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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.

25 thoughts on “Guest Post: A Book That Scares Michelle Hodkin

  1. It’s on by TBR stack, but I categorically refuse to read this book at night, and lately that’s been my only true reading time. From everything I’ve heard about it, this is a book to read in full daylight and even then it’s liable to scare me silly.🙂


  2. That was…really gross Michelle. Thanks so much for sharing – LOL. Can’t say I’ve ever understood the whole zombie craze, though I love me some delicious post-apocalyptic survival tales. Sounds like Ashes is a combination. I liked Blood Red Road myself; shorter on the zombification, longer on the post-apocalyptic dystopia.

  3. I have Ashes but haven’t gotten a chance to read it yet. Sounds awesome & disgusting! I love me some zombies. Will be moving to the top of my pile now🙂

  4. i just got this book and now i am kind of scared to read it. the hot zone is an insanely scary book as well because it’s actually non-fiction and the scary stuff that you’re reading is actually REAL. shudder. going to have to move ashes up on my tbr pile.

  5. I tore through Ashes as well…completely freaked me out! Mara Dyer is on my to-read list. Great post!

  6. I’ve been hearing a lot about this, but I haven’t really liked any zombie books I’ve read before. I just might pick this one up now, though. Thanks for the guest post! :]

  7. OMG, that was sooooooooooo gross. That confirms my opinion: I am officially too squeamish to read ASHES despite how amazing I keep hearing it is. I’ve been so on the fence. I’m really, REALLY squeamish!

    I’m glad it had you so incredibly enthralled, though, and hope to read a book by Ilsa in the future!

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