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New Year's Evil (SCREAM) Mass Market Paperback – January 1, 1994
"Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress"
Is the world really falling apart? Is the ideal of progress obsolete? Cognitive scientist and public intellectual Steven Pinker urges us to step back from the gory headlines and prophecies of doom, and instead, follow the data: In seventy-five jaw-dropping graphs, Pinker shows that life, health, prosperity, safety, peace, knowledge, and happiness are on the rise. Learn more
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But Charisse also has an ulterior motive for her actions, Bran is not losing his mind, Charisse is taking over the whole young, about to graduate teen society, and as things continue the readers, and the remainder of the bullied teens realize that there is more and more to Charisse that anybody initially realized, especially as the Tess and Casey start to come to the realization that Charisse not only seems to have no parents, she may be a lot older than she looks.
And then the murders start.
As more teenagers are roped into Charrise's circle, and as Tess and Casey find out Charrise has BIG plans for her New Year's Day party, things will start to get dicey, especially since Charisse will succeed in becoming one of the school's in-crowd.
This is one of the many young adult novels that came out in the wake of R. L. Stine's success in the young adult horror field. What sets "New Year's Evil" by Michael August (a. k. a.: Sidney Williams) off from so many of these novels is that Williams does a bang-up job of characterization.
This is a multi-perspective novel which tells its story, mostly, from three of its characters, Bran, Charisse, and, mostly, Tess, who is this novel's main narrative voice. It is a tribute to August/Williams' skill that in that he manages, even briefly, to make us feel a little sorry for Bran, the brutalized and abused by his parents, bully, Bran, and the evil Charisse, before she shows her real character, and Tess and Casey aren't just a pair of goody-two-shoes.
Another thing that I liked was that the story starts off running, and so thankfully, August/Williams doesn't waste much time with his characters going "oh-no-this-can't-be-real" and denying stuff that is plainly happening, so the group gets right down to business trying to stop Charisse's troublemaking and find out who Charisse really is, how to stop her, and what is really happening.
This review is based on the January 1994 Z-Rave paperback and so it may have been revised for the eBook reprinting, but, for me, one of this novel's drawbacks is its constant, now twenty-year-old pop culture references. Most of which will go right over the heads of modern young readers.
"New Year's Evil" is not as violent as some adult horror novels, but it is also not as bland as some, and this is because August/Williams will substitute story and plot for violence, gore, sex, and bad language. And as I have said while there is some violence, it's never over-the-top, and August/Williams keeps the story moving as a good clip, the lead characters likable, and the plot-twists coming. "New Year's Evil" won't, didn't, and shouldn't have set the world of fire, but it is a well-told horror/suspense novel for those who are in the age set that like the Stine books, but with more likable characters. Although, let's face it, the ending was wrapped up a little to quickly, but, it is what it is.
I also thought that the cover art was very good. This is a novel that would have made a very good television movie. I liked.
P.S.: Just as a sidebar, is it not interesting that S. W., who has no other name, has the same initials as the real author of this book?
For this site I have reviewed these other young reader thrillers:
Dead Rite (Point Crime) by Jill Bennett.
The Gift (Scream) by Michael August (Sidney Williams).
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Zodiac Chillers #2: The Scorpio Society (Zodiac Chillers) by Carol Ellis.
Zodiac Chillers #3: In Leo's Lair (Zodiac Chillers) by Carol Ellis.
Zodiac Chillers #4: Twisted Taurus (Zodiac Chillers) by Ellen Steiber. 9780679873075
Zodiac Chillers #5: Never Love a Libra (Zodiac Chillers) by Vicki Kamida.
Zodiac Chillers #6: Pisces Drowning (Zodiac Chillers) by Ellen Steiber.
X-Isle #1: X-Isle (Point Horror) by Peter Lerangis.
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