My Heart Is a Chainsaw

Saga/S. & S./. Aug. 2021. 416p. Tr $26.99. ISBN 9781982137632.
Jade Daniels is an outcast in the quickly gentrifying Idaho lake town she’s always called home. When a Dutch teenager is found dead, Jade takes morbid delight in the fact that this is surely the first victim in a horror film come to life. Everyone in town is a suspect, and beautiful new classmate Letha Mondragon is the perfect Final Girl—the genre’s famous lone survivor. If Jade’s obsession with slasher movies is the center of this novel, issues of class, power, and addiction are the spokes that connect the wheel. Content warnings include sexual abuse and suicide, as the protagonist lives in poverty with an abusive father and attempts to take her own life. Jade’s family belongs to the Blackfeet tribe, and Jones (Blackfeet) authentically conveys feeling unwelcome in one’s own home. Tropes from horror movies play a big role in the novel. The omniscient narration tracks Jade’s obsession with these films, a hyper focus that frustrates the few reliable adults in her life as she struggles to communicate in any way other than through the lens of slasher movies. Readers can’t help but root for her and implore other characters to heed her warnings, especially in the last third of the book, when the pace sharply quickens.
VERDICT A horror novel not dissimilar to slasher movies. Recommended for mature teens.

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