand reading about.
It is a neat short story. It explains why these zombies aren’t trying to eat them, so it makes sense, but isn’t too much to get boring or in the way of he story.
There is a little adventure, and thankfully no real romance. It’s not scary, either. If you’re a zombie mega-fan and are trying to get your daughter away from Twilight and into the Walking Dead – this is a great introduction.
I remember this author’s name. When I first found Smashwords, it was a name I remember seeing frequently – attached to vampire short stories.
So, all in all, it’s a good story. I’m only taking it down to a four star from a five star because, to me, it feels like it’s aimed at females more than a general audience. THAT’S NOT A BAD THING, it’s really not. I just didn’t get that feel from the cover. AND, REMEMBER, that is only MY opinion. A few of the YA Horror books I’ve blogged about… I told you to read the books yourself before handing over to your kids, because of the graphic violence. You can be comfortable handing this one right over without worrying. However,if there are follow up stories about Cassie & Reggie… there may be a relationship brewing, so if you’re concerned about that, peruse subsequent titles first.


Published September 26, 2013 by Shadow Girl

Scary MaryScary Mary by S.A. Hunter
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I read this before I started really searching for great YA Horror, but the book stood out to me even then. I believe I got it as a free download on Smashwords. If you’re searching for something to give to a future horror lover, this is a great ‘in-between’ read. What I mean is that it’s not too scary or disturbing for younger readers, but it’s not a childish ghost story, either.
I think this is one that is perfect to help you mould your future horror lover, a segue from R.L. Stine to Marissa Wood. You need to bring them over gently, can’t very well hand your kid a ghost story like THE SHINING and expect them to not wake up screaming for six months! (They do exist, those wonderful little horror readers who can read adult horror with the lights down low, but they’re few & far between.)
From doing a little research, I think that Neil Gaiman is going to be the ‘go-to’ segue author. “It takes a graveyard to raise a child…” But, I cannot say that with 100% certainty yet – I haven’t read ’em yet! I have read SCARY MARY, let’s get back to it, shall we?
Mary just wants to be left alone, but the cheerleaders, jocks, guidance counselors, and ghosts won’t stop harrassing her. When a new boy starts school, he surprises Mary by befriending her. That’s a rare thing for the school freak, but her unusual abilities put a rift in their budding friendship when Mary has to tell Cy that his home is haunted and not by Casper, the friendly ghost.
But it’s not the ghost that ruins the evening. That honor belongs to Vicky “The Hickey” Nelson with her borrowed Ouija board and stuck-up friends. They make Mary so angry that she uses the ghost to freak out everybody, Cy included. He orders her out, and Mary thinks she’s lost whatever chance she had with him. But there’s still the ghost to deal with. He’s mean, nasty, and possibly homicidal. She has to get rid of him or Cy and his family could be hurt. Or worse.
This book is still free on Amazon – and it has a nice, updated cover –
AND… there are more books in the series now! I gotta get them, I’m disappointed that I didn’t know already. Bad Blogger!
Stalking Shadows and Broken Spirits are both $2.99. Based on the first book, I’d say that’s fair – I’d call it a bargain if it gets the kids wanting more!!
You don’t have to be a YA to enjoy this, go download a copy!

View all my reviews

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