Scowler by Daniel Kraus
“Marvin Burke was a man whose shadow still chilled the entire county. Merchants and neighbors alike had brandished a distrust of the man of the wolverine manner, the obliterating handshake, the features, that never stopped moving—pulsing veins, twitching mustache, a rubber grin that delivered the nonstop soliloquies. Marvin Burke talked too much; he was too tall, too thin; his muscles were too rangy; his head shaved down to a gleam they found unnatural. They suspected the man was a horror and they were right.”
Ry Burke lives on a dying farm in Iowa with his mother and sister. He has scars both literal and figurative from his terror of a father, Marvin. But Marvin has been in jail for years and while his family is not exactly prospering, at least they are safe. Their peace ends one day in August when two momentous things happen: a meteor falls on their farm and Marvin unexpectedly shows up to inflict further pain on the family.
Great horror is hard to come by in the YA world, so when someone publishes a book that is both truly horrifying and well-written, fans of the genre should take notice. Kraus’ descriptive writing is spot-on: you will be able to picture every gruesome detail. Highly recommended for connoisseurs of the disturbing.
More YA horror to try:
The Marbury Lens by Andrew Smith
The Monstrumologist by Rick Yancey
Ashes by Ilsa Bick (see our full review here)
See our horror booklist here.