San Marcos High School ~ Santa Barbara, CA

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    Halloween Book Reviews


    It is finally fall, which means we are closer to Halloween and all of its activities than ever before; Trick-or-Treating, carving pumpkins, watching scary movies, and most importantly…reading spooky books. This month I reviewed some of my favorite horror and thriller books that I have read recently. I hope you enjoy reading this, and make sure to read some scary books while it is still spooky season!


    VICIOUS CREATURES by Ashton Noone 

    GENRES: Horror, Mystery-Thriller, Fiction

    Published July 19th, 2022

    Ava Montgomery never intended to return home. Not after she ran away upon finding the body of Adam Albright, a former friend, fourteen years ago — a disaster that shattered her young life. But when a horrible divorce forces her to go back with her daughter Majorie in tow, Ava realizes not much has changed. It does not take long for Ava to rejoin her old crowd. She reunites with old friends and grows closer to them — each of whom found fame and fortune after they graduated. 

    Meanwhile, Ava’s daughter becomes intrigued by the forest that surrounds the small town, interested in the urban lore and stories surrounding it. Her constant questions bring back repressed memories from Ava’s past…ones she has been intent on forgetting. But the memories are not the only thing that haunts her. Mysterious things seem to happen to her on the daily, all revolving around her past. And by the looks of it, someone wants her gone.

    I loved this book for a majority of reasons, but especially because it showed the contrast between the main character’s life and all the other characters’ lives. One of things I found interesting about the book was that it flashed back to lots of scenes from the past. It was really nice because it helped me understand more about the characters in the present. I also really enjoyed how it showed parallels between the past and present, and tied the two together. Since there were parallels between periods, it helped me understand how the story progressed. Similarly to the second book I review in this article, Vicious Creatures successfully showed the complicated relationships and conflicts between the characters. Something really unique about the book was how it showed the conflicts between characters, and how it showed why the characters did something, or why they felt a certain way. Noone also did a really good job showing the setting and mood of the story. When a scene was supposed to be a certain way, it truly felt that way, and I think that was a really good aspect about the book. All in all, it is a super interesting book, and certainly a good read for Halloween.

    4.5/5 (It was really, really interesting! I loved this book.)


    A CROOKED MARK by Linda Kao

    GENRES: Horror, Fantasy, Paranormal

    Published June 20th, 2023

    Rae Winter should be dead. Most people say it is a miracle that she survived the car crash that left two dead, but Matthew Watts knows that forces of good cannot be the only thing at hand. He knows that the devil, Lucifer, can also influence someone’s survival — and help them live to carry on his will. Matt has grown up alongside his father, finding these people who they call “Marked.”. Together, they must find them and exterminate them.

    But for once in his life, Matt takes on Rae as his own solo project and suddenly, he starts to doubt everything that he was ever taught. How can someone like Rae, someone who is thoughtful and kind, be an agent of the devil? So when lines between myth and reality are blurred, he must confront the awful truth that everything he has known might be a lie.


    When I got this book, I really did not think much of it. It was just a random book I picked up from the library because it sounded interesting. But as soon as I started reading it, I could not put it down—and I finished it within a day. The story has lots of mysteries and plot twists that kept me on my toes, and since everything was always changing, I could not stop reading it. The book is really interesting because there are lots of different conflicts and how they affect the cast of the book. These range from arguments and fights with the characters to Matt’s conflicting emotions on what he should do. Other than that, I felt like the plot was really unique. I have not read a book similar to it, so it was cool to see all the different ideas.

    4/5 (Very fast paced and intriguing, it was a very good book with a creative plot.)


    WAKE THE BONES by Elizabeth Kilcoyne

    GENRES: Paranormal, Gothic, Horror

    Published: July 12th, 2022

    The sleepy little farm that Laurel Early has always called home has awakened. It is finally changing. The woods are speaking to her, the soil under her feet has died, and her pile of bones just stood up and walked away.

    After dropping out of college, all she wanted to do was resume her simple life on the farm as a tobacco hand and taxidermist. Somewhere she can live her life with people she has seen every day and a boy she cannot help but love. But instead, something is haunting the farm. It appears to be some sort of devil out to get her as it did her late mother years ago. So Laurel is thrown into a wild fight against the clock to unravel mysteries to stop this creature before it is too late, and everyone she has loved is gone.

    From the second I got this book, I was intrigued by it. By the synopsis alone it sounded very interesting, but the cover art was a really good touch as well — it helped the reader picture the setting and main character of the book. I was a fan of this book because of all the different angles it shows the story from; though the main character is Laurel, lots of conflicts are shown through the eyes of her friends or acquaintances. Kilcoyne made the book really enjoyable by making it so the reader was not required to see the story through one lens, and I was able to see it from many different views and saw how one character’s decisions would affect another. But while the book was good, it was also pretty confusing. It had some plot points and twists that were never fully explained, so sometimes it was hard to follow. Overall though, it had good characterization and I enjoyed it.

    3/5 (While I loved the book, some parts were difficult to follow.)


    And that’s all for this month’s book reviews. I hope you enjoyed them, and thank you for reading. I hope to see you all again next month!

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    About the Contributor
    Anna Jacobsen
    Anna Jacobsen, Staff Writer
    Anna is in 10th grade at San Marcos High School. She has been a part of The King’s Page since her Freshman year. Her favorite section to write in is A&E. Her favorite subjects in school are History and English. Anna is a part of the water polo and swim team, and she likes to read and spend time with friends in her free time.
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