Title: Barking Madness
Author: Ryan Hill
Genre: Young Adult, Coming of Age, YA Horror, Horror
Seventeen-year-old Rosetta Harper is plagued by nightmares of a masked man. With her father’s new career move, her family has just relocated from Florida, to the small New England town of Ashwood, a quiet town and close-knit community where you know your neighbors, and trouble is a word unspoken. But soon after her arrival, both Rosetta's world and the worlds of her classmates come crashing down.
Michael hates his family and feels alone and unloved. He only finds comfort when he’s with his friends, but even they get on his nerves. Everything about Ashwood and his life bores him, until Rosetta Harper moves into town. With her as a new classmate, Michael finally gets the excitement he was looking for, but it may be at too high a cost...
High School can be hell on its own but there’s a murderer on the loose and no one in Ashwood knows who’ll be next.
Rosetta Harper is a beautiful blonde seventeen-year-old girl and she’s just moved with her family to the small town of Ashwood. Being the new girl is hard but she makes the best of it. Some call her shallow but deep down, she’s lonely and frightened of a masked man invading her dreams.
Michael hates his family, can’t wait to get out of Ashwood, loves playing video games and feels so lonesome. Even his best friend, Kyle, gets on his last nerve. All that changes when he lays eyes on the new girl, Rosetta Harper. He’s taken in by her beauty and charm, even when she’s mean to him.
Rosetta soon starts dating cutie Tommy (football player, all-around stud, etc.) and one night they go to Brad’s house for a party. Everyone starts drinking, including Rose and Tommy, and when Rose wants to go home, Tommy walks with her through the forest. They’re attacked by a giant wolf; Rose’s shoulder is torn apart by the wolf and Tommy brutally dies. Rose would be dead if it wasn’t for Michael rescuing her and fending off the wolf.
Strange deaths start happening to those around Rose and her dreams with the hooded man intensify. Who is this hooded man and what does he have in store for Rose and Michael?
I’m a big horror/paranormal reader and this is one of the best books I’ve read in years. Yes, it’s a long book but that’s one of the things I love about it. There’s so much going on in this intensely complex plot and I don’t have any idea what scene/plot point I’d edit out of the book to make it shorter or to split it into two books. It’s an addictive read and I couldn’t put it down.
The author weaves a spooky tale that at times, scared me as I was reading it. The more I read, the more I grew attached to both Rose and Michael and the more I wondered what was going to happen next. Twists and turns make this one of the most original horror stories I’ve read. There wasn’t anything predictable about it.
A note about the POV: For those of you who abhor dual POV, this may not be the book for you. While I loved the dual POV because I got to see both sides of the story, I understand it’s not preferred for some readers.
The characters are fully developed and yes, there are some characters who I didn’t care for. But like in high school, I hated people who bullied and took advantage of those who were smaller/weaker than themselves.
What made this such a spectacular horror story was the personal reflection of a human being becoming a werewolf. Normally in this genre, we get the view of the victims and the gore that follows werewolf attacks. In Barking Madness, the author plunges us into the psyche of a werewolf transformation. Imagine blacking out and waking up to find you killed your boyfriend/girlfriend/friends/family member. Frightening doesn’t begin to describe that emotion of pure helplessness.
At the core, this is a coming of age story where reality is a nightmare and everyone has issues to deal with. It’s about growing up, falling in love and letting your guard down. It’s about the consequences of drugs, alcohol, bullying, fighting and becoming your own person. At the end of the day, we’re all just barking madness.
Favorite Character: Michael. I could relate to him the most as I was a quiet, geeky girl in high school. I was shy and had my share of guy crushes. Michael is pushed beyond his limits and yet, he still cares for Rose. He loves her by the time we reach the climax (no insta-love here) and he’s the hero of this story in my opinion. He frees himself from all the emotional baggage of his life and tells the truth. He’s brave beyond belief and I loved him as a character. Plus, he loves video games.
“I stood perfectly still and watched the barking madness draw nearer. This is truly the end.”
My Rating: 5+ stars
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Ryan Hill is a YA Fiction writer. Born in Connecticut, Ryan now lives in Massachusetts with his family and is a student at UMass Amherst. His novel appeals to young adult readers and people of any age who are looking for a good psychological thriller. It's a ghost story with a lot of emotion and sarcastic humor. When not in front of his computer writing or studying, Ryan can be found playing Xbox with friends, watching movies (He’s a huge movie buff), or working out at the gym.
Ryan’s knack for writing fiction emerged at an early age, when he wrote stories for his own enjoyment. He decided to put his hand to writing a book at 17, when he came up with the concept for the dark, witty, and suspenseful psychological-thriller, Barking Madness. He enjoyed creating the different layers of characters and relationships in his story, and like any debut author, found it difficult to stop. Science fiction, thrillers, and horror are his favorite genres.
Visit Ryan, as he loves to get messages and friend requests on Facebook, www.facebook.com/RyanHillAuthor. Happy Reading!
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Reviewed by: Mrs. N