Friday, October 16, 2015

Read Scary: Through the woods by Emily Carroll

These five, lushly illustrated stories, are super, super creepy. You have been warned.

The stories are framed by a child reading in bed, in the dark, imagining that there is something....something there that will pull them down into the dark....

"Our Neighbor's House" is set in what looks like the late 1800s, maybe a rural/pioneer time. Three girls are left alone and each night a stranger visits...and one girl vanishes. The last girl finally sets out on a journey to their neighbor's house...but what will she find when she arrives?

"A Lady's Hands Are Cold" looks like a rich, Georgian time period in London. A young woman in an arranged marriage travels a lonely road to her new house and begins to see and hear strange things...when she finally discovers the horrible truth of her husband's dark secret, will she manage to flee in time or will she become the next victim?

"His Face All Red" is a mystery and a ghost story. A brother is watching his brother make merry at the pub, in what looks like 18th century England, but he knows that it's not really his brother, hero of the village, killer of the wolf...when his terrible secret becomes too much for him, he flees back to the scene of his terrible crime and makes a terrifying discovery...

"My Friend Janna" features two young girls in the Spiritualist movement. What happens when the spirits become real but it's the girl who can't see ghosts who sees what's hanging about her friend...

"The Nesting Place" is pretty much Cthulhu horror. A sullen teenager travels to live with her brother and his new wife after her parents' death. But there's something wrong about his wife, that dates back to her disappearance into the woods...

The stories conclude with a young girl traveling through the woods in a red cloak, back to her safe house and bed where she reads stories....but is she really ever safe?

Carroll's art is stunning. Blazing with bloody reds and oranges against stark black and white detailed landscapes. The art swirls around the text, conjuring up dark woods, shadowed halls, and a cast of terrifying characters who are never quite what you expect. The stories are interwoven with fairy tale themes, especially the journey and motifs of Little Red Riding Hood.

Verdict: Super creepy. Hand this to teens who want a good, chilling read and will enjoy the literary quality and gorgeous art. Not for the faint of heart or those whose idea of horror is a straight-up gorefest. I have a lot of teens who like creepy, gothic graphic novels and this will be perfect for them.

ISBN: 9781442465954; Published 2014 by Margaret K. McElderry Books/Simon & Schuster; Borrowed from another library in my consortium

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