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Scowler Hardcover – March 12, 2013


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers (March 12, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385743092
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385743099
  • Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 1.1 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #993,477 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Gr 11 Up-This book has the pacing of a Stephen King movie, and it never lets up on the gruesomeness. Ry Burke's boyhood was riddled with brutal abuse and near death at the ruthless hand of a father whom he referred to as the monster. As Ry became older, his father's violence intensified. Then one morning, after being told not to bother his mother because she was sick, Ry knew that something was wrong and proceeded to investigate. What he saw caused him to make a courageous decision that would forever change his life and his family's. Flash-forward some years later to the '80s, and readers find 19-year-old Ry's father in prison and his mother and younger sister using the countdown to a forthcoming meteorite crash as a diversion from the grim existence on their barren family farm. When they find out that there was an explosion at the prison and that the father has escaped and is headed home to seek revenge, the news shatters Ry's fragile psyche, forcing him to resurrect a trio of imaginary childhood friends (the all-knowing Jesus Christ, kind and gentle Mr. Furrington, and bloodthirsty Scowler) for protective support. The metaphor of the meteorite countdown enhances the tense, dark, and creepy chill factor of this gritty, well-written thriller. It's a perfect choice for mature horror readers who are looking to bridge the gap between YA and adult selections.-Sabrina Carnesi, Crittenden Middle School, Newport News, VAα(c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

From Booklist

Editor’s note: It is Booklist policy that a book written or edited by a staff editor receive a brief descriptive announcement rather than a full review. In 1981, 19-year-old Ry Burke yearns to escape the dying Iowa farm that he shares with his mother and sister. The family’s tenuous peace is shattered by two shocking events: a meteorite’s crash arrival in the farm’s fields and the prison-break return of Ry’s father, whose monstrous physical and emotional abuse led to his incarceration. To help fight his father, the damaged Ry is forced to resurrect three imaginary childhood protectors: Mr. Furrington, Jesus Christ, and Scowler. Kraus’ third novel defies easy classification in a boldly visceral coming-of-age story that explores the darkest spaces in family life and the shocking resilience of the human psyche. Grades 9-12. --Gillian Engberg

More About the Author

Daniel Kraus is a Chicago-based writer and filmmaker. His novel THE MONSTER VARIATIONS (2009) was selected to New York Public Library's "100 Best Stuff for Teens." Fangoria called his acclaimed, Odyssey Award-winning, Bram Stoker-nominated second novel, ROTTERS (2011), "a new horror classic." SCOWLER (2013) was a Junior Library Guild selection.

Upcoming novels include TROLLHUNTERS (2015), co-written with filmmaker Guillermo del Toro, and THE DEATH & LIFE OF ZEBULON FINCH, VOLUMES 1 & 2 (2015, 2016). Kraus has written regularly for such magazines as Cosmopolitan, Playboy, Maxim, and Salon.com. Visit him at www.danielkraus.com.

Customer Reviews

One of the fastest reads I've ever had.
Kami
Fans of horror and suspenseful mind-blowing thrillers will enjoy Scowler.
kimbacaffeinate
The story is gripping, unsettling, and haunting.
Anthony A. Hains

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Shannon Mawhiney on November 9, 2013
Format: Hardcover
Much like Kraus' other book that I read two years ago, Rotters, Scowler is extremely well-written both in description and story and is themed around some seriously messed-up daddy issues. Also similar to Rotters is the constant, weird expectancy that something supernatural is about to happen, when in fact it all remains solidly based in Kraus' made-up reality... which is very, very crazy, but with a distinct lack of magic.

The setting of this book is beautiful and one I've never experienced, in a book or anything else: part farm-life, part '80s horror movie (minus the camp), and part psychological thriller. It works perfectly. I would absolutely love to see this made into a movie, especially the interactions between real characters and imaginary friends. I think my only complaint is that Ry's sister, Sarah, never quite seems like a real, complete person, even though she's a pretty important character. A couple of other characters weren't, in my opinion, fleshed-out enough either, but they didn't have as big of roles as Sarah. She still isn't an entirely badly-done character though, so my complaint is minor.

The book gets very dark, for a good portion of the book, and a little gory in spots. But if you're squeamish, you could probably skim over those parts and keep going. Otherwise I'd recommend the book for high school and older.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Anthony A. Hains on February 9, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Scowler defies classification. The novel is promoted as YA fiction, although this title deserves a place in an adult reader’s shelf as well. This is the second novel I have read by Daniel Kraus – the first being Rotters published in 2011. Both works can be easily classified as horror – but there is nothing supernatural or other-worldly in the plots. I suppose they can be classified as thrillers or even coming-of-age stories, but these labels wouldn’t do the books justice either. They are definitely the creepiest and most haunting stories I have ever encountered. Rotters involves a present-day, father-son grave-robbing team, and scenes were gruesome but compelling. I think this is the only book that actively engaged by sense of smell – a putrid, decaying scent was ever present. The story was imaginative and unforgettable.
When I saw that Mr. Kraus had another novel out, I jumped at the chance to read it. Scowler has a similar father-son dynamic, and it is clear that pathological relationships between fathers and their teenage sons is a central theme for Mr. Kraus. I hope his relationship with his own father is or was better than the characters in his books. Martin Burke is a brutally abusive man, capable of inflicting torture-like abuse of his wife and children. When he goes one step too far with an act perpetrated against his wife that is so repugnant and horrific, his then nine year old son Ry risks his own life to rescue his mother. Ry is brutally beaten by his father as result, but still manages to disable his father long enough (in an incredibly unnerving passage) so that his father is arrested and imprisoned for ten years.
Most of the action in the book takes place ten years after the incident leading to Martin’s arrest (which is dramatically and effectively told in flashback).
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By E. Tomasek on June 27, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
Although the descriptions were good I had a hard time visualizing this storyline and setting. I was bored at the beginning of the story which made it difficult to care about the characters. Once the story became more interesting, three quarters of the way into the book, I still had a hard time understanding why I cared about this family. It just wasn't my cup of tea.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By S. Beaudoin on November 23, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Did ever wish you were reading a Steven King novel, except one that was vastly smarter and more intense, except with teenage characters and none of the cliches and also really awesome and sort of brilliant but dark and scary and gritty and fantastically weird? Well, hey, this is just the book for you. Actually, you should buy it twice, because it requires two readings, because it is so excellent. Buy this. Now.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Kami on June 21, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I couldn't put this down. I almost pulled an all nighter and then almost ignored my kids all evening to sneak in reading time. One of the fastest reads I've ever had.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Krista Cubicleblindness on April 28, 2013
Format: Hardcover
One of the scariest Young Adult books I have ever read. Disturbing.

Ry's father is currently in prison and Ry and his family are still trying to cope with the abuse he caused them all. They live in a secluded farmhouse, the land being the prize of their fathers heart. But after years of having to run the farm on her own, Ry's mother has finally decided it's time for them to move now that it's been desolated and dried out. One day when meteorites begin to fall from the sky, one lands on their land. Bringing with it not only memories of the past, but also some bad characters as well.

This story is told with several flashback scenes in which we learn more about our characters and the events that lead to the present day event. This story does take place over a matter of a few days and chapters sequenced by counting down to the time of the meteorite landing and immediately after. The whole book being told from Ry's perspective, his flashbacks take us through his youth to present day events.

With this writing style the reader is introduced to Ry's mother and little sister, their growth throughout the years and the events that have lead them to the current situation with them fighting for their lives from a madman. Each character fully rounded out to the point that you hate them, you love them, and our heart will break for them.

Scowler is one of the scariest young adult books I have ever read. Author Daniel Kraus takes no niceties in guarding the readers from the events that unfold. It's a bloody, terrifying and emotionally wrenching story that can and will cause loss of sleep. Deeply disturbing and well crafted novel of suspense and a thriller that any horror lover will enjoy
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