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Clown in a Cornfield
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Clown in a Cornfield
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Bram Stoker Award Winner for Superior Achievement in a Young Adult NovelIn Adam Cesare's terrifying young adult debut, Quinn Maybrook finds herself caught in a battle between old and new, tradition and...
Bram Stoker Award Winner for Superior Achievement in a Young Adult NovelIn Adam Cesare's terrifying young adult debut, Quinn Maybrook finds herself caught in a battle between old and new, tradition and...
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  • Bram Stoker Award Winner for Superior Achievement in a Young Adult Novel

    In Adam Cesare's terrifying young adult debut, Quinn Maybrook finds herself caught in a battle between old and new, tradition and progress—that just may cost her life.

    Quinn Maybrook and her father have moved to tiny, boring Kettle Springs, to find a fresh start. But what they don't know is that ever since the Baypen Corn Syrup Factory shut down, Kettle Springs has cracked in half.

    On one side are the adults, who are desperate to make Kettle Springs great again, and on the other are the kids, who want to have fun, make prank videos, and get out of Kettle Springs as quick as they can.

    Kettle Springs is caught in a battle between old and new, tradition and progress. It's a fight that looks like it will destroy the town. Until Frendo, the Baypen mascot, a creepy clown in a pork-pie hat, goes homicidal and decides that the only way for Kettle Springs to grow back is to cull the rotten crop of kids who live there now.

    YALSA's Best Fiction for Young Adults Nominee

 

Awards-

About the Author-

  • Adam Cesare is a New Yorker who lives in Philadelphia. His books include Clown in a Cornfield, Video Night, The Summer Job, and Zero Lives Remaining. He's an avid fan of horror cinema and runs Project: Black T-Shirt, a YouTube review show where he takes horror films and pairs them with reading suggestions.

Reviews-

  • Library Journal

    Starred review from June 1, 2020

    Quinn and her father leave behind bad memories in Philadelphia to start anew in Kettle Springs, MO, where the town mascot is a creepy clown logo from a long-shuttered factory. There is a strange tension between the teens and the adults of Kettle Springs, and the conflict between the old and new ways is reaching a breaking point. A homicidal maniac, dressed as Frendo the Clown, uses a community celebration as cover to end this conflict by taking out the "troublesome teens," with their cell phone videos and disrespectful attitudes, one youngster at a time. Cesare's (Mercy House) latest is a slasher story filled with compelling characters--including those readers will root for and those they cannot wait to see meet a bloody demise. The immersive atmosphere, nail-biting action sequences, and satisfying social commentary results in a thoughtful, campy, and just-plain-fun read for horror fans, especially those who crave a retro feel but still want a story set firmly in the present. VERDICT While this title is marketed to teens, adult readers familiar with the classic horror slasher movies of the 1980s and 1990s should find it appeals. For more modern genre gems, see Stephen Graham Jones's The Last Final Girl or Gretchen McNeil's Ten.

    Copyright 2020 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • School Library Journal

    August 21, 2020

    Gr 9 Up-Quinn and her father move from Philadelphia to the heartland following the overdose death of her mother. Her dad has taken over the practice of the recently retired town physician-office and turnkey home included. Quinn quickly finds herself aligned with the town mischief-makers. Following an explosive Founder's Day parade-replete with denizens in Frendo the Clown costumes and pranks gone horribly awry-the town teenagers head to a cornfield to celebrate in their own way. The party begins normally enough with loud music, cheap beer, and barn dancing, but it quickly escalates as Quinn and her new friends soon discover they are not the only ones who are walking the rows at night. Suddenly, there's a clown in the cornfield and this Frendo definitely isn't there to make friends. But just as they defeat this clown, dozens of heavily armed Frendos come out of the corn taking deathly aim. Cesare brings the slasher film to the page. Once the clowns make their appearance the book kicks into high-gore gear. Fans of the genre will not be disappointed-there's no shortage of the usual tropes. Not much in the way of character development, but readers probably aren't coming to this one looking for much other than the chills and thrills in a quick read. Quinn's ethnicity isn't stated, and partygoers are a mix of races and sexual orientations. VERDICT If blood and guts and teens taking on a murderous clown posse are in your readers' wheelhouse, harvest this one for your collection. Otherwise leave it on the stalk.-Elaine Baran Black, Georgia P.L. Svc., Atlanta

    Copyright 2020 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Kirkus

    June 15, 2020
    A group of teens find themselves under siege by killer clowns in a tiny Midwestern town. Moving from Philadelphia to tiny Kettle Springs, Missouri, wasn't high school senior Quinn Maybrook's idea of a fresh start after her mother's death. After the town's only doctor abruptly quit, Quinn's ER doctor father, Glenn, took over his practice, a deal that included the deed to his rickety old house right next to a cornfield and the shuttered Baypen corn syrup factory, complete with a creepy mural of Frendo the clown, who also serves as the town mascot. Quinn notes the town's dated feel and the palpable tension between teens and adults, which is especially stark at Kettle Springs High. Quinn meets cool kids Cole Hill, whose father owns Baypen, and Janet Murray, who loves to stir things up. When Quinn joins them at a party in a remote cornfield, the fun turns to terror: A murderous army of Frendos armed with crossbows crashes the party. Cesare's twisty prose and believable, easy-to-root-for characters makes this blood-drenched tale of extreme societal unrest disturbingly plausible. Dark humor peppers this clever homage to retro-horror classics, and Cesare barely lets up on the gas once the bloodletting begins. Most main characters, except Janet, who is described as generically Asian, seem to be white. A pulse-pounding thrill ride for retro-horror fans who are not faint of heart (or stomach). (Horror. 14-adult)

    COPYRIGHT(2020) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • Booklist

    Starred review from August 1, 2020
    Grades 9-12 *Starred Review* Quinn is philosophical about moving to Missouri one month into senior year . . . until she actually arrives in Kettle Springs?a small town surrounded by cornfields, tense with simmering resentments?and finds Frendo the clown staring straight into her bedroom window. Or rather, a mural of Frendo, the town mascot, painted on the nearby, dilapidated Baypen factory. Quinn falls in with a close-knit group of friends on her first day of school, serving detention after getting caught up in a showdown with their bio teacher. The group is known for a YouTube channel where they livestream the video feed of their carefully engineered pranks and stunts. Quinn impresses mean girl Janet, who invites her to the high school party of the season at a remote, unused barn that Saturday night. At the party, Quinn has barely enjoyed a drink and a dance when a crossbow-wielding clown strides in, kicking off a chaotic murder spree full of sharp, cinematic action sequences with ample shocks and gore. Cesare avoids clich� by using smart observations from his outsider protagonist, eliciting laughter with a perfect slice of dialogue, and jolting the reader with an unusual motive. This pitch-perfect horror experience can be enjoyed as pure entertainment for its fun retro slasher style, but teen readers will also fully appreciate the sly underlying social commentary.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2020, American Library Association.)

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