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What: Hometown Haunts: #LoveOzYA Horror Tales edited by Poppy Nwosu

Who: Wakefield Press

When: October 31st 2021

How: A copy of this novel was provided by Wakefield Press for review.

One bite of an apple from a family shrine unearths hungry ghosts. A poison garden unfurls a polite boy’s deepest, darkest desires. Interfering with an Indigenous burial site unleashes ancestral revenge, to a metal soundtrack. An underground dance party during Covid threatens to turn lethal. And on the edge of a coastal rainforest, a grieving sister waits to witness a mysterious ‘unravelling’.

This #LoveOzYA anthology – the first to focus entirely on horror – unites a stellar cast of Australia’s finest YA authors with talented new and emerging voices, including two graphic artists.

Contributors are Wai Chim, Sarah Epstein, Alison Evans, Lisa Fuller, Margot McGovern, Poppy Nwosu, Michelle O’Connell, Emma Osborne, Emma Preston, Marianna Shek, Holden Sheppard, Jared Thomas, Vikki Wakefield and Felix Wilkins.

The stories in this wide-ranging collection dig deep and go hard. While some are straight-up terrifying rollercoaster rides, others are psychologically rooted in our society’s deepest fears and concerns: acceptance and fitting in, love and loss, desire and temptation, and the terror of a world threatened by catastrophic change … and even collapse.

Hometown Haunts is the horror anthology of Australian writers that I have been waiting for! Ever since I found out it was going to exist I have been waiting (im)patiently for the time to come for me to read it. And I was not disappointed. Normally, an anthology has more stories that I feel ambivalent towards or straight up dislike but Hometown Haunts is one where I truly enjoyed the majority of the stories.

Instead of reviewing each and every story, I thought I would do a sort of mini review for each of my favourites! So, here they are, in order of appearance:

It’s Quiet Now by Emma Preston

This is one of two short graphic novel stories in the anthology and I adored it! It’s about monsters who stay away from populated and noisy places, so that when cities went into lockdown during COVID the monsters were able to come into the city. I really liked both the story idea and the illustrations. I actually read this one twice!

Euryhaline by Margot McGovern

Euryhaline is a story about a girl who moves from a smalltown to a private boarding school on a swimming scholarship. She’s used to swimming in open water, so at first she’s just a little apprehensive about swimming in the pool, but when she starts seeing something under the water it turns her from apprehensive to straight up freaked out. I loved the eerie vibes of this story, and how as a reader I was along for the ride with the narrator.

Don’t Look! by Lisa Fuller

Out of all the stories I think this one creeped me out the most! And the fact the author said it was written from experience makes it even more creepy. I loved how it had some of the classic haunted house vibes. Remember to leave the light on when you go to the bathroom, and when you hide under the blanket… don’t look!

Angel Eyes by Alison Evans

Since Alison is one of my favourite authors it comes as no surprise that their story was one of my favourites in this anthology! It’s about a queer trans teen werewolf, and these creepy “angels” who want to clean them of their “sin”. Insert creepy body horror here. But also found family, and adorable werewolf teens who protect each other.

Rappaccini’s Son by Holden Sheppard

My favourite thing about this story was that most of it was set in this wild, overgrown greenhouse at the back of a creepy old house. Inside, there’s a boy who seems to know the narrator better than he knows himself. I thought the ending of the story was bittersweet, but also thought this story was such a perfect way to end the anthology!


Overall, Hometown Haunts was absolutely perfect for the spooky season! If you like horror, short story anthologies, and Aussie writers then this is simply a must-read!

© 2021, Chiara @ Books for a Delicate Eternity. All rights reserved.

trigger warning

multiple animal deaths, blood and gore, animal abuse, use of ableist language, body horror, multiple deaths, racism, bullying, sexual assault, deceased sibling (please note this list may not be comprehensive as there were many stories with multiple trigger warnings)

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Posted on: October 31, 2021 • By: Chiara

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