Synopses & Reviews
They called it the killing day. Twelve people dead, all in the space of a few hours. Five murderers: neighbors, relatives, friends. All of them so normal. All of them seemingly harmless. All of them now dead by their own hand... except one. And that one has no answers to offer the shattered town. She doesn't even know why she killed — or whether she'll do it again.
Something is waking in the sleepy town of Oleander's, Kansas — something dark and hungry that lives in the flat earth and the open sky, in the vengeful hearts of upstanding citizens. As the town begins its descent into blood and madness, five survivors of the killing day are the only ones who can stop Oleander from destroying itself. Jule, the outsider at war with the world; West, the golden boy at war with himself; Daniel, desperate for a different life; Cass, who's not sure she deserves a life at all; and Ellie, who believes in sacrifice, fate, and in evil. Ellie, who always goes too far. They have nothing in common. They have nothing left to lose. And they have no way out. Which means they have no choice but to stand and fight, to face the darkness in their town—and in themselves.
"Wasserman (The Book of Blood and Shadow) delivers an exceptional horror novel that will lead to inevitable (and deserved) Stephen King comparisons. In the isolated Kansas town of Oleander, five people suddenly go on murder sprees, with four of them committing suicide. A year later, five survivors are united when a storm (and later, soldiers) isolate the town: loner Daniel, closeted jock West, newly evangelical Ellie, outcast Jule, and Cassie the one remaining murderer, who has no recollection of what she did or why. As the days pass, the five grow increasingly aware that everyone else in Oleander is starting to act strange. The characters' own conflicts Jule's family deals meth, West's parents are homophobic, etc. help fuel the tension until the insanity really takes over. While the plot isn't new (see either version of The Crazies), Wasserman juggles a huge cast, intense action, and some truly horrific moments with style and skill. The novel works just as well as mainstream horror as YA, and the ending is both effective and brutal. Ages 14 up. Agent: Barry Goldblatt, Barry Goldblatt Literary. (Sept.)" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"The Waking Dark is a horror story worthy of Stephen King....It’s a violent, edgy, well-written, and foreboding novel, so realistic that readers can only hope it’s simply fiction." Booklist, Starred Review
"Great dialogue and intriguing subplots add to the action-packed story, which will have readers frantically flipping pages. Wasserman sustains a truly spooky mood throughout, and the suspense doesn’t let up until the final pages." School Library Journal, Starred Review
"Masterful pacing and brilliant scene-setting work to make sure readers can’t leave Oleander until the final page." The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, Starred Review
“Suspense, chills, gasps — all that and a gem-like writing style that will make you shiver with beauty and horror. A book you won’t soon forget.” Cassandra Clare, author of the bestselling Mortal Instruments series and Infernal Devices trilogy
About the Author
Robin Wasserman is the critically-acclaimed author of the Seven Deadly Sins series, Hacking Harvard, the Skinned trilogy, and The Book of Blood and Shadow. She lives in Brooklyn.