It’s October, which means it’s finally time for me to share all of my spooky book recommendations! This week we’re talking about Survive the Night by Danielle Vega, published in 2015. Vega writes what I like to call “high school horror,” where teens grapple with supernatural horrors alongside more mundane problems like peer pressure and the desire to fit in.
Usually, I’m not a huge fan of media centered around high schoolers and their high school problems, but Survive the Night exceeds my expectations every time. This novel follows Casey, a high schooler who just got out of rehab for drug addiction. Her less than savory friends convince her to go with them to an underground rave in New York City. Along the way, Casey battles with her addiction as well as slasher movie levels of horror and mutilation. The seemingly trivial nature of being peer pressured into going to a party takes on a whole new meaning when people at that party are turning up dead.
The feeling of helplessness is palpable in this book as Casey and her friends stumble around in subway tunnels, trying desperately to find a way out. Danger lurks around every corner, in every shadow there could be a ravenous monster waiting to tear Casey apart. Vega combines the ideas of horror and addiction masterfully, constantly leaving the reader guessing. Is there really a monster, or is Casey just hallucinating? If she is hallucinating, then who ripped her friend in two?
I highly recommend this book to any fans of YA horror, or anyone who is trying to get into the genre. Vega’s unapologetic commitment to brutality and gore make this novel a perfect Halloween read.