Anti-Valentine's Day Reads

Valentine's Day does not always garner warm and fuzzy feeling.  For many of us, we might not be feeling especially romantic or generally think the holiday is a bunch of ooshy gooshy claptrap. In fact, my younger brother and his friends used to celebrate the "St. Valentine's Day Massacre" by throwing a party (often a drunken one) at a local laundromat on Valentine's Day.  Either way, if you are celebrating in drunken revelry at the laundromat or looking for a non-romantic read, we have some suggestions for you:

Heart-Shaped Box by Joe Hill

Aging death-metal rock legend Judas Coyne is a collector of the macabre: a cookbook for cannibals...a used hangman's noose...a snuff film. But nothing he possesses is as unique or as dreadful as his latest purchase off the Internet: a one-of-a-kind curiosity that arrives at his door in a black heart-shaped box...a musty dead man's suit still inhabited by the spirit of its late owner. And now everywhere Judas Coyne goes, the old man is there--watching, waiting, dangling a razor blade on a chain from his bony hand.

My Heart is a Chainsaw by Stephen Graham Jones

Chainsaw is a bullet train homage to slasher films. Jones takes you on a gory, twisted, and fully engaged ride. We spend the entirety of the book inside the head of Jade, a traumatized young woman preparing to graduate from high school. But her trauma has led her to view the world through the lens of apparently every slasher film ever made. This is like an unabridged master class on Michael Myers, Jason, Freddy, etc. So much so, in fact, by the time he puts the pedal to the metal you have come to suspect EVERYONE. Including our (maybe?) unreliable narrator. This is a really good story, and an even better character study of Jade- a young Native American who is shaped and created by her experience as the outsider Native American. -- Kevin

Pretty Little Liars  by Sara Shepard

Never trust a pretty girl with an ugly secret. Set in ultra-trendy Rosewood, Pennsylvania, Pretty Little Liars centers around four beautiful girls who are hiding some very ugly secrets, and the one person who knows them all...and is not afraid to spill. Perfect for fans of One of Us is Lying, The Cousins, and A Good Girl's Guide to Murder, this first book in Sara Shepard's #1 New York Times bestselling Pretty Little Liars series will introduce new readers to the thrilling and magnetically compelling world of Pretty Little Liars, where everyone's got something to hide, and no secret stays buried for long.

a good girl's guide to murder by Holly Jackson

Andie Bell was killed by her boyfriend her senior year, everyone in town thinks so. Pip is determined to prove them wrong with her smarts, cunning, and a severe case of hyper-fixation. Diabolically well written, this book will have you guessing the whole way through and screaming at the end. 

The Girls by Emma Cline

Northern California, during the violent end of the 1960s. At the start of summer, a lonely and thoughtful teenager, Evie Boyd, sees a group of girls in the park, and is immediately caught by their freedom, their careless dress, their dangerous aura of abandon. Soon, Evie is in thrall to Suzanne, a mesmerizing older girl, and is drawn into the circle of a soon-to-be infamous cult and the man who is its charismatic leader. Hidden in the hills, their sprawling ranch is eerie and run down, but to Evie, it is exotic, thrilling, charged--a place where she feels desperate to be accepted. As she spends more time away from her mother and the rhythms of her daily life, and as her obsession with Suzanne intensifies, Evie does not realize she is coming closer and closer to unthinkable violence.

The Vegetarian by Han Kang

Before the nightmares began, Yeong-hye and her husband lived an ordinary, controlled life. But the dreams--invasive images of blood and brutality--torture her, driving Yeong-hye to purge her mind and renounce eating meat altogether. It's a small act of independence, but it interrupts her marriage and sets into motion an increasingly grotesque chain of events at home. As her husband, her brother-in-law and sister each fight to reassert their control, Yeong-hye obsessively defends the choice that's become sacred to her. Soon their attempts turn desperate, subjecting first her mind, and then her body, to ever more intrusive and perverse violations, sending Yeong-hye spiraling into a dangerous, bizarre estrangement, not only from those closest to her, but also from herself.