Slasher Girls and Monster Boys by April Genevieve Tucholke


Rating: ★★★★

Genre: Young Adult Lit, Horror, Thriller

Medium: Kindle edition

Synopsis: Filled with many different types of short stories, Slasher Girls and Monster Boys is an anthology perfect for any horror or thriller fan.  Most stories focus on high school-aged protagonists who must overcome the terrors they face from outside forces.  Some terrifying things the protagonists created themselves, and others are simply because malevolent beings quite enjoy being, well, malevolent.  Many of these are original in their own right, while others are incredible retellings of stories we love such as Alice in Wonderland and Frankenstein.  Read them in whichever order you’d like, but remember…don’t turn off the lights.

Review: This was such a fun October read!  I picked this one up after joining an online book club, and I’m so glad this was the month’s read!  These stories are recommended for fans of Stephen King and general thriller-lovers.  However, I have to say that as a huge fan of horror and thriller novels, as well as generally disturbing novels, this felt a little like Horror 101.  BUT do not be discouraged by that!  These stories focus on mostly high school-aged protagonists and likewise tropes, which makes it appropriate for those who are entering the horror literature scene or for those who really enjoy young adult lit.

Each story had its own unique feel.  It’s safe to say that my favorites are “The Birds of Azalea Street,” “Hide and Seek,” “Fat Girl with a Knife,” “Stitches,” and “On the I-5.”  However, the one that shocked me the most was “Sleepless.”  I wish I could write full reviews of each one, but I’ll have to stick with shorter ones.

I love love love talking about Death as though they’re a real entity of some sort.  That’s why I loved “Hide and Seek,” a short story about a girl who must evade Death for 24 hours in order to remain alive.

“Fat Girl with a Knife”…need I say more?  It begins as a fat frumpy awkward girl vs hot popular girl with a nose job type of story, but takes a turn when the popular girl goes into the bathroom where our protagonist is and goes rabid.  The knife isn’t for cake, but to protect herself and those who made fun of her from the oncoming zombie(?) apocalypse.

Retellings aren’t always my thing, but “Stitches” was so unique that I couldn’t tear myself away.  This retelling of Frankenstein was incredible.  The question first posed is this: is it possible to make a bad person good by replacing their parts with a good person’s ones?  And the more our dear protagonist sees The Collector, as he’s called himself, the more we realize what type of deal her father has made to get out of prison.

I don’t want to give away too much of this one, so I’ll say this: “Sleepless” is about two teenagers who’ve only ever talked online and decide to meet up one night.  I had to reread certain parts because I couldn’t tell what I was reading.

And now, I must end with “The Birds of Azalea Street” and “On the I-5.”  I loved these two individually as well as how they work well together as an opener and a closer for this anthology.  “The Birds” focuses on how a group of teenage girls know more than they let on, because who ever believes teenage girls, really?  Together, they make a frightening discovery about their neighbor.  “I-5,” alternatively, focuses on a young girl who is travelling alone at night, and is picked up by an older man that vaguely reminds her of her beast.  These two worked together magnificently, and this is why: the first shows a group of girls being smarter than they let on, and the latter depicts one girl who thinks she’s smarter and more grown up than she actually is.  In the first, the girls are victorious.  In the second, our protagonist is victorious only in her revenge.

Many of these stories focus on women as the protagonists–sometimes they’re benevolent, and sometimes not.  The stories whose protagonists are boys, however, focus on how the malevolent being in their lives are a direct cause of their actions.  After reading this whole anthology, a message was made clear to me: the girls in these stories were often the victims of external forces (sometimes, if not usually men); whereas the boys in these stories are tormented by those they have wronged.  All in all, what comes around, goes around.

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