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Not Even Bones: Don't Be Afraid to Get Dark

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Amazon.com: Not Even Bones (Market of Monsters, 1): 9781328863546:  Schaeffer, Rebecca: BooksThe author didn't shy away, and it paid off!

This book created quite a bit of buzz when it came out back in 2018. A story about the body parts of magical creatures being sold on the internet? Gross! Weird! It was an immediate sensation. Some people thought it pushed the boundaries of YA too far, edging into "creep-out" category.

However, with almost 2 thousand Amazon reviews, clearly the audience wasn't creeped out enough to avoid it.

Having finally spent the time to read it, I can see why this novel took the YA horror scene by storm. Not only is it a hooky idea, the author isn't afraid to go there. It's bloody, gory, and honest to the concept. After all, you can't really have a black market for magical body parts without the grotesque realities of body parts, some of them being removed from living victims.

Trust me, it's just as chilling as it sounds.

I'll be honest: horror isn't exactly a genre I spend a lot of time in (can you tell?). But it seems to me that there is an ineffable allure to books that aren't afraid to get as dark and spooky as the real world can sometimes be. It's refreshing to read an author whose characters are just as complicated and vile as real people, whose story reflects the atrocities that humans can and often are responsible for. A lot of fiction, especially in the YA field, pulls its proverbial punches. The bad guys are never that bad. The danger is never dangerous. The stakes never truly reach life or death, and if they do they're often resolved with an easy plot twist or chosen one deus ex machina.

So I can see why this novel stood out in a crowded YA market. The characters in this book don't break down easily into hero and villain. Yes, there are some good antiheroes in here, and you're forced to root for people who are sort of evil in their own right. But the thing that I most respect about Not Even Bones is that it wasn't afraid to depict what this concept would truly look like. There's no sugarcoating here, just as there's no sugarcoating in life.

And clearly the audience appreciated it.

What about you? Do you read horror? What do you love about the horror genre? Tell us in the comments!

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