Book of Screams

Orca. Sept. 2023. 176p. pap. $14.95. ISBN 9781459834095.
Gr 4-7–A collection of scary short stories that run the horror gamut. The first story, “Masks,” lets readers know these tales will not have happy endings. “Tanya and the Ink” is a throughline narrative of a young horror fan trying to solve nefarious mysteries, told in five parts throughout. Some entries are stronger than others; “Words on the Wall” centers a young boy who sees words of warning written on walls of his school, but his friend doesn’t believe they are there. “Baby Eyes” is one of the more unique stories and is about a girl who loses her “baby eye.” This collection’s spectrum of horror makes it a challenging one to recommend for a specific age group or audience. The levels of scary run at opposite ends, so true horror fans will find some not scary at all, but the tales may be too intense for younger readers. The entries do get a little repetitive, and “Tanya and the Ink” would be stronger as a single entry; some of the later parts feel like they could be skipped.
VERDICT An additional purchase where Josh Allen’s horror collections are popular.

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