The horror, the horror!

"Oh nooooooooo!" I like to imagine that is what he is screaming.
“Oh nooooooooo!” I like to imagine that is what he is screaming.

If you frequent this blog, you may remember that I absolutely adore Jonathan Maberry’s YA zombie series that starts with Rot & Ruin. If you don’t remember that, I adore them! The last book, Fire & Ash, is coming out in September and I’m so very excited! So, when I was perusing the Interwebs yesterday and I came across an announcement from Jonathan Maberry and the Horror Writers’ Association, my interest was piqued. Reading on, I saw that they were launching a blog dedicated to YA horror. At this point, I was super excited and immediately added it to my new blog reader Feedly (I’m trying to transition out of Google Reader since it’s being so ignominiously shut down, sniff sniff) and read the first post. Over the next few weeks and month, Maberry will be interviewing YA writers who write horror – or who write books that have some elements of horror in them. The line-up includes some writers I really like, such as Marie Lu, Barry Lyga, and Holly Black.

Maberry writes that it can be hard to define the horror genre, especially when it’s aimed at the teenage market. He says,

“Horror can, of course, be supernatural, but it doesn’t have to be. Horror can be psychological, it can be grounded in science fiction, it can be steeped in fantasy, or it can be the dread of peer pressure and social awkwardness. If you don’t immediately agree, think back to what genuinely made you afraid as a teen.” 

I agree. You could argue that some of the biggest YA books to hit the shelves in recent years are horror or have elements of horror. Twilight? Yes. The Hunger Games? Terrifying for sure. Harry Potter? There are some seriously scary parts in those books and it’s not just Aragog or Fluffy. Dementors, Dolores Umbridge, freaking Voldemort! Scary.

So I’m already on board with this blog then he lists the nominees for this year’s Bram Stoker award for YA horror:

Bray, Libba – The Diviners (Little Brown)
Lyga, Barry – I Hunt Killers (Little Brown)
Maberry, Jonathan – Flesh & Bone (Simon & Schuster)
McCarty, Michael – I Kissed A Ghoul (Noble Romance Publishing)
Stiefvater, Maggie – The Raven Boys (Scholastic Press)
Strand, Jeff – A Bad Day for Voodoo (Sourcebooks)

That’s when I realize I’ve read four of those six. And liked them. I liked some of them a lot! Then I think back to some of the books that have become some of my “go-to” recommendations. For adult books I think some of the books everyone should read are The Magicians, Hyperion, and The Sparrow. In YA books I frequently send teens home with Anna Dressed in Blood, 172 Hours on the Moon, Anya’s Ghost, the Maggie Quinn books, and the Rot & Ruin books of course. All horror, or have serious scary elements.

Then I realized, I think I like YA horror and some adult books with elements of horror in them. This is strange to me because I do not like horror movies at all. I will not watch them, in fact. And I don’t even like crime shows anymore. (My real issue with crime shows is that it seems like the story is always about women getting raped and brutally tortured and murdered. There’s enough of that that happens in real life that I can read about, that I don’t need it for my entertainment.) The Magicians and Hyperion gave me some of the most terrifying nightmares I’ve ever had in my life – waking up in a literal cold sweat nightmares – and I love those books. I had to watch 30 minutes of cute kitten videos before I could fall asleep after finishing 172 Hours on the Moon and I think it was a great book!

I will read almost any zombie book I can get my hands on, including zombies in the old West (looking at you Sixth Gun), I love watching the Walking Dead – I should just stop feeling weird about what I like. Even though this may seem ironic for someone who got a final Jeopardy question wrong because it was about Dracula, which I didn’t read because it seemed scary, but I’ll just admit it, I like horror.

Maybe it’s just the vampires I don’t like.

Anyone else have any genres they are surprised to find they like or are a little sheepish to admit that they like?

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