Publisher: St. Martin’s Press, Wednesday Books
Date of publication: August 29th, 2023
Genre: Horror, Young Adult, Short Stories, Anthologies, LGBT, Queer, Fantasy, Paranormal, Fiction, Lesbian
Night of the Living Queers is a YA horror anthology that explores a night when anything is possible exclusively featuring queer authors of color putting fresh spins on classic horror tropes and tales.
No matter its name or occasion, Halloween is more than a Hallmark holiday, it’s a symbol of transformation. NIGHT OF THE LIVING QUEERS is a YA horror anthology that explores how Halloween can be more than just candies and frights, but a night where anything is possible. Each short story will be told through the lens of a different BIPOC teen and the Halloween night that changes their lives forever. Creative, creepy, and queer, this collection will bring fresh terror, heart, and humor to young adult literature.
Contributors include editors Alex Brown and Shelly Page, Kalynn Bayron, Ryan Douglass, Sara Farizan, Maya Gittelman, Kosoko Jackson, Em Liu, Vanessa Montalban, Ayida Shonibar, Tara Sim, Trang Thanh Tran, and Rebecca Kim Wells.
Her grandmother told her once that the sea gets what it wants.Welcome to the Hotel Paranoia (Night of the Living Queers) by Vanessa Montalban
I know I have said this before and will keep saying it: I dislike reviewing anthologies. Do I like reading them? Absolutely. But reviewing them is a different story, bringing me to Night of the Living Queers. I knew this was an anthology, but I still downloaded it.
I went back and forth on how to review Night of the Living Queers and decided to review it as I have past anthologies. I will give my opinion on the story and if I liked it or not.
Before I get into the review, I want to say this book would be perfect to read around Halloween. Also, a blue moon is featured in every single story, and all of the characters are lesbian, gay, trans, or queer.
So, without further ado, here are the stories in Night of the Living Queers:
Welcome to the Hotel Paranoia: This is an interesting story about a girl, Anabel, who is invited to a party at an abandoned bed & breakfast. When she gets there, things go from spooky to frightening. As I was reading this story, I got Hotel California vibes, even more so at the end of the story. While this wasn’t my favorite story, I didn’t dislike it.
The Visitor: This was another interesting but creepy story. Toya and her father have a ritual every Halloween. They decorate the house, watch scary movies, and grieve for Toya’s mother. The vibe of this story settles somewhere between creepy and heartbreaking. The end of the story was a big twist. I also couldn’t believe what Toya did, but I understood why. This story was one of my favorite stories.
A Brief Intermission: With this one, I figured out what the story was about within the first couple of pages. It wasn’t very scary, but it was very creepy. I couldn’t understand the end of the story, and I had to reread it a couple of times before a lightbulb went off. It was in the middle of my like scale.
Guested: This story was different from what I thought it would be, but I wasn’t expecting how it turned out!! Talk about a twist in the plotline. Being told in 2nd person added up the creepiness factor. When Nina got to the party, I knew something horrible would happen to her. This story was one of my favorite stories.
Rocky Road with Carmel Drizzle: This story broke my heart into a million pieces. I can’t get more into it except that Julian’s attackers got what was coming to them and then some. This story was my favorite story.
The Three Phases of Ghost-Hunting: This silly story focuses on two girls wanting to talk to Terrifying Bob, the ghost who haunts the food court at the local mall. I say silly because Terrifying Bob wasn’t that terrifying. I liked how it ended. This story was one of my favorite stories.
Nine Stops: Out of all the stories in this book, this one was the creepiest. It combined grief and opening spam links. It reminded me of The Ring but stopped short of being exactly like it. The author did a great job of scaring the crap out of me. It was one of my favorite stories.
Leyla Mendoza and the Las House on the Lane: This book was not scary. It is creepy in parts and unbelievably sad in others, but not creepy. It was also told in 2nd person. I did tear up during the scenes in the house and loved how it ended.
In You to Burn: This story was fantastic. Again, it was not precisely scary per se, but creepy. The author took their time explaining what was happening between Luce and Harley. Once it was explained, the author twisted the storyline. I loved it. Again, it’s a favorite story.
Anna: I wouldn’t say I liked this story. It was creepy, but I couldn’t get into it. And the ending was a little cliche.
Hey There, Demons: I was a little iffy with this story. It was not creepy or scary. Instead, it read more like a queer YA paranormal romance. The end was cute but had no scare factor.
Save Me from Myself: I liked this story but didn’t find it creepy. I was fascinated by the Indian lore (gods and goddesses). I also liked that Mona got to view herself from her crush’s perspective. The end was sad and not what I expected.
Knickknack: This story was a tribute to homicidal ghost clown stories. I loved reading it. Knickknack died horribly, and every year since, he takes a kid. I liked how the author just had fun with this story. The ending was typical but still fun.
I would recommend Night of the Living Queers to anyone over 21. There is language, violence, and no sexual situations.
Many thanks to St. Martin’s Press, Wednesday Books, and the various authors for allowing me to read and review Night of the Living Queers. All opinions stated in this review are mine.
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