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Guest Post: A Book That Scares Suzanne Young

(Design & illustration by Robert Roxby)

By Suzanne Young, author of A NEED SO BEAUTIFUL 

What makes a story scary to me…

Short answer: Heartbreak.

Long answer: I grew up with an older brother seven years my senior. We got along great—even skipped school a few times to go to the zoo. But from the time I was in second grade, I was watching horror movies. Like, slasher/demon/MESSED-UP horror movies. So one can say I’m desensitized. But through my own experiences and life-numbing lessons, I’ve found that one thing KILLS me in books and movies—Heartbreak.

I recently read Don’t Breathe a Word by Jennifer McMahon and I won’t give anything away, but it’s creepy and even odd. But more than that it has a mix of contemporary and fantasy, the idea that you don’t quite know what’s real. And in that are elements of true grief and heartache. That’s the stuff that terrifies me. I’m a cautious person emotionally, and the idea that I can love something only to have it ripped away keeps me awake at night. Which is why for most books, I read the ending first—as if I can prepare myself for what’s to come so it won’t hurt as much.

I recently wrote an adult horror novel where fingers were amputated and old witches were killed, and this will make ME sound really creepy—but it didn’t bother me to write. Separating two people who are in love, that scares me. In that vulnerability I find terror.

I’m tender-hearted, what can I say?

Suzanne Young is a brilliant scientist. Not really. But she is a former middle school teacher turned zookeeper (mother). When Suzanne’s not fending off zombie squirrels she can be found in Portland, Oregon, writing obsessively. Suzanne is the author of several young adult novels including A Need So Beautiful and A Want So Wicked.

Visit Suzanne at

Follow @suzanne_young on Twitter.

Comment on this guest blog and you’ll gain an extra entry for the big Halloween giveaway on October 31, containing prize packs of signed books plus books and ARCs donated by my publisher Penguin Teen!  


Here’s a sneak peek of some books I’m giving away:

You can keep track of all the “What Scares You?” guest blogs with this tag.

19 thoughts on “Guest Post: A Book That Scares Suzanne Young

  1. It’s true that heartbreak is very scary but I had never thought of it as such before! Great new way to look at it.

  2. Oh, I am totally with you. My own greatest fears are what I am too scared to read about–I can’t read about children dying since having kids, for example. I think loss and heartbreak are terrifying, and I love that you chose this book to write about in your scary post!🙂

  3. I totally understand what you mean. I hate the idea of being separated from someone I love, or anyone else having to go through that feeling.

    I must admit, though, that my greatest fear recently is serial killers. Especially those that target children. ><

  4. Great post, Suzanne! I’m right there with you. Heartbreak is terrifying. My recurring nightmare is that my dude will leave me.

  5. What scares me the most is nightmares that seem so real!!! I hate it when I dream about something and I wake up in a cold sweat with muscle spasms wondering if the dream that I just had was real, fictional, or something that might happen later on in life. Nightmares scare me!!!!

  6. I know that “Don’t Breathe a Word” isn’t typically thought of as a really scary story, but the little girl on the cover gives me the heebie jeebies. Heartbreak is incredibly scary and I think most of us would do almost anything to avoid it.

  7. Ha, Suz, I am not surprised to hear this from you, but I spose I already knew this fact about you. Still, that kind of pain is something to fear, and so many people naturally guard themselves against it even if they don’t realize it. Besides, that cover alone is its own brand of creepy…. Good pick, and awesome post. =)

  8. I LOVED Don’t Breathe a Word. Absolutely loved it. And I know what you mean. Doesn’t help that I’m going through a heartbreak right now either.

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