Reading/Interest Level: Young Adult
Author: Courtney Alameda
Publisher: Feiwel and Friends
Micheline Helsing, the descendant of Professor Van Helsing, has been trained since infancy to fight against the forces of evil with a camera as her only weapon. After a disastrous encounter with a particularly malevolent entity, Micheline and her ghost-fighting comrades are stricken with a life threatening sickness that will have them dead within a week. In order to save herself, her friends, and to prove herself to her distant, controlling father, Micheline tracks down the ghost only to find out it has a personal vendetta against her. Micheline is forced to face grotesque monsters, violent Ouija boards, and seductive vampires as well as her own traumatic memories before being sucked into a horrifying purgatory where she defeats the entity and saves her friends and her relationship with her father.
Movies, television and video games are so oversaturated with vampires, zombies, and ghosts nowadays that they seldom manage to frighten audiences. Courtney Alameda’s Shutter makes things that go bump in the night terrifying again. By coupling fantastical monsters with very real fears, such as the loss of family and abuse, Alameda creates a bone chilling landscape that is filled with adventure and suspense. The novel is not for the faint of heart as it contains intense violence and gore as well as a scene of physical abuse. The story is generally fast paced but occasionally gets bogged down with too many and often confusing details about the monster-hunting world. The weakest aspect is the love story which feels bland and unnecessary. The love interest is indistinguishable from the other two male teenagers present. It is the familial relationships that shine throughout and make Shutter a perfect read for the horror fan who is looking for a fresh and compelling take on supernatural lore.
*Contains mild language, mild sexual content, and severe violence.