Tag Archives: YA

“I love my answering machine”

54. My Secret Admirer – Carol Ellis

Isolated teen sparks the interest of local maniac, rejects common sense, lives to tell the tale. It’s hard when you move to a new town and your parents immediately abandon you to fend for yourself in your extremely isolated home. Perhaps, if you were a teenage girl who had never seen a single news report or experienced other humans, you might think that suddenly having a secret admirer leave you gifts when you are completely alone in an unfamiliar place would be fun, perhaps cute, and it wouldn’t set off every internal personal safety alarm you have even though you keep acting like you have those on your trips to town. The ominous rocks aren’t calling you, Jenny, and they certainly aren’t leaving you presents. Yeesh.

Mixtape –
1. Burden in My Hand – Soundgarden
2. What’s a Girl to Do? – Bat for Lashes
3. Comanche Moon – The Black Angels
4. Get Found – Bass Drum of Death
5. Too Real – Black Rebel Motorcycle Club
6. Crazy Love – Chelsea Wolfe
7. Deep Blue – Arcade Fire
8. A Brief History of Love – The Big Pink
9. Behind the Wheel – Depeche Mode
10. No Direction – Logan 5
11. Length of Love – Interpol
12. Kalopsia – Queens of the Stone Age
13. With My Eyes Closed – The Raveonettes
14. Something I Can Never Have – Vitamin String Quartet

Merricat asks, “Really? Listen to the dog, Jenny. Peaches knows what’s up.”

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Late 1800s newspaper front pages are like: murder, murder, accident, murder, Druids, somebody’s running for office, fire, a boat sank, murder.

7. One Evil Summer – R.L. Stine

A long time ago, in a land about one hundred miles away from the land I am currently occupying, I settled in to a long afternoon of playing while sort of watching TV and stumbled upon a movie where this weird lady took a baby into the woods and gave the baby to a tree. It seemed interesting and so I watched the rest of it -and this was before the internet, before the little guide on the television, and we had no subscription to TV Guide, and so it took me a REALLY long time to figure out that it was The Guardian. Bastard film of William Friedkin who would scare me half to death by creating a relatable situation in The Exorcist – he took his name off The Guardian for cable, not that I saw the beginning where it also explained that Druids worshipped trees (but- but- when were they building henges in danger of being crushed?). I saw some wolves, I got confused, and I am now never surprised by evil nanny stories. One Evil Summer is an evil nanny/babysitter story and it needed more wolves. And a creepy tree.

Mixtape –
1. I Am the Sun – Swans
2. Black God Forest – Those Poor Bastards
3. Are You Okay? – Dum Dum Girls
4. Anything, Anything – Dramarama
5. Jinx – Snakefinger
6. Lady Shoes – Jesus Lizard
7. 1985 – Kvelertak
8. Cat Claw – The Kills
9. Vacation – Absolutely Not
10. The Serpent & The Pig – Zebras
11. Two Hearted Woman – Electric Citizen
12. Drawing Down the Moon – Blood Ceremony
13. Nothin’ – Rowland S. Howard
14. Charmer – Kings of Leon
15. Superstition – The Kills
16. Wide At Midnight – The Wytches

When they film Ozymandias’ story, which might involve creepy trees prior to my having acquired him, it’s likely that Sam Raimi will sign on to direct initially, but then we’ll have to settle for William Friedkin.

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“How do you do, fellow kids?”

19. The Other Side of Dark – Joan Lowery Nixon

Oh, Stacy, you’re such a narc. This novel centers around young Stacy waking up from a coma to find out it’s been four years and her mother’s dead – but she’s not going to dwell on that, there’s make up to learn about and uncomfortable drinking parties to attend. She’s trying to remember her mother’s killer/her attacker’s face and everyone is a suspect, even her “love” interest… a twenty-three year old narcotics officer posing as a high school student. Seriously, how often did that happen? And, boundaries, people, boundaries. Getting statutory with a seventeen year old who thinks like a thirteen year old is, to say the least, unprofessional.

Mixtape:
1. Johnny Hit and Run Paulene – X
2. Teenage Disease – Black Rebel Motorcycle Club
3. Bedazzled Fingernails – Mastodon
4. Sinful Nature – Bear In Heaven
5. Days Are Forgotten – Kasabian
6. Eighties – Killing Joke
7. Stop, I’m Already Dead – Deadboy & the Elephantmen
8. Patrolling Days – The Hives
9. Friend or Foe – Adam & the Ants
10. I Still Believe – Tim Cappello
11. Military Man – Evil Cowards
12. Bad Romance – Lady Gaga
13. Eez-Eh – Kasabian
14. Square Life – Catalogue
15. Ambulances – Ladytron
16. Suspicious Minds – Elvis

Mortemer wants to be on the other side of the laundry basket. Escaping will not dry you off faster than the towel, Morty!

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All this could’ve been avoided if the B&B had been set up on the Island of Misfit Mascots.

51. The Drifter – Richie Tankersley Cusick

Mrs. Baxter could have used a nice visit with the Sexual Harassment Panda from South Park before starting on her business plan. When your daughter says the man you hired as a live-in handyman after he just showed up one day at your door in your new town and has been giving her the creeper eyes and you imply that she should stop asking for it -that makes for a saaaaaad panda. Just a reminder, Mrs. Baxter, you should be glad your daughter told you about it BEFORE anything criminally prosecutable happened.

Mixtape –
1. Sinking with the Sun – The Raveonettes
2. Shallow Water – Electric Citizen
3. She Cried – Rowland S. Howard
4. Wild Charms – The Kills
5. Goodbye Gemini – Blood Ceremony
6. The Deserters – Rachel Zeffira
7. Constellations – Black Mountain
8. Nothin’ – Rowland S. Howard
9. Headed Nowhere – Those Poor Bastards
10. Big Dark Love – Murder By Death
11. Hollow Earth – Zebras
12. Four Teeth – True Widow
13. Black Eyed Dog – Swans
14. Lonely Sunday – Reignwolf
15. Calla – Russian Circles

Belvedere doesn’t take kindly to age based power imbalances being used to the advantage of walking jean jackets.

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Camp isn’t just a row of tents.

62. Lights Out – R.L. Stine

Stine getting epistolary up in here. Yes, villain of the piece, it is amazing that you think turning “Camp Nightwing” to “Camp Nightmare” is a clever bit of wordplay. I don’t know how anyone overlooked your genius. I know main character Holly was too busy being scared shitless by virtually every outside-based beast that could be at a summer camp. Suck it up, Holly, solving the mystery is going to require more than startled screams. Or…maybe not.

I went to two summer camps in my time as a youth. At the first one, my cabin was awoken in the night by mating wild turkeys – that was loud and also confusingly terrifying. Plus we had to walk danceably to “Tears in Heaven” and put up the flag. When we were voting on songs I had not heard “Tears in Heaven” and if I had I would have vetoed that so hard. At the second one, I was awoken by a mouse running sideways up the plywood between bunks (not my bunk, I was in the middle, terrified) and into, then back out of one camper’s sleeping bag – it was one of the most terrifying things I have ever seen. My fellow witness and I never told her.

Mixtape –
1. Young Men Dead – The Black Angels
2. We’re All Swine – Those Poor Bastards
3. Sin Is In 10 – Bass Drum of Death
4. Hallucinations – The Raveonettes
5. Deep in the Woods – The Birthday Party
6. I Remember – Suicide
7. Houses in Motion – Talking Heads
8. In Your Wildest Dreams – Reverend Horton Heat
9. Girl Afraid – The Smiths
10. Treat Her Like a Lady – Cornelius Brothers & Sister Rose
11. Suffer No Fools – The Sword
12. Been a Son – Nirvana
13. Running Joke – Queens of the Stone Age
14. Moonlight – Lonesome Wyatt & the Holy Spooks
15. Angelfuck – The Misfits
16. My Buried Child – Swans
17. Bad Blood – Ministry

It’s not her fault she can’t hold a flashlight to tell spooky stories.

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Linking arms and sticking out your tummies won’t fix it…this time.

46. Chain Letter – Christopher Pike

Who hasn’t, accidentally, done something with six other friends that they must keep a secret – only to find out someone totally saw whatever it was and now will make you all pay. Make you all pay. In this case that would be the very ominously named “Caretaker.” The “Caretaker” is NOT Grumpy Bear of the Care Bears in disguise, trying to paradigm shift the Care Bears’ organization.

Mixtape –
1. Rich Kids – Evil Cowards
2. Sprawl II – Arcade Fire
3. Sour Cherry – The Kills
4. Sin Is In 10 – Bass Drum of Death
5. Blitzed – The Raveonettes
6. Killing for Company – Swans
7. Slutman City – GWAR
8. Mouth Breather – Jesus Lizard
9. Teen Age Riot – Sonic Youth
10. Don’t Lie – Snakefinger
11. Houses in Motion – Talking Heads
12. Lee Did This to Me – Electric Six
13. Black Sun – Kadavar

Horace likes the Care Bear Cousins, but not enough to commit. When you ignore guinea pigs, you’re working in a silo. [Ed. Using “silo” instead of “vacuum” is one of the stupidest business-language ideas ever – unless you plan on drowning in corn.]

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She could’ve killed someone with a pencil.

17. Night World: Huntress – L.J. Smith

You know how sometimes you have to like rejoin the gang of vampires you used to lead for the good of the universe even though you were like doing really well paying more attention to your human half? Keep up. Jez Redfern, like John Wick much later, has to return to her old ways for some serious action in order to keep evil from winning the apocalypse at the millennium/taking revenge a network of evil dudes/co-workers and stupid-Russian-Theon for stealing your car and murdering a very important dog. Maybe, just maybe, my analogy is not totally sound, but if there’s ever a movie version of Huntress and Jez Redfern says “Whoah,” I’ll know it’s meant for me.

A special hardcover collector’s edition of each of the Night World books is being released this year, if only this year was also actually going to see the release of the final Night World book… There is a rather hilarious Amazon page for “Strange Fate,” the tenth book – in theory – filled with the kind of frustrated commentary George R.R. Martin is surely used to dealing with, it’s been over 20 years of waiting for L.J. Smith’s fans. I’m waiting on her too, I’ve got to say Night World is a great series. A little melodramatic, but they’re for teenagers and everything is life and death. EVERYTHING. Maybe you don’t understand. Maybe you should go slam your bedroom door.

Mixtape –
1. Tread Lightly – Mastodon
2. White Light Suicide – Witchcraft
3. Raise A Paw – Melvins
4. Things Present, Things Past – Blood Ceremony
5. Dendrofil for Yggdrasil – Kvelertak
6. For Blood – Bass Drum of Death
7. Skin Traps – Electric Six
8. Never Let You Down – Greenskeepers
9. I Hear Voices – Kasabian
10. Reload – Ministry
11. The Needy – Logan 5
12. Feral Love – Chelsea Wolfe
13. By Your Definition – Witchcraft
14. I’d Kill for Her – The Black Angels
15. The Way of Vikings – Amon Amarth

Peregrine and Ozma are waiting here until someone tells them they have to take vengeance for their old names: “Pippa” (I adopted Peregrine and Merricat as a pair formerly known as “Paris” and “Pippa,” so I’m assuming there based on the order of their appearance in their adoption photo) and “Mitzi.” Seriously. Mitzi. That’s a dog name. Pippa is a dog name too.

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She got Swayzed.

35. The Secret Bedroom – R.L. Stine

Every time I switch towns I eventually run into the same old story – there’s that creepy house where somebody got murdered. And you know, in Mississippi, it was my house. It was drugs. No unfinished business. Lea of The Secret Bedroom is not so lucky. I mean, it could’ve been drugs, but, it wasn’t mentioned specifically if drugs were involved in the 100 years ago murderage, so… Lea is not so lucky in many ways. She falls victim to the many tropes – she’s a new kid who spills on the prime bitch at school, then gets asked out as a joke but she doesn’t know until she gets stood up, in her wallowing she hears footsteps upstairs in the boarded up bedroom, the girls she ends up being friends with are either too popular to keep up getting to know her or they found a boyfriend and no longer cared (Friends!), AND her parents keep leaving her alone in their haunted house (Thanks, Lea’s parents.) and she would be okay with it – if it was being haunted by Patrick Swayze. Patrick Swayze, gateway ghost.

Mixtape –
1. School – Nirvana
2. Misery Keeper – Electric Citizen
3. Zero – Smashing Pumpkins
4. Phone Call – The Faint
5. Mother Father – Swans
6. Sick, Sick, Sick – Queens of the Stone Age
7. My Dreams – Electric Six
8. I Only Said – My Bloody Valentine
9. Lost Boys and Girls Club – Dum Dum Girls
10. Your Sins Will Find You Out – Eli “Paperboy” Reed
11. Everybody Dies – Those Poor Bastards
12. I Dreamt – The Black Angels
13. Heaven Knows I’m Miserable Now – The Smiths
14. Love Can Destroy Everything – The Raveonettes
15. Noorus – Chelsea Wolfe
16. Ripe – Nine Inch Nails

Pammy and Thaddeus chomp down parsley in an attic bedroom. There’s no corpses in there or anything. Also no Swayze or Swayze-related materials. They’re like the wind.

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It could’ve just been The Cretins.

Welcome to year four of YA Megamix Summer! This year’s theme is “Class of Soon to be Nuked High” in honor of the the world teetering on the brink of destruction based on the whims of a moldy orange madman. Good luck having a future, enjoy these glib reviews and mixtapes for the next three months and if the country is still here at the end of August, we’ll resume our mental health/horror programming.

 

24. The Night Walkers – Otto Coontz

Way to not end the story, man. Maxine is cured, no one else is, and there’s no resolution beyond blaming the guy who runs the dump for the pollution. Writing is about making choices. When you bring things up, like “the soul” a few times and have Nora the Cassandra thinking that’s the “leg up” they have and then never resolving anything… At 163 pages, you could have added another chapter or two and resolved the story. I expect more of an author that admits to being the puppet and mask maker for the San Francisco Mime Troupe AND being concerned about environmental protection in his bio.

 
Mixtape –
1. A Forest – The Cure
2. The Number of the Beast – Electric Six
3. Home Sick Home – Faith No More
4. Damned If She Do – The Kills
5. Time for Death – GWAR
6. Under My Chin – Eighties Matchbox B-Line Disaster
7. Infected Girls – Electric Six
8. Burning in Hell – Electric Citizen
9. Iron Moon – Chelsea Wolfe
10. The Angry River – The Hat
11. If Wishes Were Horses – Witchcraft
12. My Mule – Abner Jay
13. Sore Eyes – Widowspeak
14. Old Pine Box – Those Poor Bastards
15. Forest Clouds – Windhand

Duncan was in charge of emotional support while I wrote the outline for Day of the Robots. She didn’t even put that in her bio because it took second fiddle to seeing works from the Louvre at Atlanta’s High Museum of Art in 2009 and almost auditioning for a season of So You Think You Can Dance? in the same day.

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I still get twitchy about the question: “Who’s got my golden arm?” It’s probably why I don’t really care for precious metals.

48. Long Lankin – Lindsey Barraclough

Every once in a while, less so nowadays, someone creates (or illustrates, damnit, Stephen Gammell) a story for young people that will scare them half to death. It will stick in the back of their minds, jumping to the surface when they hear a noise, see a creepy tree, or are walking all alone, late at night, past a graveyard. Long Lankin is a scary fucking book. Reading it made me jumpy and paranoid during the daylight and frankly, a story about post-World War II era British children and folklore should not have managed to accomplish that task. The last thing that made me that jumpy was The Blair Witch Project (saw it in the theater, pre-most of the hype or at least I had no access to hype, didn’t think it was real though, still scary. No corners).

There’s a level of scarcity and secrecy in Long Lankin that just puts a damper on the mood and pushes it into a murky, stifling place. Children aren’t allowed to know what they need to know and there’s an exciting amount of dramatic tension at play as a result. Another contributor to the effectiveness are Barraclough’s lush descriptions. She does an excellent job describing how rooms feel when the windows have been nailed shut for years and I can even feel my breath hitch thinking about the stale air (of course, as an allergic-asthmatic, that’s always going to be a sticking point of terror for me). And that classic British damp is ever-present, rotting away the shingles and leaving room for creepy beasties to get through.

The one thing that didn’t work for me was the ending, but it’s quite the journey to get there, so overall it’s a worthwhile read.

Pickles dramatically reenacts my experience reading Long Lankin. Did you hear that?

Pickles dramatically reenacts my experience reading Long Lankin. Did you hear that?

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