Too Scared to Sleep

HarperCollins/Clarion. Oct. 2023. 224p. Tr $19.99. ISBN 9780063266483.
Gr 8 Up–Scary stories have been part of the human experience since the beginning; they tie directly into our fears and can be extremely varied from person to person. This short story collection explores more general horror concepts like being lost alone in the woods, having a doppelgänger, or someone scary showing up at your door. The collection also provides a variety of modern and unique scares: revealing what’s really in the box of an unboxing video; a stalker from your livestream chat finding you in real life; or even a glitch in VR that can kill you. This book includes an add-on to each tale that is very distinctive. At the end of every story, readers can scan a QR code which will take them to a brief jump-scare video directly tied to the story they just read. For a majority of younger horror fans, these two concepts will wind together, drawing them deeper into the fandom, and perhaps provide a natural step towards enjoying more adult horror. However, for seasoned horror fans, these short stories are much more predictable and lose their edge.
VERDICT This debut collection will go down as a young horror fan’s ideal example of scary. It will jump off shelves during spooky season, and word-of-mouth should keep it in constant demand, year-round.

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