Saturday, December 27, 2014

Review: A Christmas Horror Story (Gregory)

AUTHOR: Sebastian Gregory
SERIES: none
PUBLISHER: Carina
PUBLICATION DATE: Dec. 8, 2014
ISBN: 9781474009119
PAGES: 66
SOURCE: NetGalley
GENRE: horror, holiday
SETTING: multiple worldwide locations on multiple Christmas Eves
GIVE IT TO: MS
5-SECOND SUMMARY: An ancient monster dressed as Santa terrorizes naughty children on Christmas Eve.

30-SECOND SUMMARY: For centuries, an ancient evil has targeted and kidnapped naughty children at midnight on Christmas Eve. Several stories of kidnapped children throughout the centuries are included between chapters, but the main story is of three siblings who are home alone and about to be its next victims.

REVIEW: For middle schoolers looking for creepy Christmas stories (not an easy task!), A Christmas Horror Story is sure to be a hit. This is well-written, creepy fun that will be especially popular among fans of Gaiman's Coraline, Black's Doll Bones, and even Stine's Goosebumps series. I especially love all the flashbacks to previous victims of the Evil German-speaking Santa-thing (called der kinderfresser, or The Child Eater).

I also loved the new version of "Twas the Night Before Christmas," der kinderfresser-style! Super-cool!

The short length (66 pages) and appealing title and cover art will make this a popular choice with reluctant readers.

Unfortunately, this book is currently only available in e-book format. Not good for libraries (like mine) that don't have Overdrive or e-book lending! At least it's cheap--currently less than $5 on Nook and Kindle. It is not currently available via Follett or FollettShelf. So sad!

THE BOTTOM LINE: A must for all libraries serving middle school and high school students. It may be okay for some elementary readers as well, but elementary librarians are advised to read it themselves before circulating to young patrons.

STATUS IN MY LIBRARY: I would have no problems selling this one to my students if I can get my hands on a printed copy. My library is currently exploring Overdrive as an option for our students, and if I can get it there, I absolutely will! Another option is to buy a copy and load it onto one of my library ipads.

READALIKES: The Boy in the Cemetery (Gregory); Coraline (Gaiman); Skeleton Man (Bruchac)

RATING BREAKDOWN:
  • Overall: 5/5
  • Creativity: 5/5
  • Characters: 4/5--not a character-driven story, but the three main characters do have distinct personalities
  • Engrossing: 5/5--it's short, and I read it in one sitting
  • Writing: 5/5--strong writing with lots of grisly descriptions
  • Appeal to teens: 5/5
  • Appropriate length to tell the story: 5/5

CONTENT:
  • Language: very mild--2 hells
  • Sexuality: none
  • Violence: medium--the der kinderfresser kidnaps, kills, and eats children
  • Drugs/Alcohol: none

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