Investigated – Horror in YA

Posted October 21, 2013 by Emz Chang in Investigated / 0 Comments

investigated


Halloween in coming up soon, and to try to get in the mood, I’ve been trying to find books that tell stories that are kind of creepy or scary. I haven’t had much luck. I don’t know if it’s me or if it is just YA in general.

Let’s say it’s me
If for some reason you have ever read my review policy, you know I don’t really enjoy reading horror books. Why? Because to me, books are like movies – they are movies that only play in my head. And therefore they have the same effect of movies. As silly as it sounds, yes, books do have the power to give me nightmares. Because of this fear (hey, nightmares disrupt my sleep, and nowadays, I could always use as much sleep as I can get) I tend to avoid anything that something to do with horror.

There’s also the thing where people label things differently. One book you might classify as horror, I might just classify as mystery. I guess it’s different for every person and depends mainly on opinion. Also people could have different definitions of words. My definition of a horror story could be different from your definition of a horror story. If my observation of the lack of horror in YA is because of me, it would mean I live in my little bubble and I don’t want to burst it. (That’s a discussion for another day).

But what if it’s YA in general?
Let’s face it, today YA novels usually paint a story of self discovery or romance. I swear, if you pick up any YA book, you can find at least one of those in the book. I’m not quite sure how you could fit a horror story with either of the two subjects. In fact that is what is making me a little sick of reading YA. A lot of times it feels like I’m reading the same story over and over again, just with different characters and in different settings and circumstances. Seriously, sometimes it feels like YA writers use a formula to write their books (once again, another discussion for later) and horror just doesn’t fit into the equation nicely.

There’s also the fact that horror in books is different from horror in movies. Although both can (will) give you nightmares, books generally aren’t as horrific as books (no, terrifying grammar issues do not count). It’s a lot of easier to creep someone out with some creepy music, a scary costume, and a random appearance with the words “Boo!”. It’s different with books. Unless the author is a master a describing all the details, but not enough to be considered overboard, it’s really hard for authors to paint to scary picture in the heads of their readers (I think). And going to back to the part about labeling things differently, even though a book could be the screenplay/script for a horror movie, it could be labeled as fantasy or mystery because it is a book. In addition, there seems like there are a lot of different words that correspond to horror. Horror. Thriller. Creepy. Which one really is horror. Do people label things as one, but not another?

What do you think?
Is it me or YA in general?
Or am I wrong and YA is actually over flowing with horror books?
Emz Chang

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