Recently I was chatting with one of the teen volunteers at my library. He told me how he watched Scream last night and how much he enjoyed it. A couple of other teens overheard our conversation and chimed in about how much they enjoyed Scream. I instantly lit up and talked about the Drew Barrymore twist at the beginning being homage to Hitchcock. All the teens looked at me strangely and indicated that they were talking about MTV’s new television program Scream. Not the late ’90s thriller that I was talking about.
I immediately went home and watched the first two episodes of Scream, the TV series. Although the series is clearly a remake of the original film it is firmly standing on its own. Because it’s a series the audience is getting the chance to get to know the characters a bit better versus the film. Like the original film the series is current with its cultural references. For example, instead of a television reporter covering the murders like in the film the show has a Sarah Koenig-esque podcaster covering the murders. Additionally, the Scream TV series does an excellent job of showing how technologically savvy and plugged in modern teens are right now.
Scream the series is much more of a mystery than the original film. If you are a reader that is enjoying the Scream TV series you might find these mystery books very interesting.
- Killer Instinct by S.E. Green
This 2015 YALSA Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers title is a fast-paced thrill ride geared specifically for teen readers. Lane on the surface is a typical teenager. However, Lane has a secret hobby/obsession studying serial killers. Now a vicious serial killer has come to her hometown and it is up to Lane to use her skills to stop the serial killer. Scream fans will love this book. It is thrilling; fast paced and has an ending that would make Alfred Hitchcock proud.
- Green River Killer: A True Detective Story by Jeff Jensen
This book is a memoir, true crime and graphic novel all rolled into one amazing story. Jeff Jensen tells the story of his Dad, the lead detective in the hunt for the Green River Killer. What I love best about this story is that it clearly shows empathy for the victims of the crimes and the toll it takes on the law enforcement officers tasked with tracking down the killers. For Scream fans, the imagery will be haunting and it will create a vivid reminder of the ramifications of real violence on society.
- Daughters of Eve by Lois Duncan
When this book was first released in the 1970s, it was criticized as being antifeminist. The author maintained that the story is in fact about the dangerous role overzealous adults can play on young people. This is an issue I have been thinking about a lot since I became a teen librarian. I see both points and the author does a very nice job of showing how the world is filled with lots of nice and not so nice people. The theme of the bullied becoming bullies is as relevant today as it was when it was published in the 1970s. Scream fans will enjoy reading how group dynamics affect individual choice and of course get a kick out of how things can feel simultaneously different and the same from 40 years ago.
- Witches!: The Absolutely True Tale of Disaster in Salem by Rosalyn Schanzer
This book is mesmerizing. It is a page-turner; visually terrifying and sourced compellingly. The two most crucial parts of this book’s success is the narrative structure treatment of the subject matter. It reads like a traditionally formatted crime television program (Law & Order SVU). This makes the plotting fast-paced and constantly leaves the reader with the feeling of “What happens next?” The second part of this book’s success deals with the treatment of the subject matter as fact not as a dramatic device. Many times our first exposure to the Salem Witch Trials is from Arthur Miller’s play “The Crucible.” This is a fine play but at times doesn’t paint a fully realized portrait of the stark reality of puritanism. Schnazer provides a full context of the people and time period. As a chilling result, the reader finds himself or herself not sympathizing with the hysteria of the time but instead having a broader understanding of the time period. This was a fantastic read and a book that we should all reach to whenever a teen patron asks about the television series Scream.
My favorite part about teen reads is how they are constantly changing and evolving. Just when I get my head wrapped around dystopian fantasy I now get to dive deep into the world of teen thrillers. These are just a few of my favorites. Please share some of yours with me?
-Todd Deck, currently reading Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz