Title: Extremities: Tales of Death, Murder and Revenge
Author: David Lubar
Publisher: TOR Teen
Pub Date: 07/23/13
Top 25: No
Convince us to read the book: Extremities is a short story collection with very solid craftsmanship and sinister overarching themes, conveniently expressed in the subtitle: Tales of Death, Murder and Revenge! I picked this up because I like creepy stories and also because the blurb advertised the book as similar to David Lubar’s previous short story collections (the Weenies books), which I enjoyed in middle school, but darker and aimed at an older audience. I read all the stories without skipping any in less than two days. Lubar is an expert in the classic short story, telling each macabre tale as if it were a carefully constructed joke. Each has a succinct yet tantalizing set-up and then delivers an effective and often chilling punchline. All these tales are very plot-driven; though the structure and themes are quite similar to each other, it doesn’t get boring or repetitive because of Lubar’s creative situations. The characters do not take center stage, and they don’t need to.
Memorable or Forgettable: This collection is memorable because it is infused with the kind of dark humor and concise yet suspenseful style that I really enjoy. The stories are varied within the horror/thriller genre and the book was difficult to put down. This would make an excellent camping or road trip book, especially for sharing some of the shorter stories out loud with friends in the dark.
Cover: The cover gets the point across. Each story in the book gets its own creepy, sketchy ink drawing to set the mood, and including one of these on the cover with added color is a clever idea. The drippy, scrawled font for the title is also a nice touch.
Age Range: 12 through 17
Quality: 4Q Better than most
Popularity: 4P Broad general teen appeal
Additional Comments: Short story collections deserve more attention and recognition in the YA genre. This book was extremely enjoyable and I think others would pick up short stories if there were more available.
tags: short stories / horror / ya lit