Monday, August 20, 2012

Beyond by Graham McNamee

Pub date: September 11, 2012.

Author website.

Jane is not your typical teen. She and her best friend Lexi call themselves the Creep Sisters. Only Lexi knows why Jane is different from anyone else: Her own shadow seems to pull her into near-fatal accidents. Jane is determined to find out why these terrifying things happen, and to overcome her shadow enemy. Her sleuthing with Lexi connects her own horrors to the secret history of a serial killer.  (

Hooray for YA horror!  Love it.

BEYOND taps into an aspect of horror that involves genuine creep factor.  It's not about how much gore the scary thing can create but just how scary it can be in and of itself.  Personally a shadow, YOUR shadow, that tries to kill you is pretty high up there.

Jane has been subject to a slew of horrific "accidents" all of her life, the most recent of which involve her shooting a nail out of a nail gun and into her head.  All because of her shadow.  Death has surrounded her her entire life.  Literally her entire life.  She was a still born that was resuscitated.  And for as long as she's known her shadow has been there trying to get her to kill herself.  I don't want to give too much away because I think the reasons behind all of these incidents are truly creepy and give new meaning to a near-death experience.  It's not all bright white light and happiness for some people.

Jane's a solid character that you can immediately get on board with as a reader.  Despite all of her insane accidents, and despite the rumors attached to her as a result, she leads a relatively normal life in terms of her own views of it.  She's not paranoid or overtly macabre.  She's grown so used to being so close to death that she's developed a nonchalance about it.  Almost a boredom.  She wants it gone already.   She wants to lead a REAL normal life, not just one where she tries to toe around a piece of her that's actually trying to kill her.

Lexi is the objective third party in the equation.  She fills in the gaps with Jane's lack of vision thanks to her sleep deprivation.  She serves a purpose, really.  I didn't like her nor dislike her.  I really didn't feel much either way.

But kudos to no love triangle and really no relationship at all!  Much to Jane's chagrin but that plays too much into the plot so I won't divulge.

BEYOND is another good addition to the YA horror market, adding in a decent ghost story where there's definitely a hell of a lot of room for it.  It'll make you look twice at your shadow and wonder what it's doing behind your back.  The notion of it thinking at all is pretty horrifying if I'm honest.

Ban Factor: High - Horror gets filed automatically high.  In this instance it's thanks to a killer shadow, a nail in a brain and a creep that buggers boys.
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