Review: Clown in a Cornfield

Clown in a Cornfield by Adam Cesare

“Quinn Maybrook just wants to make it until graduation. She might not make it to morning.”

When I first heard about Clown in a Cornfield by Adam Cesare, I had two immediate thoughts: 1) this book is going to be terrifying, and 2) I absolutely had to read it. Needless to say, I was over the moon when I received an early digital copy, and friends, it did not disappoint.

The cover of this book reminded me of an 80s slasher film, which is exactly what the story was like. I assumed it would be more along the lines of “some creepy dude stalks children and casually murders people and terrorizes a town,” but what actually happens is so much more horrifying than that.

The majority of the story takes place over the span of only a few hours, and is an incredibly fast read because there’s so much gruesome action. It opens with an event that takes place a year before the main story, which helps set the stage for why the small town of Kettle Springs is facing a serious generational divide.

The main character, Quinn, has recently moved to town with her father, Dr. Maybrook. She starts hanging out with the popular kids at school, and quickly learns that they have a bad reputation with the older generation in town. The adults think all the teens in town are bad apples with terrible behavior, spend too much time on their phones, and are incredibly rude and childish.

I have to say though, as someone who grew up in a small town, the teens are just bored. I really felt for them, and understood how badly they wanted to find something, anything, to do to pass the time in their boring town.

So when someone plans a barn party in the middle of a cornfield, everyone at school plans to go: all the students, and some creepy ass clowns, too. What starts off as a typical high school party quickly turns into a bloody, gruesome, and truly horrifying night.

If you’re turned off by blood, gore, or violence, this book is not for you. But if you’re like me and enjoy a good run-of-the mill slasher film, you’ll love what happens next. There’s chainsaws, crossbows, pick axes, shotguns, and more. I know, it sounds incredibly violent, and it is.

I’ve never read a horror novel quite like this one before, and it was truly wild. I know it’s marketed as YA, but the only thing “young adult” thing about it is the characters. Everything else that happens in Clown in a Cornfield is enough to turn a grown adult’s stomach, and please even seasoned horror fans.

I found myself cheering for the teenage characters, hoping they would all survive even though I knew there would be causalities. The author’s descriptions were all incredibly detailed, and it left little to the imagination. I cringed so many times while reading, yet wanted more detail at the same time.

Like I said, if you’re a fan of gruesome horror films, I think you’ll like this book. If you’re put off by blood or clowns though, it might be better to pass on this one.

Thank you to Harper Collins Canada and HCC Frenzy for sending me a digital copy of Clown in a Cornfield by Adam Cesare in exchange for an honest review. It comes out on August 25, 2020, and can be purchased wherever books are sold.

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