Tag Archives: YA

Bart Simpson is correct.

34. When Darkness Calls – Janet E. Gill

As Bart Simpson once said, “All the best bands are affiliated with Satan.” And like most things, the Simpsons writers are correct about this. But, Janet wants her reader to assume that being affiliated with Satan is equivalent to being affiliated with Nazis by casually incorporating the swastika into random situations where they only needed to be present if these teen Satanists were also white supremacists…and considering their group was multiethnic, they were not white supremacists. The not-Nazi religions and groups that used that symbol and slightly different versions of it prior to its co-opting for racist bullshit were not and are not Satanic (it’s just really hard to picture any type of Buddhists caring about Satan, amongst other reasons this made no sense), so it’s being used as a lazy shortcut to these black wearing teens being evil and frankly, saying they’re Satanists who wear Baphomet pendants to school is enough to lazily do that.

This book was essentially Don’t Make Me Go Back, Mommy, teen edition, but even that ridiculous, debunked, horrorshow of a children’s book warning about teachers and daycare and rabbits (it’s the rabbits that should’ve tipped everyone off, clearly, but maybe also the capes) didn’t equivocate Satanists and white supremacists like shorthand for being seriously evil. Like really, really, really evil, you guys. They smoke pot and encourage this poor new girl who wants to get in her new school’s student government to cheat on her boyfriend, but with Peter Drake and his magical disappearing car, not just Satan. They also force her to go to a heavy metal concert! She wears white and pink to a heavy metal concert! What a rebel, she’s just a Satanist of the individualist type and doesn’t even know it. And then gets fake chicken blood all over her outfit – which, yeah, that’s not cool. I hate it when there’s sticky shit at any concert, because the floor is already sticky, we don’t need more mess and definitely don’t need to endure music we don’t like to fit in and “give us [the awfully pushy Satanists who apparently never saw the Indiana Jones films that make it clear the goals of the WWII Nazis were not to eat chips, smoke pot, worship Satan, listen to shit music, and rule a high school] a chance.” The horror of what one does to be allowed to fundraise and go on the class trip to DC.

Finny, the antichrist of my home, says those teens were always going to peak in high school anyway.

Mixtape:

1. A Witch Stole Sam – Mark Korven
2. Sinners – The Cramps
3. N.I.B. – Black Sabbath
4. I Hear Satan – Dax Riggs
5. Am I Demon – Danzig
6. Louis Cyphre – Burning Tapes
7. I’m the Devil – Electric Six
8. Demons from Hell – Ice Dragon
9. Amaranth – Windhand
10. Kill You – Dethklok
11. Hel Vete – Finntroll
12. Fire Fire (Live) – Motorhead
13. Black Mass – Electric Wizard
14. The Hooves of My Lord – Ice Dragon

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You have died of exposure.

42. Driver’s Dead – Peter Lerangis

Move into a new house and there’s a dead kid in the closet. Geez. At least he’s not literally in the closet, but, learning to drive and navigate a new town is bad enough without all that moaning about his untimely death and whatnot…although maybe if Kirsten wasn’t accepting help from the creepers responsible for said untimely death he might not have as much reason to haunt her closet and fliers and help her find his floppy disk-based diary so she can learn more secrets that will scare her into helping him out with his unfinished business.

Sorry, little Crumples, no one could teach you how to drive in any of the three towns you lived in because you were always too short with no forward vision.

Mixtape:

1. World In My Eyes – Depeche Mode
2. Always Crashing in the Same Car – David Bowie
3. The First Vietnamese War – The Black Angels
4. Phantom of the Motorway – The Mangled Dead
5. Hate Breeders – The Misfits
6. No Class(Live) – Motorhead
7. Bowels of the Beast – The Raveonettes
8. Into the Void – Black Sabbath
9. Mess of Wires – METZ
10. The Wretched – Nine Inch Nails
11. Carrion Flowers – Chelsea Wolfe
12. Way Abandon – Repeated Viewing
13. Surrender – The Duke Spirit
14. Walk Between the Lines – Witchcraft
15. Red Eyes and Tears – Black Rebel Motorcycle Club

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“Shattering! Shivering! Shocking!”

37. Fan Mail – Nicole Davidson

Acting! Rivalry! Obsession! This was a fun read, if you ignore the descriptions of Randi and a few other things. Chris, the not at all stuck up actress and her plump, plain, supportive best friend Randi (see), get to hang out sometimes – but Chris has always been focused on her career and Randi’s always been able to accept and understand that. Now if only she could get a boyfriend. It’ll be hard now that she’s the lead in a horror film shooting in her hometown. She’s the lead, and her rival with a stage mother from hell isn’t.

And there is this one guy who has a bunch of pictures of her in his locker – pictures he took, pictures he cut out of the newspaper, but he’s not obsessive or anything, he has to wrestling championships to think about. If only those creepily obsessive photographs could lead to something… Well, they will, a misunderstanding of epic proportions and more creepy behavior. I’m in this tree outside your window, Chris, it’s totally normal and I’ll help you find the person trying to scare you with answering machine messages, blood on your mirror, and not drilling holes in that coffin you have to stay in for long enough to hyperventilate.

I’m beginning to find movie sets a very suspect location for teenagers. Some of them just can’t be professional and assume threats are just a PR stunt.

Salem has his best friend the T-Rex to protect him, so, he’d be cool on film. Hire him, the 90s.

Mixtape:

1. Young Pros – Bass Drum of Death
2. Out of Line – The Bravery
3. I Am the Sun – Swans
4. You Don’t Know Me – The Butthole Surfers
5. LA Venice Bitch 80s – Carpenter Brut
6. Venom – Dance with the Dead
7. Posed to Death – The Faint
8. Grey Areas – Electric Six
9. Super Goo – The Cramps
10. Leave Me Alone – The Butthole Surfers
11. Evil La Girls – The Raveonettes
12. Rival – Black Rebel Motorcycle Club
13. Turbo Killer – Carpenter Brut
14. High School Roaches – Bass Drum of Death
15. Scrape – Chelsea Wolfe
16. Night Walks – Black Mountain
17. Close Your Eyes – Edward Bear
18. Forever the End – Burning Tapes

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There should be a conversation heart that says, “No.”

11. Be Mine – Jane McFann

You didn’t notice me in class and I like you, therefore I will scare you and people you care about so that you will be vulnerable to me and my obsession. Rude. Why do any men feel entitled to women’s attention at all? It’s not theirs, not even on holidays when you might be able to make them think their boyfriend is creeping into their house to leave anonymous hearts on things.

Horace’s method of hitting on ladypigs makes it impossible not to notice him, he’d just pretend to fall on them from the back of the couch. It was…a little obvious.

Mixtape:

1. In Your House – The Cure
2. You’re Mine – The Black Angels
3. Bedroom Hymns – Florence & The Machine
4. The Sky Is Falling – Queens of the Stone Age
5. I See Through You – Uncle Acid & the Deadbeats
6. Eva – Burning Tapes
7. Cut Me Loose – UNKLE
8. My Least Favorite Life – Lera Lynn
9. Save a Prayer – Eagles of Death Metal
10. Heartbeats Acoustic – Dick Valentine
11. Demented Mantra – Ogre & Dallas Campbell
12. Invader – Dance with the Dark
13. Are You Satisfied? – Reignwolf
14. For Blood – Bass Drum of Death
15. Vicious & Disgusting – Burning Tapes

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An overreaction to tacky necklaces.

48. Twisted Summer – Willo Davis Roberts

Mistake one – going to Crystal Lake, I mean, haven’t these people heard about the camp?

Okay, so, location names that now mean something much different than they used to aside – Wait! This was originally published in 1998. She should have known better. Credit rescinded. – this story has more parallels with the concepts raised by Friday the 13th. The girl that got killed last summer had a bad reputation… but apparently everyone thinks she was murdered by some townie’s older brother, who is cool, but a poor townie, so of course he’s a great scapegoat. His name is Jason. I’m kidding. It’s Brody and he went immediately to jail even though he totally didn’t do it. I mean, his name is Brody, he very well could’ve done it, but if he did, main character Cici’s summer won’t be ruined and she won’t get Brody’s younger brother as a boyfriend either. Bummer.

Just so everything’s clear, this book is actually pretty well structured, unlike my review. It’s also got characters that are better developed than the ones in the first novel I read by Willo Davis Roberts, The Tarot Spell, which demonstrated just a giant dearth of female empowerment and so I was very glad this was better. The children deserved better.

“Nobody thought about that association? Really? The ‘Final Friday’ had already come out,” Belvedere knows Jason is a household name for murder-reasons.

 

Mixtape:

1. The Guest at the Window – Pentagram Home Video
2. Chattox – All of Them Witches
3. Little Thing Gone Wild – Black Rebel Motorcycle Club
4. Bad People in a Bad Place Doing Bad Things – Repeated Viewing
5. Haydee – Burning Tapes
6. Rain Grey, Dark Sky – Brass Hearse
7. The Weeping Willows – Espectrostatic
8. Flower Phantoms – Blood Ceremony
9. The Dove & the Serpent – Devil Electric
10. Crux – Electric Citizen
11. Architecture for the Night – Harglow
12. Eye of the Storm – Dance with the Dead
13. Rabbit Run – Ogre and Dallas Campbell
14. A Dream about the Lake – Espectrostatic
15. Last Rays of Daylight – Ogre and Dallas Campbell
16. Damned if She Do – The Kills

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Sportsmanship……Books!

Tomorrow, I will be at Walker Stalker in Chicago! Tomorrow.

And this time, I am also planning on showing how my book cover parodies have become far more plentiful than they used to be. In the beginning, it was just Danger Crumples transforming Christopher Pike’s 1990s YA output, as seen here –

I do think with Danger Crumples I may actually have parodied these covers into being more coherent stories. Oops.

However, now that most of these are only available as postcards and I had more plays on piggie names in mind – more pigs have gotten their own book series and three of the paintings will be on display for the first time and also possibly the last time, I tend to make new things for every show that I do because I have a lot of ideas and very inspiring piglets.

Peregrine, crime boss and queen of my herd, finally got her own book series – Prey Street. And once again she meets with her most frightening enemy – the phone. This time she let Merricat pick it up, as if that would help.

 

Finny got a series too! Finnybumps, it’s very specific and allows him to intimidate Salem, just as he tries to from across the room every day.

 

This is my favorite new book cover parody. Ozma’s 80s horror paperback. There’s always been something ominous and yet flashy about how cute she is, which could only be expressed by painting her while drinking a lot of Tab.

 

Walker Stalker! Tomorrow! I know I’m no Jerry, who I won’t be able to see because I’ll be at my table, and I’m clearly not King Ezekiel, who I won’t be able to mention Hellraiser: Hellworld to (um, that movie has Khary Payton, future apparent (I haven’t seen it) downer Superman Henry Cavill, and the best but somewhat -to put it lightly – misused person on Vikings, Katheryn Winnick all in it, what a strange world we live in), but I hope someone comes and sees me anyway because I have a very wide range of stickers this time.

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I haven’t quite seen the movie yet, even though Eva Green is usually awesome.

55. Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children – Ransom Riggs

More design than book, this is a story that I did not expect to be the start of a series. It’s good looking, but it wasn’t particularly emotionally engaging for me. I do like the design, the photos, the odd afflictions of the children and their caretaker’s powers; but it all just really stayed on the surface for me. It was a bit drafty, not unlike the landscape described in the book. I recently acquired the second book in the series cheaply, so, I’ll give it a shot, see if it gets better. It could always get better.

Long ago, I chose Twiglet to be the chosen pig pictured with this book. She was a peculiar and endlessly lovable pig.

 

Later, I acquired my own Miss Peregrine, so named for her slightly falcon-like appearance and she has acquired her own Miss Peregrine Funko figure with its own falcon. Perhaps a peculiar choice. She also has Sam the Eagle.

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“The maiden’s waiting for her knight in shining corduroy.” – Creepshow

74. There’s Someone Inside Your House – Stephanie Perkins

This little slice and dice of teenagers has some interesting elements. It’s a pretty accurate depiction of high school in the Midwest, especially if you are different from the normies in any capacity. The inclusivity is a change of pace from most of what I’ve seen in YA that’s supposed to be horror even though this book isn’t really scary or thrilling. There is a lot of blood, so that’s interesting considering that it’s not particularly suspenseful. The best part of the whole thing really is the reasoning behind the killings. It’s also very small-town Midwest but deployed in a totally new way.

Whoever’s in the house woke up Murderface. They better watch out or she’ll cute them to death.

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“There’s been a murder almost everywhere in this house.”

75. Anna Dressed in Blood – Kendare Blake

It took me a bit to realize the head I was in was male. I’m so used to YA books with supernatural elements being told from female perspectives that it was a bit of a shock to figure out this was a young guy’s head. Also, he didn’t constantly think about boobs and changing his clothes, so how was I supposed to know? Anyway, the head belongs to Cas (Theseus Cassio) and his father was killed by a ghost. Now he and his mom follow other ghosts and kill them, along with their cat, Tybalt. Somebody likes Shakespeare. The titular ghost is up in Thunder Bay, Canada, and she is a doozy. She’s sixteen and she’s killed a lot of people. A lot. Pretty much anyone who comes in her house.

I didn’t expect this to be as good as it was. It was very teen and yet involved pop culture references that would probably work better for people in their 30s, so that worked for me; but it was just better than it seemed like it should be. The characters seemed natural, the gory parts were gory, and one of the characters attempted to stop library vandalism – good. The one thing that was pretty off-putting was the design choice of printing the book in dried-blood-brown ink. It makes sense, but it hurt my eyes a little to read it all the same. And it really wasn’t necessary for such a compelling narrative to have that kind of gimmick.

Salem’s ready for some in your face ghost hunting too.

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“THE CATSsssssss” seven extra s’s in the blurb preface. Yep. Now I’m scared.

24. The Cats – Nick Sharman

I must begin with a note about the cautiousness of our publishing times, well, 2013 and probably still today. When pitching editors in ye olde New York City about the first book in my Squirrelpocalypse Trilogy, I was told to market it as middle grade instead of YA even though to me it was gory and funny enough to just be aimed at nerdy 30+ year olds who grew up watching Gremlins and Ghostbusters. YA was my genre compromise because it takes place at a boarding high school. The editorial argument was that the premise of a rising plague of person-devouring squirrels was for middle school kids. Far too ridiculous for anyone else. Not entirely. I think maybe it would’ve been more disturbing if I let diseased rodents rip the flesh off of middle schoolers. If I did that I’d have to seriously consider Splatterpunk as my defunct genre of choice and I’ve already got enough “too many dudes in here” genre issues in Horror Comedy. Anyway, all of that happened way before I read my copy of The Cats.

The Cats is about a plague of diseased cats (and one naked middle schooler) trying to kill off London when they get too hot. The cat-madness infection responds to temperature and that poor young boy was feeding them when the a/c broke and got swept up into the highjinks. It was marketed to adults because it’s not silly to let diseased cats try to take over London. Nope. Nick Sharman was published in an age of opportunity for letting small animals rage in print.

Ozymandias and Danger Crumples demonstrate small animals about to rage. Well, sort of, I separated them shortly after this photo. They were fighting about how maybe my writing would’ve been more acceptable in the 80s. Danger thought 90s. That’s what guinea pigs fight about. Literary problems.

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