October 19, 2011

2011 Cybils: Savannah Grey, by Cliff McNish

Reader Gut Reaction: This is a weird one... the sort of ghost story that someone could tell you when you were half asleep, and it would scare the bojangles right out of you.

Concerning Character: Savannah is fifteen, and kind of awkwardly placed in her community. She doesn't feel like everyone else - and never acts like them. She's a foster kid, restless, and apt to contact her social worker and have herself moved. It's not anyone else's problem - the fosterers are all kind -- it's just her. Savannah is shocked when she's drawn toward a good-looking new boy named Reece. He, too, is restless, and odd -- and oddly drawn to Savannah. A scar across his throat explains his sometimes very odd, croaky voice.

Savannah's voice is croaky, too. Her persistent sore throat turns a doctor visit into a terrifying incident. SOMETHING is GROWING in her throat -- and she's making odder and odder noises at night, in her sleep. And then the nightmares come, horrific visions that seem to follow her into the waking world. The wind blows on Savannah, pulling her toward the woods. Leaves follow her in great drifts. The world seems to be pulling at her, shoving her, pushing her -- into what?

There is a ...thing of darkness out there. What does it want? What the heck is going on?? And what does it have to do with Savannah Grey?

Recommended for Fans Of...: This isn't horror like Caroline B. Cooney and R.L. Stine do horror - this is a purer, cleaner narrative thing that brings to mind Poe and Lovecraft. Cliff McNish hasn't introduced a lot of fluff into this - and yet, there's a touch of romance and softness...which makes the horror all that much worse.

Cover Chatter: Leaves, a window, moonlight, and wind. A perfect combination of sleepwalking and wakefulness, this UK cover depicts the confusing - yet oddly beautiful elements of the world of Savannah Grey... not giving too much away, and yet holding back on the spooky. This one works. The American cover is absolutely freaktastic. It works, too, in that horrifically uncomfortable way in which you want to keep clearing your throat. Eep!

Just in time for your October reading, you can find SAVANNAH GREY: A Horror Story at an independent bookstore near you!

1 comment:

Sarah Stevenson said...

Oh, yikes! I don't usually "do" horror, but this one sounds kind of fascinating.