Title: The Light (Morpheus Road #1)
Author: DJ MacHale
Genre: YA Horror
The only other book I've read by DJ MacHale was the first one in his Pendragon series, chopped here. So this was semi-familiar ground, treading into MacHale's mind.
The Light is an interesting book. It's definitely a hardline horror novel, centering on a kid named Marshall and his best friend Cooper. Marshall's the timid, responsible one, and Cooper is the wild child, so they're good friends. (?) When Cooper gets busted for hocking counterfeit Yankees tickets (more because they're the friggin Yankees than because they're counterfeit), his parents take him out of town for the summer to keep him out of trouble.
The night Cooper leaves, Marshall starts having strange visions of a creepy skeletal dude (see cover of book) that he's been drawing all year. His name's Gravedigger. He's skeletal. He's creepy. (Established.)
The next several hundred pages consist of supernatural stuff haunting Marshall and Sydney--Cooper's hotter, smarter older sister. They go to where Cooper's parents are, at a lake town somewhere, only to find that Cooper's gone missing.
What happens beyond that is straight out of a classic horror film, with plenty of creepy/grotesque stuff and loads upon loads of TENSION. The ratio of tense stuff to downtime is an easy two-to-one.
The ending is sad, or maybe a little bittersweet. I'll say this much: it's definitely the first in a trilogy, in the sense that not enough happens for this to be its own story. All you get after 400 something pages is 1) There's a bad dude, 2) he's looking for something, 3) Marshall's involved somehow.
I'm kind of excited that this book got published. I think it's cool that YA is moving toward "clean horror"--novels that rely on the psychiatric element of fear rather than the gross-blood-hacking-off-limbs-in-your-face fear. If I had done one thing different with this book, I wouldn't have listened to it on audio. I wanted to kick the narrator in his hoo-hoo a couple of times because he was so bleepity blank annoying. Definitely the kind of book I'd rather just read.
Give it a whirl.