Girls & Monsters by Anne Michaud

I wouldn’t normally buy Young Adult horror as I’d expect some kind of fluffy vampires. I know I’m selling the genre short based on a could of books but I know I’m not the only person who thinks like this. I bought this book because I really enjoyed Anne Michaud’s story in a horror anthology from Anachron Press that I really enjoyed. There is nothing fluffy about this book. It is pleasingly dark. The final zombie story in particular is almost suffocating in darkness. There is a rising tension throughout these stories that makes you completely forget that the blood and gore is purely in your own mind. There is very little in the way of waste in this books and that really helps the flow and speed of reading.

With pet killers, zombies, killer mermaids and a giant arachnid there is something for everyone. There story that really caught my attention though was Black Dog. Western culture is full of Black Dog stories and in nearly every single case the people who see or claim to have seen the dog end up dying in mysterious circumstances. As a teenager I can remember a friend of mine saying his sister was the Black Dog and she died shortly after. Was it true? It didn’t matter. For years after we’d freak out at the sight of a pure black dog without an owner or collar. This story also deals with self-harm in a way I’ve never seen portrayed before. It was particularly interesting to read how the sight of self-harming changes the way people act towards the person who obviously needs help. People don’t cope well with what they don’t understand and this story really does make you think about things.

All of the stories in this collection are self-contained and worth reading. The tension and helplessness in the final zombie story come through really strongly and make for a great ending. This book  is cheap as chips and twice as tasty.

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