Only If You Dare: 13 Stories of Darkness and Doom

Holiday House. Aug. 2021. 208p. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780823449064.
Gr 3-8–Allen (Out to Get You: 13 Tales of Weirdness and Woe) has done it again in his second volume of scary stories. This collection of 13 atmospheric scares centers characters (monster and human alike) that are rooted just enough in reality to make an impact. In “The Substitute,” a middle school class sits down to a teacher who is strange and refusing to stay on topic, instead talking about “Them”—a race of monsters that don’t even have a name or if they did, it’s been forgotten. Like the best stories in the genre, there is a twist. Adept at crafting effective horror for youngsters, Allen has cemented himself as the heir-apparent of Alvin Schwartz; this is the new quick pick for patrons who want more after reading all the classic “Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark.” Put this book into reluctant readers’ hands, and they will beg for more.
VERDICT This is a must-buy for middle grade collections; a chilling anthology of memorable scares that will leave even the biggest horror buffs sleeping with the light on.

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