Scary Out There: A Blog on Horror in Young Adult Fiction – by Jonathan Maberry

What scares you?ART The Dark (1)

Is it the same thing that scares me?

Are the things that scare us now the same things that made us tremble as kids? Are they the same monsters? The same fears and doubts? The same shadows? The same threats, real and imagined, that troubled us on the way to school? Or in school? In the playground?


Fear, like everything in life, changes. Just as we change.

And horror –that personal reaction to something that makes us afraid—is as changeable as it is individual. Horror is no more the same to you and me as it is you our adult selves and the kids we once were.

Beginning this week, the Horror Writers Association launches a new blog on horror as defined and published for the Young Adult audience. Each week I’ll interview another player in the booming market of YA horror fiction.

However some of those players will surprise you. Because, as we agreed, not everyone defines horror the same way. So one of my motivations for this blog is to explore the dimensions and nuances of what defines horror. Horror can, of course, be supernatural, but it doesn’t have to be. Horror can be psychological, it can be grounded in science fiction, it can be steeped in fantasy, or it can be the dread of peer pressure and social awkwardness. If you don’t immediately agree, think back to what genuinely made you afraid as a teen.

That diversity in subject matter is reflected in the HWA’s new Bram Stoker Awards category for Young Adult Horror. I was so very honored to tie for the win last year with my friend and colleague Nancy Holder. This year’s final ballot reflects another wide, wide range of books that are covered by the YA Horror umbrella.

Joining us for this exploration to the unknown limits of horror is a wide range of authors. Some are well-known to the ‘horror crowd’; others are more familiar in other aspects of YA fiction –including paranormal thrillers, paranormal romance, psychological drama, science fiction, urban fantasy, dark fantasy, and more. Some are publishing giants, others are talented newcomers. All of them write horror.

If you don’t yet see how, or if some of these authors and their books don’t yet fit into your definition of ‘horror’, then that’s why we’re doing this blog. Horror, as a genre, resists easy definition. Especially in teen fiction.

Over the weeks and months you’ll hear from R. L. Stine, Holly Black, Kelley Armstrong, Barry Lyga, Lish McBride, Marie Lu, Carrie Ryan, Charlie Higson, Dan Wells, Ellen Hopkins, Heather Brewer, Kim Harrison, and many, many others.

Our first installment will be going up soon.

And, I encourage you to check out the books on this years final ballot for the YA Bram Stoker Award. Read. Get scared. Have fun.

-Jonathan Maberry


Bray, Libba – The Diviners (Little Brown)
Lyga, Barry – I Hunt Killers (Little Brown)
Maberry, Jonathan – Flesh & Bone (Simon & Schuster)
McCarty, Michael – I Kissed A Ghoul (Noble Romance Publishing)
Stiefvater, Maggie – The Raven Boys (Scholastic Press)
Strand, Jeff – A Bad Day for Voodoo (Sourcebooks)

Jonathan Maberry 2011 aJonathan Maberry is a NY Times bestselling author, multiple Bram Stoker Award winner, and freelancer for Marvel Comics. His novels include EXTINCTION MACHINE, FIRE & ASH, PATIENT ZERO and many others. His award-winning teen novel, ROT & RUIN, is now in development for film. He is the editor of V-WARS, an award-winning vampire anthology. Since 1978 he’s sold more than 1200 magazine feature articles, 3000 columns, plays, greeting cards, song lyrics, and poetry. He is the founder of the Writers Coffeehouse, and co-founder of The Liars Club. Jonathan lives in Bucks County, Pennsylvania with his wife, Sara Jo.