The Last Time I Lied by Riley Sager (★★★★☆½)
The suspenseful follow-up to Final Girls tells the story of Emma, another survivor of trauma (Sager’s forte). 15 years after the disappearance of her Camp Nightingale cabin mates, Emma returns to the hoity-toity summer camp to learn what happened to Vivian, Natalie, and Allison all those years ago. Perfect for fans of psychological thrillers, Sager’s latest novel will keep you guessing (and screaming) until the very last page. Adapt this for the big screen, please and thanks.
I Am Not Your Final Girl by Claire C. Holland (★★★★☆)
This debut collection from Claire C. Holland combines two of my favorite things: feminist poetry and fictional final girls. Written in response to the 2016 election and the #MeToo movement (among other unfathomable goings on in the world), Holland’s poems explore the perspective of 40 female horror film survivors throughout the decades. Deeply unapologetic, this debut collection is a fitting tribute to final girls and the society that shapes them.
You by Caroline Kepnes (★★★★★)
Kepnes’ debut thriller is an incredibly disturbing novel about obsession in the social media age, including the unhealthy fixation we have with curating our own online personas. Full disclosure, I should not have enjoyed this dark and deranged novel told in the second person as much as I did. And I especially should not have been rooting for the charming, literary loving stalker/kidnapper/murderer the entire time. But here we are. Insert Sorry Not Sorry joke here.
City of Ghosts by Victoria Schwab (★★★★☆½)
Get ready for a cutesy new middle grade series about a girl named Cassidy who has the ability to talk to ghosts and can move beyond the Veil following a near death experience. Things get more interesting when her paranormal book writing parents get their own television show, and Cass and her best-friend Jacob, (who just so happens to be a ghost), head to Edinburgh, Scotland. AKA: the spookiest place on earth. Full of local Scottish history and lore, Schwab’s new series is an adorable take on the supernatural.
Corpse Cold by John Brhel and Joseph Sullivan (★★☆☆☆)
This Kickstarted anthology was pitched to me as Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark for adults, and the deliciously frightening cover seemed to confirm that claim. There’s only one problem (okay, several problems): none of those stories are as scary as the source material that inspired them. To make matters worse, the entire collection is predictable, boring, and most heinous of all, badly written. The illustrations are great, but the stories, sadly, are not worth your time. Don’t even bother.
The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson (★★★★☆)
I love me some Shirley Jackson, but The Haunting of Hill House wasn’t as scary as promised, nor did it have the creepy, gothic dread that pervaded my favorite work of hers: We Have Always Lived in the Castle. I still enjoyed the story, and especially the characters (I’m looking at you Mrs. Montague, you amazing last minute addition!), but this book suffered slightly from not being at all what I expected. Read: being more about psychological specters rather than actual ghosts.