Teens love horror. Is it because they are adrenaline junkies or truly that masochistic? Either way, they flock to the latest slasher/ paranormal/ serial killer flick like bees to honey, drawn by the promise of a horrifying and thrilling time.
I find that with many of my teens who are brought, most of the time unwillingly, into the library to check out a book, I’m able to hook them with the promise of “this is so scary! Don’t read it at night or you’ll have seriously crazy dreams!”
Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake has opened my eyes to the realm of teen horror. This morning I was reading it while standing at the circulation desk (no judgment, I’m in the last few chapters), completely engulfed by the action and drama, when I (very loudly and unaware of my surroundings) let slip “oh my god this is so freakin’ scary!” Sixty senior heads popped up from their workstations and stared. “Well it is!” I shook the book at them, “I mean just check out the title and book cover!” They nodded in assent and returned to their research, sharing a brief moment of understanding of how one can become totally involved in a scary moment that leads to such an outburst.
Later, I spent some time walking around looking for titles that I knew my horror-loving students passed around and recommended and found Bad Girls Don’t Die by Katie Alender. When I book talk this one all I have to say is, “Look at the cover. Doesn’t it remind you of The Grudge or something?” And, that’s all I’ve been able to get through–the cover. I’m such a scaredy-cat.
The sequel was released this year, From Bad to Cursed. Creepy!
Sometimes it helps to remember that the way to some teen readers’ hearts is through a little bit of creepy-crawly.