"Being young doesn’t protect you. Horrors come for kids, too."
Okay, why have I never heard of Victor LaValle? If the rest of his work is like this novella, it should be on prominent display in every bookshop, and library, and topping lists everywhere.
I started this book expecting a horror story with all the trappings of the genre. Instead I was taken on a vivid stroll through the life of a little girl from Queens, and how she was dealing with her best friend's imminent death to cancer. So, I was ready for some mindless pop terror and got my soul crushed and repeatedly stomped upon in the first 30 pages. I was honestly crying.
LaValle, be straight with us readers, how the hell can you write a 12 year old girl this well? How do you have this level of insight? I read YA all the time, most of it written by women, and the great majority of them can't capture how it really feels to be a young girl, and you go and do it... How?! I didn't even remember how it was to be 12, but you brought it all back, right down to the older brother making stuff up to scare me.
And just as start settling into this girl's sad, but ordinary life, LaValle yanks the reader into the worst kind of horror there can be in a book: the one that can happen to anyone because it's real.
This novella is about 100 pages long but it had me checking all the windows in my place, freaking out.
As if this wasn't enough the book keeps your emotions on a roller-coaster, I was getting into the horror bit and I get yanked back into grief, then back to horror. I wanted to get away but here's the thing - it's so masterfully written it won't let you get away, you have to keep reading.
I felt the ending was a bit abrupt, everything explained but ultimately unsatisfying. But the thing is, that's how real life is, as well.
I highly recommend it to everyone. Seriously, give it a try!
Victor LaValle official website
Bye Lucretia and the Kroons: