Ginger Nuts of Horror
By Tony Jones
The Queen of YA American horror returns with another massive juicy bite
Make sure you read our full and extensive interview with the Queen of American YA horror Amy Lukavics (by clicking here) , covering aspects of this, “The Ravenous”, her third fantastic horror novel in some detail. As the interview details I am a huge fan of both of Amy’s previous novels “Daughters Unto Devils” and “The Woman in the Walls” and Ginger Nuts of Horror is delighted to have given five star reviews to both books.
Now onto novel three, “The Ravenous” with Lukavics doing what she does best, crafting a terrific horror story which has complex family issues beating at its dark heart. Family is the overpowering theme which interconnects her three novels and there is no better YA writer anywhere in merging the issues of everyday life, damaged teenagers with that of the supernatural. She smoothly integrates the darkness, without necessary explaining it, into a plot with characters we would really love to see fight to live another day. She might not be perfect, but you’ll also be rooting for Mona in no time at all.
“The Ravenous” is told from the point of view of fifteen year old Mona, the middle of five sisters, ranging from twelve to nineteen in age. The eldest, who has temper issues, acts as a surrogate parent to the others, as their real mother is an alcoholic who drinks her life away in her bedroom. Their father is in the military and is absent throughout the novel.
Pushing the supernatural aside the family dynamics of this gripping novel is superb. Mona drinks too much, has no friends except for a text message based relationship she uses as a crutch when life gets too much. At one stage she was much closer with another of the sisters but they drifted apart after an argument. The sisters behave impeccably in public, but behind the curtains their family is fractured and the only thing which truly unites them is their mutual love for the youngest sister Rose, whom they all dote upon.
However, tragedy strikes, and when their mother causes a drunken argument Rose is pushed backwards and falls into the deep basement. She tumbles to the bottom and breaks her neck, dying instantly. This was a truly horrific moment, when the Cane family realise their beloved sister is lying twisted at the bottom of the stairs with blood coming out of her ears. To say much more of the plot would spoil it, but in her madness the mother claims she can “Bring Rose back” and then disappears for a few days with the body, but soon she returns and she is not alone…
That’s the opening to what is a fantastic horror novel, although it’s a YA read, it really is not far away from being a fully-fledged adult novel. I read it just as I would adult horror and enjoyed it every bit as much. The character dynamics was superb, the angst was real as the girls dig themselves deeper into a hole, not to mention a few sequences of bone crunching violence instigated by the eldest sister who really seems to enjoy dishing out pain just a little too much.
I hope teens will be able to tap into the fractured and vulnerable psyches of the Cane sisters and the returned Rose who is a pitiful creation no matter how horrific she becomes. Most importantly the reader can still feel her humanity as much as she feels her own loss of it. Adult readers will rightfully think the plot is wrapped up both a bit too neatly and quickly, but I doubt a teen reader would notice. Another question an adult reader may ask is how many fifteen year olds really do have alcohol problems? It’s uncommon, but not impossible… That aside the book moves along at a hectic pace until its superb final page.
If you’ve never tried the Queen of YA Horror (can Ginger Nuts copyright that moniker?) or if you are seeking a great horror novel for a child of 12+ then look no further. Either this latest offering, or either of Amy’s previous books are all high quality choices.
There's something wrong with Rose. From the outside, the Cane family looks like they have it all. A successful military father, a loving mother and five beautiful teenage daughters. But on the inside, life isn't quite so idyllic: the Cane sisters can barely stand each other, their father is always away and their neglectful mother struggles with addiction and depression. But soon they will find out just how far they'll go to keep their family together.