The Waking Dark

The Waking Dark

4.0 10
by Robin Wasserman
     
 

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The Waking Dark is “a horror story worthy of Stephen King” (Booklist) and “a book you won’t soon forget” (Cassandra Clare, author of the Mortal Instruments series)—perfect for readers of Gillian Flynn and Rick Yancey.
 
They called it the killing day. Twelve people murdered, in the space of

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Overview

The Waking Dark is “a horror story worthy of Stephen King” (Booklist) and “a book you won’t soon forget” (Cassandra Clare, author of the Mortal Instruments series)—perfect for readers of Gillian Flynn and Rick Yancey.
 
They called it the killing day. Twelve people murdered, in the space of a few hours, their killers also all dead by their own hand . . . except one. And that one has no answers to offer the shattered town.
 
Something is waking in the sleepy town of Oleander, Kansas—something dark and hungry that lives in the flat earth and the open sky, in the vengeful hearts of its upstanding citizens. As the town begins a descent into blood and madness, five survivors of the killing day are the only ones who can stop Oleander from destroying itself.
 
They have nothing in common. They have nothing left to lose. And they have no way out. Which means they have no choice but to stand and fight, to face the darkness in their town—and in themselves.

“Suspense, chills, gasps—all that and a gem-like writing style that will make you shiver with beauty and horror. A book you won’t soon forget.” —Cassandra Clare, author of the bestselling Mortal Instruments series and Infernal Devices trilogy

“Twisted, pulse-pounding, shocking, and very, very scary. With The Waking Dark, Robin Wasserman conjures vintage Stephen King as she peers into the dark heart of a nightmare America, where violence and evil lurk behind the golden glow of small-town life, and new terrors arrive by the hour. A superb horror story that is by turns visceral and lyrical, heartrending and heart-stopping.” —Libba Bray, bestselling author of the Gemma Doyle trilogy and the Diviners series
 
“This book has the combination of mystery and fright that I love. So many twists and shocks, I nearly jumped out of my chair several times! Trust me—this is a true chiller. Not to be missed!” —R. L. Stine
 
“A thriller dark and beautiful and—yes—achingly romantic at every unexpected twist and turn. Astounding.” —Lauren Myracle, New York Times bestselling author of The Infinite Moment of Us and Bliss
 
“Wild, nihilistic madness that will get true horror fans raising their pitchforks and torches in frenzied glee. Wasserman writes as if hooked up to IVs of Stephen King and John Carpenter's spiked blood.” —Daniel Kraus, author of Rotters and Scowler

"Great dialogue and intriguing subplots add to the action-packed story . . . the suspense doesn’t let up until the final pages." —School Library Journal, Starred Review

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Wasserman (The Book of Blood and Shadow) delivers an exceptional horror novel that will lead to inevitable (and deserved) Stephen King comparisons. In the isolated Kansas town of Oleander, five people suddenly go on murder sprees, with four of them committing suicide. A year later, five survivors are united when a storm (and later, soldiers) isolate the town: loner Daniel, closeted jock West, newly evangelical Ellie, outcast Jule, and Cassie—the one remaining murderer, who has no recollection of what she did or why. As the days pass, the five grow increasingly aware that everyone else in Oleander is starting to act strange. The characters’ own conflicts—Jule’s family deals meth, West’s parents are homophobic, etc.—help fuel the tension until the insanity really takes over. While the plot isn’t new (see either version of The Crazies), Wasserman juggles a huge cast, intense action, and some truly horrific moments with style and skill. The novel works just as well as mainstream horror as YA, and the ending is both effective and brutal. Ages 14–up. Agent: Barry Goldblatt, Barry Goldblatt Literary. (Sept.)
VOYA - Mary Arnold
Those who survived The Killing Day, a day when twelve died at the hands of their friends and neighbors, have struggled to return Oleander, Kansas, back to something like normal. They had succeeded once before, after the Christmas Day Fire in 1899, and now with the old factory reopened to new use, the town would rise again. But the earth has a long memory, and the wide open skies drop a dark funnel, explosions rock the landscape, and Oleander's citizens face a new, yet ancient, darkness in the land—and in their hearts. Five teens—perennial outsider Jule, golden jock West, caretaker Daniel, symbol and sacrifice Ellie, and scapegoat sole-surviving killer Cass —in a sleepy Midwest town quarantined behind barbed wire and armed guards, with little in common but their secrets and fears, must take charge of their own destinies as Oleander descends into violence borne of mass hysteria, religious zealotry, venality, and monumental evil. With more than a nod in tribute to Stephen King and Shirley Jackson, Wasserman builds a constant undercurrent of menace and foreboding that keeps the pages turning. It is not surprising that the jocks and bullies eagerly take on the role of town "Watchdogs," nor that there is a sinister force behind the destroyed factory and town quarantine, nor that Cassandra functions as a kind of doomed prophetess, and the figures and institutions that should protect are part of what falls apart. Readers will revel in the relentless pacing and ominous tone of this scary and disturbing ride. Reviewer: Mary Arnold
Kirkus Reviews
All the kids want out of Oleander, Kan.; few will make it alive. The small, isolated town has horrors in its past. The citizens begin a slow return to the surface on "the day of the killing," when five people with little in common go on a killing spree, and then four of them kill themselves. Teenager Cass, the only surviving murderer, is quickly institutionalized. Just as the town creeps back toward normalcy, an EF5 tornado whips through and destroys a quarter of the buildings and a nearby secret research facility. The U.S. government places the town under quarantine, with complete autonomy within it, and the citizens all begin to act out their worst impulses. As the adults slip into insanity and grab for power (when not killing each other), a small band of teens--gay footballer West, daughter of meth dealers Jule and struggling street-preacher's kid Daniel--fights to survive. When Cass returns to reveal the truth of their situation, they fight to escape. Wasserman's horror/science-fiction blend is ultraviolent in places, ludicrous in others and snooze-inducing in still others. It's a mess of an attempt at Stephen King–style small-town horror, undermined by an unrealistic and basically uninteresting portrayal of the classic breakdown of civilization amid a too-large cast. Skippable in the extreme. (Horror. 17 & up)
From the Publisher
Starred Review, Publishers Weekly, July 29, 2013:
"Wasserman (The Book of Blood and Shadow) delivers an exceptional horror novel that will lead to inevitable (and deserved) Stephen King comparisons… The novel works just as well as mainstream horror as YA, and the ending is both effective and brutal.”

Starred Review, Booklist, August 1, 2013:
"The Waking Dark is a horror story worthy of Stephen King... It’s a violent, edgy, well-written, and foreboding novel, so realistic that readers can only hope it’s simply fiction."

Starred Review, School Library Journal, July 2013:
"Great dialogue and intriguing subplots add to the action-packed story, which will have readers frantically flipping pages. Wasserman sustains a truly spooky mood throughout, and the suspense doesn’t let up until the final pages."

Starred Review, The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, October 2013:
"Masterful pacing and brilliant scene-setting work to make sure readers can’t leave Oleander until the final page."

School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up—This contemporary thriller opens on an ordinary Tuesday afternoon in a small town in Kansas, when five people with no connection to one another inexplicably commit murders and then kill, or attempt to kill, themselves. This becomes known as "the killing day," and no one has an explanation for it. The dark story is told from the perspectives of five teenagers, each of whom suffers in a different way due to the crimes, but it's nearly a year before their linked lives truly converge. After a devastating tornado, the entire town is quarantined and the adults are descending into violent madness. The five teens seem to be the only ones who realize something terrible is happening; they struggle both to stay alive and unravel what's really going on and who is responsible. While the number of protagonists can be confusing at times, their alternating stories are all compelling. Great dialogue and intriguing subplots add to the action-packed story, which will have readers frantically flipping pages. Wasserman sustains a truly spooky mood throughout, and the suspense doesn't let up until the final pages.—Sunnie Lovelace, Wallingford Public Library, CT

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780375868771
Publisher:
Random House Children's Books
Publication date:
09/10/2013
Pages:
464
Sales rank:
322,970
Product dimensions:
6.04(w) x 8.38(h) x 1.40(d)
Lexile:
870L (what's this?)
Age Range:
14 - 17 Years

Meet the Author

ROBIN WASSERMAN is the critically-acclaimed author of the Seven Deadly Sins series, Hacking Harvard, the Skinned trilogy, and The Book of Blood and Shadow. She lives in Brooklyn.

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