Book Review: The Boy Meets Girl Massacre (Annotated) by Ainslie Hogarth

25264711Title: The Boy Meets Girl Massacre (Annotated)

Author: Ainslie Hogarth

Genre: Young Adult, Horror, Mystery, Paranormal, Magical Realism

Age Group: Young Adult

Rating: 5 stars

Purchase: Amazon

Review copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Noelle takes a summer nightshift job at the infamous Boy Meets Girl Inn, even though she’s well aware of the grisly murders that happened there decades ago. That’s why she has a diary—to write down everything she experiences in case things go bump in the night. But the inexplicable freezing drafts, the migrating rotten-flesh smell, and the misplaced personal items don’t really scare her. Noelle has bigger problems: her father’s ailing health, her friend Alfred’s inappropriate crush, and the sore spot on the back of her head that keeps getting worse.
When a party commemorating the anniversary of the original killings ends in a ghoulish bloodbath, Noelle’s diary becomes the key piece of evidence for investigators. But the cryptic and often incoherent entries suggest there is more to the bizarre case than can be rationally explained…

After reading and reviewing The Lonely by Ainslie Hogarth, which I thought was an amazing read, I just had to read her second book. The books aren’t related, nor are they part of the same series, but they do have some of the same qualities. Both books have a magical surrealism theme going on, making the reader question what is real and what is just in the character’s minds. I love those types of books, so naturally, I loved this one too.

The book starts out rather cryptic. Noelle and her best friend Alf take on summer nightshift jobs at the infamous Boy Meets Girl Inn – a place where several decades ago, some grisly murders happened. Murders that included the perp eating people. Yep, they’re that horrific. So Noelle and Alf go to the inn hoping to find signs of a haunting, and of course, to invite all their friends (and the kids from school they just want to impress) to the Anniversary – of the murder, of course. Or of the last murder to be precise. But while some strange things happen, like the bathroom light turning on all by itself, Noelle doesn’t really get scared. She has al ot more to worry about – for instance, the diary she started, and that now seems to have a life of its own. Then there’s her Dad’s illness, which makes it almost impossible for him to go out or take care of himself, and leaves her in the tough position of having to be his personal nurse twenty-four/seven. Then there’s also the sore spot on the back of her head. She’s been touching it for years, sometimes even scratching it, but the last few weeks, the pain has been getting worse, and going into patterned space (which usually helps) doesn’t do the trick anymore….

The book has an unique format. We start out with an introduction to the case – apparently the bodies of Noelle and some of her friends were found after a massacre at the inn, and Noelle’s diary is the only piece of evidence that might explain what happened. A film maker bought the diary from a retired detective, in an effort to turn it into a movie. Then we get Noelle’s diary, and from then on, apart from some annotations (like the title suggests), it’s Noelle doing the talking.

I loved the unique format, and I think that, along with the author’s unique writing style, is what worked for me the most. The story isn’t all that original – a haunted inn, a murder/massacre – but the author adds so many cool and fun elements that it reads unlike anything I’ve read before, making it unique. We get the sore spot on Noelle’s head, and wonder what the connection is. Is Noelle seeing ghosts, or is she going crazy? Then in her diary, Noelle says some pretty intense stuff, and again, the reader is left to wonder. The book has a high level of gore though, but for me, I didn’t really mind, if anything, it made Noelle appear more realistic that she talked about gory stuff too.

If you don’t mind books that’ll have you scratching your head (hopefully not on a sore spot, like Noelle) and leave you baffled at the end, and have a high creep factor and some gore, then you should absolutely, definitely, no doubt in my mind, read The Boy Meets Girl Massacre (Annotated). It’s amazing.

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