A few months ago I was invited to join the super secret online book club called YAckers, i.e.,“Saving the world (and defenseless tortured bunnies) from shitty books.” The name and the description are both awesome, huh? As you can tell anything goes, especially snarky, witty, or irreverent comments on the books we read. We let our gut be our guide. Lucky for me my first month as a member I was randomly selected to be the Keeper of the Book, which means I was responsible for the book choices. From my three nominations, it was a close race but I Hunt Killers by Barry Lyga (my review) won, so that is the book we read and discussed this past month. There are slight spoilers for I Hunt Killers below, so tread carefully.
Laura started off the discussion with this post:
So I started I Hunt Killers a couple of days ago. It’s going to be slow going for me because, THIS SHIT IS SCARY. I can’t read it at night. I am a giant CHICKEN WUSS-which is a Final Fantasy reference, which should tell you that I am a sheltered nerdy type. While I’ve occasionally waded through blood and held severed appendages, that was MEDICINE (which is COOL, not SCARY), seeing things from the eyes of a serial killer (his dad is SICK) doesn’t exactly give me the warm fuzzies. I believe I’m up to page 65. I hereby declare this here to be the start of the discussion, in this post here, ya hear?
Donna: I have a feeling this book may disturb me. And I’m a little worried about the author’s hobbies. But I am the opposite of Laura. I don’t find it scary. Just a bit effed up.
Sya: I’m only a few pages in but must excited by Joe Hill’s blurb on the back.
Sandy: I’m officially done with finals but still have one paper left to write…although that didn’t stop me from getting the book. I’ll be starting tomorrow and hopefully have it done within the next two days. I missed YAcking with you ladies!
Melissa: I meant to get it, but… well… serial killers, blood, not in at the library, and only one copy at work (so I’d actually have to buy it), so I’m taking a pass. Not that I’d have the stomach for it.
Sya: Jazz is a stupid name. Was stupid in Twilight and is stupid here. Also, I totally got your Final Fantasy reference, Laura.
Sya: On reading a bit more, I’ve decided that I’m offended by the double Z. Jaz would be okay.
Sandy: I started today and I’m already halfway through… It is disturbing but I’m still enjoying it o.o
Holly: I’m glad you’re enjoying it, Sandy. I read it in 1.5 days. At night, mind you Laura. Have you read much farther? JUST WAIT – It gets so much better. I think six seasons of Dexter has desensitized me to serial killers.
Sandy: I’ve never watched Dexter but I feel like it since one of the blurbs (was it Cassandra Clare’s?) mentioned the show.
Sya: I’ve finished it and was pretty impressed – creepy as hell.
Donna: I commend Lyga. The places he needed to go to write this must have been horrifying. I’m almost finished and Jazz is having some serious internal battles.
Sya: Yeah, he’s pretty screwed up that Jasper (I refuse to call him Jazz until the extra Z disappears). I liked how it kind of semi-philosophised on the whole “killer inside” thing and riffed on not only nature versus nature but also on indoctrination and free will. I assume the later was why there were all the references to The Crucible which seemed a little heavy handed. It’s unusual to be able to say that there’s nothing quite like it on the YA shelves but there really isn’t anything that matches these themes nor it’s all consuming darkness.
Laura: Alright. So I read ten chapters. That’s what came in the free preview. If it’s alright, I’m going to skip the rest of the book. It’s just too hard to read. The writing isn’t bad. The character is likeable (agree with Sya about the double z) and I would bet that the remainder of the story is just as detailed and developed as the first ten chapters. And there’s the problem. It’s hard enough trying to picture a story when the storytelling is bad. It is just as challenging trying NOT to picture this story because it -is- that detailed. Honestly, the body nailed up on the ceiling? Sorry if that’s a spoiler for anyone but I don’t want that in my head. It’s a scary enough place as it is. I’ll tolerate a little darkness in my fiction, I love a good issue driven contemporary and I’m all for the occasional mind-fucking, but I DON’T WANT TO KNOW -THESE- THINGS.
Donna: Yeah, you may be better off stopping. Things get realer as the novel goes on. I can’t remember if the Draino is introduced by chapter 10 but yeah. It’s there.
Sya: Yeah, it’s quite gruesome. But I quite liked how it was so suddenly introduced that Dear Old Dad was a particularly, er, creative killer. Up until then I’d kind of assumed he’d just been offing people pretty generically and getting away with it. As the book progresses and you realise the depth of his depravity, and Jasper’s knowledge of it, it becomes increasingly disturbing.
Sandy: I agree with Sya *nods* I like that Barry Lyga did not shy away from the gory aspects and that even though Dear Old Dad is effed up, he still makes sense in a weird way. I thought the scene where Jazz went to visit him was perfect and creepy all at once. D:
Donna: I liked the ending. Very unsettling. But I’m not as disturbed by this as I probably should be. Should I be worried? The Draino thing was effed, but totally done in Heathers. CORNNUTS! I don’t know. I’ve seen too many horror movies, I think. The psychology was really good though. Total mind-fuckage.
Sya: Apparently he’s currently working on the next book now, which is great, although I thought that I Hunt Killers worked pretty well on it’s own as well. Also, I have never seen Heathers. Never. Not once. This is probably a bad thing.
Donna: Yes. It’s a very bad thing. You must watch it. Now.
Sya: I will. I only saw Ferris Bueller for the first time a couple of weeks ago…
Donna: I’m truly disappointed. Next you’ll tell me you’ve never seen The Goonies…
Donna: As for the book, I like how Jasper is the vigilante version of his father. He truly is. I’m wondering if he’ll come to terms with this in the next book. No, he’s not a serial killer. He’s just channeling his knowledge and urges in a more Boondock Saints sort of way.
Sandy: I made the mistake of finishing the book last night when it was 3am and raining. I made myself jump more than once whenever rain drops would hit my window.
Donna: Put the lotion in the basket.
So there you have it. There were a few that couldn’t handle the creepy subject matter, but those who did finish I Hunt Killers seemed to like it quite a bit. I have to agree, though, I think Jazz is a pretty silly name as well.