Monday, March 10, 2014
Serial Killers in YA: A (Creepy) History
Welcome to the second (and final!) week of Spies, Alter Egos and Serial Killers. Last week I looked at Spies and Alter Egos, with a review of Sekret and a look at Author Alter Egos.
This week we'll turn to serial killers. Today, I'll look at YA serial killer books over the past decade, and on Wednesday I'll compare and contrast two upcoming books about teen girl serial killers, Killer Instinct and Dear Killer. On Trending Thursday, I'll look at serial killer trends and discuss the YA Serial Killer Book Credibility Problem, and on Friday I'll have another serial killer book giveaway.
There have been a fair number of YA serial killer books over the last decade. Synopses are mine and links lead to the books' Goodreads pages.
Acceleration by Graham McNamee (Wendy Lamb, 2003)
In the lost and found of the Toronto subway, a boy finds the secret diary of a serial killer and hopes to stop him.
The Christopher Killer by Alane Ferguson (Viking, 2006)
A girl who assists her father, the county coroner, finds herself stalked by a serial killer.
Wish You Were Dead by Todd Strasser (Egmont, 2009)
After an anonymous blogger wishes a popular girl would die, she turns up dead and everyone wonders who will be next.
The Body Finder by Kimberly Derting (Harper, 2010)
A girl who can sense the "echoes" of the dead becomes embroiled in a murder investigation.
I Am Not a Serial Killer by Dan Wells (Tor, 2010)
A fifteen year old boy who fears he'll become a serial killer helps the police in a murder investigation.
Slice of Cherry by Dia Reeves (Simon Pulse, 2011)
The two daughters of a notorious serial killer go on a vengeful murder spree.
Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson (Putnam, 2011)
A girl arrives at a London boarding school to discover that a Jack the Ripper copycat is on the loose.
Envy by Gregg Olsen (Splinter, 2011)
Twins Hayley and Taylor use their telepathic powers to solve murders in their creepy town.
I Hunt Killers by Barry Lyga (Little, Brown, 2012)
The son of a notorious serial killer uses his unique insights to aid the police in the hunt for a killer.
Ripper by Stefan Petrucha (Philomel, 2012)
A young boy in turn-of-the-century New York helps the Pinkerton Agency and Police Commissioner Teddy Roosevelt search for a serial killer.
Slide by Jill Hathaway (Balzer + Bray, 2012)
Vee uses her ability to "slide" into others' consciousnesses to solve a series of murders at her school.
Ripper by Amy Carol Reeves (Flux, 2012)
A young girl in turn-of-the-century-London has visions of Jack the Ripper.
The Diviners by Libba Bray (Little, Brown 2012)
In 1920s New York, smalltown girl Evie realizes that her psychic gift might help catch creepy serial killer Naughty John.
Slide by Jill Hathaway (Balzer + Bray 2012)
A girl with a paranormal ability to "slide" into others' consciousness tries to stop a serial killer at her high school.
Ten by Gretchen McNeil (Balzer+ Bray 2012)
In this Agatha Christie update, a group of teens is trapped on a remote island with a vengeful killer.
Velveteen by Daniel Marks (Delacorte 2012)
After being murdered by a serial killer, Velveteen lands in purgatory and is determined to haunt her murderer.
Shadowlands by Kate Brian (Hyperion 2013)
A girl who survived an attack by a serial killer enters witness protection on a mysterious island.
Marie Antoinette, Serial Killer by Katie Alender (Scholastic 2013)
Colette's class trip to Paris is marred by a ghostly Marie Antoinette on a murder spree.
Impostor by Susanne Winnacker (Razorbill 2013)
A girl with the ability to transform into others changes herself into a murder victim to stop a serial killer.
The Naturals by Jennifer Lynn Barnes (Hyperion 2013)
The FBI gathers a team of teens with psychic abilities to help solve murders.
New Additions 2014:
Nearly Gone by Elle Cosimano (Kathy Dawson 2014)
A high school student and an undercover cop team up to stop a serial killer preying on high school students.
Dear Killer by Katherine Ewell (Katherine Tegen 2014)
A high school student in London works as a hired killer.
Killer Instinct by S. E. Green (Simon Pulse 2014)
A teenager with dark urges starts researching serial killers.
YA Serial Killer Books tend to have certain elements, some of which overlap in a single book:
Paranormal: There are a lot of "special abilities" and "psychic gifts" going on in books like The Body Finder, The Naturals, Impostor, Slide and The Diviners. Other books, like Name of the Star and Marie Antoinette, Serial Killer have ghostly twists.
Historical: Serial killer books like Ripper, The Diviners, The Name of the Star, and Marie Antoinette, Serial Killer either take place in the past, or have past killers who haunt the present.
Psychology and Identity: In books like Slice of Cherry, I Am Not a Serial Killer, or I Hunt Killers, a teen protagonist grapples with his or her own family history and dark urges.
Scooby Gang/Teen Sleuth: This is an element in most, if not all, YA Serial Killer books. In books like I Am Not a Serial Killer, Slide, Acceleration, or Velveteen, the protagonist falls more into the "lone wolf" investigator that you'd see in an adult serial killer book, while books like The Body Finders, Impostor, the Naturals, and Name of the Star feature the ever-popular Scooby Gang.
What are your favorite YA Serial Killer books? Did I miss any? Please let me know in comments.
Then stop back on Wednesday, when I talk about a new-ish trend, I Am a Girl Serial Killer, Hear Me Roar and on Thursday, when I discuss various Serial Killer Trends, some of which are good news indeed...