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The Waking Dark

By: Robin Wasserman
Formats: Hardcover, eBook
Imprint: Knopf Books for Young Readers
ISBN: 9780375868771
2013-09-10 - $17.99

The Waking Dark is “a horror story worthy of Stephen King” (Booklist) and “a book you won’t soon forget” (Cassandra Clare, author of the Mortal Instruments series)—perfect for readers of Gillian Flynn and Rick Yancey.
 
They called it the killing day. Twelve people murdered, in the space of a few hours, their killers also all dead by their own hand . . . except one. And that one has no answers to offer the shattered town.
 
Something is waking in the sleepy town of Oleander, Kansas—something dark and hungry that lives in the flat earth and the open sky, in the vengeful hearts of its upstanding citizens. As the town begins a descent into blood and madness, five survivors of the killing day are the only ones who can stop Oleander from destroying itself.
 
They have nothing in common. They have nothing left to lose. And they have no way out. Which means they have no choice but to stand and fight, to face the darkness in their town—and in themselves.

“Suspense, chills, gasps—all that and a gem-like writing style that will make you shiver with beauty and horror. A book you won’t soon forget.” —Cassandra Clare, author of the bestselling Mortal Instruments series and Infernal Devices trilogy

“Twisted, pulse-pounding, shocking, and very, very scary. With The Waking Dark, Robin Wasserman conjures vintage Stephen King as she peers into the dark heart of a nightmare America, where violence and evil lurk behind the golden glow of small-town life, and new terrors arrive by the hour. A superb horror story that is by turns visceral and lyrical, heartrending and heart-stopping.” —Libba Bray, bestselling author of the Gemma Doyle trilogy and the Diviners series
 
“This book has the combination of mystery and fright that I love. So many twists and shocks, I nearly jumped out of my chair several times! Trust me—this is a true chiller. Not to be missed!” —R. L. Stine
 
“A thriller dark and beautiful and—yes—achingly romantic at every unexpected twist and turn. Astounding.” —Lauren Myracle, New York Times bestselling author of The Infinite Moment of Us and Bliss
 
“Wild, nihilistic madness that will get true horror fans raising their pitchforks and torches in frenzied glee. Wasserman writes as if hooked up to IVs of Stephen King and John Carpenter's spiked blood.” —Daniel Kraus, author of Rotters and Scowler

"Great dialogue and intriguing subplots add to the action-packed story . . . the suspense doesn’t let up until the final pages." —School Library Journal, Starred Review

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Three stars for THE WAKING DARK!
September 05, 2013

Three stars for THE WAKING DARK!

★ It’s Lord of the Flies on steroids! One strange day twelve people are murdered, all by relatives, friends, or neighbors—the most unlikely of suspects. None, including 18-year-old Cass who murdered the toddler she was babysitting, knows why. Soon after, a terrible tornado ravages the town and removes all semblances of law and order. Anarchy rules; far too many adults and role models revert to their base-est instincts. An unlikely band of teens reluctantly joins forces to plot escape: Jules, part of the meth-dealer Prevette clan; West, golden boy (but gay) football jock; sweet, unassuming Daniel; Ellie King, self-prescribed evangelist dubbed saint by the Deacon during the strange times; Cass; and Gracie, the sister of the murdered toddler. The Waking Dark is a horror story worthy of Stephen King. Wasserman’s tightly woven plot arouses our darkest fears—a government (or private industry) experimenting on its citizens, contemporary witch hunts that remind us of our Puritan heritage, natural disasters that destroy basic infrastructure including communication systems. Her characters are anti-heroes, seeking to hold themselves in check, fearing that they, or anyone around them, can suddenly become the monster they are trying to escape. It’s a violent, edgy, well-written, and foreboding novel, so realistic that readers can only hope it’s simply fiction.- Booklist 

★ Wasserman (The Book of Blood and Shadow) delivers an exceptional horror novel that will lead to inevitable (and deserved) Stephen King comparisons. In the isolated Kansas town of Oleander, five people suddenly go on murder sprees, with four of them committing suicide. A year later, five survivors are united when a storm (and later, soldiers) isolate the town: loner Daniel, closeted jock West, newly evangelical Ellie, outcast Jule, and Cassie—the one remaining murderer, who has no recollection of what she did or why. As the days pass, the five grow increasingly aware that everyone else in Oleander is starting to act strange. The characters’ own conflicts—Jule’s family deals meth, West’s parents are homophobic, etc.—help fuel the tension until the insanity really takes over. While the plot isn’t new (see either version of The Crazies), Wasserman juggles a huge cast, intense action, and some truly horrific moments with style and skill. The novel works just as well as mainstream horror as YA, and the ending is both effective and brutal. Ages 14–up. Agent: Barry Goldblatt, Barry Goldblatt Literary. (Sept.) – Publishers Weekly

★ This contemporary thriller opens on an ordinary Tuesday afternoon in a small town in Kansas, when five people with no connection to one another inexplicably commit murders and then kill, or attempt to kill, themselves. This becomes known as “the killing day,” and no one has an explanation for it. The dark story is told from the perspectives of five teenagers, each of whom suffers in a different way due to the crimes, but it’s nearly a year before their linked lives truly converge. After a devastating tornado, the entire town is quarantined and the adults are descending into violent madness. The five teens seem to be the only ones who realize something terrible is happening; they struggle both to stay alive and unravel what’s really going on and who is responsible. While the number of protagonists can be confusing at times, their alternating stories are all compelling. Great dialogue and intriguing subplots add to the action-packed story, which will have readers frantically flipping pages. Wasserman sustains a truly spooky mood throughout, and the suspense doesn’t let up until the final pages.–Sunnie Lovelace, Wallingford Public Library, CT – School Library Journal