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Young adult book reviews for ages 12 and up - middle school and high school students

*The Devouring: Sorry Night* by Simon Holt- young adult book review  
The Devouring: Sorry Night
by Simon Holt
Grades 7+ 240 pages Little, Brown September 2008 Hardcover    

What can a person say about a novel meant to stoke those inner fears that lurk deep within us all? For those readers who love a full menu of blood, gore, demonic horrors brought to life and a twist of originality, The Devouring: Sorry Night by Simon Holt will be right up your alley.

The Goth horror genre is not always rife with the best of plots; this novel is above average quality in that department. These novels are also known for usually focusing more on the arenas of terror that are the whole point in reading them. Holt holds his own with the with his many demonic, hallucinatory, and nauseatingly descriptive gore sequences.

Sorry Night is December 22nd, which happens to be the very night I read this book. Coincidental, of course, but somehow the midnight spookiness deepened the lurking shadows outside the lamp's small circle of light. Because such a setting is also a Vourís dream feast, the bone-chilling quality of several of the more vividly descriptive and demented parts of the novel really came to life.

Vours are evil, formless creatures that hunt their prey on Sorry Night. They feed off fear, crave warmth of any kind, and suck away their victimís soul to a version of Hell while the Vour becomes a permanent inhabitant of the victimís body. Reggie, a teenager with recent abandonment issues and a lot of adult responsibilities, uncovers a handwritten journal that tells the tale of a girlís plight as she deals with her brother who was inhabited by a Vour.

Reggie is a huge horror geek, spellbound by the story that spins out in the brittle spidery script of this old unpublished journal. Not thinkking it to be anything but the result of great imagination and a perfect way to enjoy the thrill of fear, Reggie soon finds that black magic of sorts has made Vours more real than she could believe.

Sorry Night brings about a truth and life-altering experience that Reggie will need to devourto save her young brotherís soul from the clutches of an evil Vour. How can she triumph against a foe that shows little weakness and a psychic strength capable of paralyzing, even killing its victims? As the plot unfolds, manic scenes of the most horrid, nightmarish sort begin to culminate. The race to overcome fear and beat an unbeatable enemy sends Reggie into one of these wicked nightmares that could physically kill her.

After getting well into this story, the gruesome descriptions and nightmarish quality of the plot begin to grow a bit old. Originality is by no means lacking, but the ideas behind Stephen Kingís It do come to mind as the concepts of fear, evil, and the susceptibility of innocent children to these psychological traumas become more and more pronounced.

A good many of the shocking aspects and demented ravings that take place in one of the most demonic representations of a childís nightmare are nearly too much for the average adult, let alone a tween. As a Goth horror entry, this novel meets expectations without a doubt. However, for the specified target audience, the mark is widely missed. Parents of tweens and younger are advised to read this one for yourself before passing it on to your child. While innocence today seems to exist less and less, children are still children, and this book can give a good many blood-curdling nightmares to even the more stout of heart.
Young adult book reviews for ages 12 and up - middle school and high school students

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