All Hallows' Eve

All Hallows' Eve

Give this book to the teen who loves a quick scare.

Of all of the Vivian Vande Velde books I picked up and read voraciously over the week of Christmas, All Hallows' Eve was by far my favorite. Tragic and gruesome (but not explicitly so), filled with horror and Vande Velde’s trademark surprises, it’s a collection of 13 wonderfully scary short stories—some of them so short you can read them in less than 10 minutes—that any thrill lover would be happy to read.

This was my first time experiencing real horror at Vande Velde’s hands. I’ve read some stories where she displayed elements of horror and crime, but never stories that were horror at their center. I think she needs to venture into this territory more often because she does it quite well.

One of my favorite stories in the book features a misleading title—don’t they all when it comes to Vande Velde?—and a building tension, a creeping dread, that makes me shiver and want to read it all over again at the same time. I love tension building in scary books and movies—any books and movies, really, as long as it’s done well; that’s why I’m such a fan of No Country for Old Men, Mystic River, and other films many people consider simply “slow.” Make no mistake: this story is far from slow. All of the stories in the book carry a quick pace that is sure to wow you and keep you up at night—not from reading, as it’s a fast read, but from staring into the dark, waiting, waiting…