Guest Post: A Book That Scares Michelle Hodkin

(Design & illustration by Robert Roxby)

By Michelle Hodkin, author of THE UNBECOMING OF MARA DYER

When Nova first asked me to participate, I was insanely excited. I love horror—movies, novels, all of it—and I couldn’t wait to share some of my all-time favorites with you.

But then. Then I read a YA novel that came out this September called Ashes, by Ilsa Bick. And when I tore through it in less than six hours, after promising myself “Just one more chapter,” and then tearing through it to get to the next one, after the chilling descriptions of a too-real, too-possible apocalyptic future gave me goosebumps, I knew I had to post about that book instead.

“In another life, they might have been a couple, having a picnic.

Except these kids weren’t munching sandwiches.

There was also a woman, a grandmotherly sort who lay flat on the ground, head thrown back, mouth unhinged. A pair of eyeglasses on a keeper chain dragged in the dirt. Judging from the dried rills of blood on her right cheek, that eye was gone.

So was her throat.

The skin was ripped, the knobby tube of her windpipe slopping out like a fleshy tapeworm. The blood–and there had been a lot of it–had dried to rust in a wide bib over the woman’s chest. From the way her hands were clawed, Alex thought she’d been clutching her belly when she died. Hadn’t done the woman any good either, judging from the way her guts boiled out in a dusky, desiccated tangle, like limp spaghetti.

The boy and girl were eating.”

Yes, I chose a cannibalization excerpt to share, but this book is about so much more than the “zombie apocalypse.” It’s about survival. Hope. Loyalty. And Alex, the protagonist, could give Katniss Everdeen a run for her money. But what makes this book even more compelling?

The science behind it is all real.

Michelle Hodkin grew up in Florida, went to college in New York, and studied law in Michigan. When she isn’t writing, she can usually be found prying strange objects from the jaws of one of her three pets. The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer is her first novel.

Visit Michelle at

Follow @michellehodkin 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.

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