From School Library Journal
Gr 8 Up-Sixteen established YA authors contribute short stories to this collection, which also includes a bonus story by the winner of the Defy the Dark New Author Contest, sponsored by HarperTeen and Figment. Each story takes place either at night or in the dark, which invites a fair share of overtly scary or creepy tales. In Carrie Ryan's "Almost Normal," a group of teens witnesses a zombie invasion from atop a roller coaster, and in Rachel Hawkins's urban-legend-inspired "Eyes in the Dark," a teen couple on a romantic interlude in the woods are hunted by monsters. Some stories are disturbing for other reasons. Sarah Ockler's "The Moth and the Spider" focuses on a girl writing a suicide note. Others are more sweet than scary, such as Aprilynne Pike's "Nature," in which a romance blooms in a future society that has strict career paths. In Malinda Lo's "Ghost Town," a girl gets revenge on a classmate with some ghostly help; Christine Johnson's "Shadowed" closes with a twist; Tessa Gratton's "This Was Ophelia" explores a courtship between a girl masquerading as a man and the boy who loves her as her male persona; and Dia Reeves revisits Portero through the eyes of an outsider in "The Dark Side of the Moon." As with any collection, some selections are stronger than others, but with contributions that range from frightening to romantic, action-driven to lyrical, there should be something here for everyone.-Gretchen Kolderup, New York Public Libraryα(c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
This spirited collection counts on the bewitching, tantalizing qualities of darkness—at night, down a mineshaft, or artificially manufactured in a spaceship—to set the stage for 17 original short stories by popular YA authors, including Aprilynne Pike and Beth Revis. Some are of the spooky variety, like Ghost Town, by Malinda Lo, about a ghost-hunting prank that turns into a real ghost encounter, and others are sweetly touching, like Saundra Mitchell’s Now Bid Time Return, the story of two teenagers, separated by centuries, who are brought together thanks to the aurora borealis, some paranormal photography, and a time portal in Norway. Still others take advantage of familiar legends. Myra McEntire’s Naughty or Nice, for instance, is the story of two friends falling in love . . . while battling the Krampus. The menace of darkness in these stories is mostly slight and a little predictable, more campfire shivers than real danger, but that’s precisely the appeal. Romance, unsurprisingly, flourishes in the dark, and there’s no absence of it here, either; with only a few notable exceptions, each story has the promise of a happily ever after. Grades 8-12. --Sarah Hunter
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