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August 21, 2023

Night of the Living Queers: 13 Tales of Terror & Delight ed. by Shelly Page & Alex Brown ~ a Review

by MK French

Night of the Living Queers
has stories written by Vanessa Montalban; Kalynn Bayron; Rebecca Kim Wells; Kosoko Jackson; SMP Alex Brown; Trang Thanh Tran; Maya Gittelman; Em X. Liu; Shelly Page; Tara Sim; Ayida Shonibar; Ryan Douglas.

Amazon affiliate links are used on this site. A free book was provided for an honest review.

book cover of young adult short story collection Night of the Living Queers
August 2023; Wednesday Books;  978-1250892980
ebook, print (304 pages); YA anthology

The collection opens with Vanessa Montalban's "Welcome to the Hotel Paranoia," where a Halloween party is being held in a hotel abandoned soon after it was built, the ground once sacred. If you think of the song "Hotel California" you might be prepared. From there, the hauntings and creatures are present, with a last-minute twist to heighten the horrors. Not all of the characters are clueless victims, like in Alex Brown's "The Three Phases of Ghost Hunting," which I found absolutely adorable. Trang Thanh Tran wrote "Nine Stops," bringing me back to Queens and the crowded subways and the fears about the animals in the tunnels and what happens if someone is pushed. 

My favorite story is Maya Gittelman's "Leyla Mendoza and the Last House on the Lane." The terror that the town has for the weird house and its vines leaves Leyla entranced, as the person everyone expects to see isn't who Leyla is. It's a beautiful and hopeful story in the midst of potential horror and gave me shivers in a good way. A close second is "Anna" by Emily Page, taking us back to ghosts, Ouija boards, and the risk of possession. Overall, this is a fun collection of Halloween stories starring various queer people. Sometimes they win, sometimes they lose, but the reader gets the experience of it all.

Born and raised in New York City, M.K. French started writing stories when very young, dreaming of different worlds and places to visit. She always had an interest in folklore, fairy tales, and the macabre, which has definitely influenced her work. She currently lives in the Midwest with her husband, three young children, and a golden retriever.

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