Monday, September 24, 2012

What Exactly IS YA Horror?

This is something I was wondering not too long ago, given that I wasn't exactly sure whether or not I was writing horror. That, and I had just read my friend's horror novel. And I had recently finish Anna Dressed in Blood, which, when I picked it up from the library, surprised me with its "YA Horror" sticker.

See, initially I would have pegged something like Anna Dressed in Blood as urban fantasy. There's one scene that I found scary in the book, but only one. The rest is just intriguing ghost-ness and a little bit of gore.

I Am NOT a Serial Killer is also horror, but I never found that scary, either. Morbid, yes, but not scary.

But I think that's the trick, with YA.

Here's the exchange between myself and Hannah Bowman in her blessed Ask Agent:

Me: Exactly how horrifying does a YA book have to read to be considered "horror"?

Bowman: I think it's more a sense of creepiness than outright gore. You don't need to shy away from violence in YA, but make sure it's not gratuitous.

So there you have it--in Young Adult, horror is more a sense of creepiness than actual fear (and I hate being scared, which is why I don't watch horror movies and why I've never read a Stephen King novel).

So yeah, I'm writing a horror. (With a lean toward Dystopian/Urban. I think. Ah well, that's what alpha readers are for.)

Do you like YA Horror? Which books have you read?


  1. I personally am not a fan of any thrillers, murder mystery or dark fictions, as well as non-fiction. But the game clue was pretty fun! Lol

  2. I'm not a big horror fan. I don't really read it, or watch it but I know a lot of people who do.

  3. I don't care for horror, but I can certainly agree with that definition...a sense of creepiness, and not just gore. Great post, by the way. :)

  4. I can't say I've read a lot of YA horror. I love that it's the creepiness factor, versus the gore, though!

  5. I've never read YA horror specifically, but Ari Marmell's Thief's Covenant series (YA) has definite creepiness throughout--and it is excellent! I do, however, read a lot of dark fantasy, so I like a bit of horror most times.

  6. Makes sense. Romance is more a sense of crushing than love (at least occasionally). :) Or, on the other end of the spectrum - stalking.