Happy Thanksgiving to all our US based readers! Haley here! For this themed Thursday I thought I would stay true to the holiday and talk about, you guessed it, cannibalism! – You thought I was going to say gratitude didn’t you?
Nope, today, all my books portray food and eating (various things) in profoundly horrific ways. I’m always hungry for more (not sorry) comparable titles, so let me know in the comments if there are any staples (see what I did there?) I missed or need to have on my radar!
The Troop by Nick Cutter (Adult)The Troop by Nick Cutter
Published by Gallery Books on February 25, 2014
Once a year, scoutmaster Tim Riggs leads a troop of boys into the Canadian wilderness for a three-day camping trip—a tradition as comforting and reliable as a good ghost story and a roaring bonfire. But when an unexpected intruder—shockingly thin, disturbingly pale, and voraciously hungry—stumbles upon their campsite, Tim and the boys are exposed to something far more frightening than any tale of terror. The human carrier of a bioengineered nightmare. An inexplicable horror that spreads faster than fear. A harrowing struggle for survival that will pit the troop against the elements, the infected ... and one another.
Subgenres: Survival Horror/ Body Horror
I don’t think you can have any sort of list of horror novels that involve eating or food and not include The Troop. This book has some of the most stomach turning scenes I have ever read in horror and that’s high praise. There are so many scenes I could recount but instead I’ll just tell you that a boy scout troop finds themselves stranded on an island with someone- or something- that is so hungry he eats everything, and I mean everything, in sight. This book deserves all the trigger warnings and I suggest abstaining from food while reading it.
The Ravenous by Amy Lukavics (YA)The Ravenous by Amy Lukavics
Published by Harlequin Teen on September 26, 2017
From the outside, the Cane family looks like they have it all. A successful military father, a loving mother and five beautiful teenage daughters. But on the inside, life isn't quite so idyllic: the Cane sisters can barely stand each other, their father is always away, and their neglectful mother struggles with addiction and depression.
When their youngest and most beloved sister, Rose, dies in a tragic accident, Mona Cane and her sisters are devastated. And when she is brought back from the dead, they are relieved. But soon they discover that Rose must eat human flesh to survive, and when their mother abandons them, the sisters will find out just how far they'll go to keep their family together.
Subgrenres: Contemporary Horror / Coming of Age / Haunting
I actually just finished this one recently and it was as much a character study in the complex relationships of five sisters struggling with an absent father and emotionally unavailable mother as it was dealing with the youngest sister who, after being resurrected from the dead, must eat human flesh- or else. I cannot say much more without spoiling things. Suffice it to say that Lukavics isn’t afraid to shock her readers and that bravery pays off well when it comes to the horrific reality the Cane sisters find themselves in. While it might not be the most popular title on this list, I highly recommend it!
The Hunger by Alma Katsu (Adult)The Hunger by Alma Katsu
Published by G.P. Putnam’s Sons on March 6, 2018
Evil is invisible, and it is everywhere.
Tamsen Donner must be a witch. That is the only way to explain the series of misfortunes that have plagued the wagon train known as the Donner Party. Depleted rations, bitter quarrels, and the mysterious death of a little boy have driven the pioneers to the brink of madness. They cannot escape the feeling that someone--or something--is stalking them. Whether it was a curse from the beautiful Tamsen, the choice to follow a disastrous experimental route West, or just plain bad luck--the 90 men, women, and children of the Donner Party are at the brink of one of the deadliest and most disastrous western adventures in American history.
While the ill-fated group struggles to survive in the treacherous mountain conditions--searing heat that turns the sand into bubbling stew; snows that freeze the oxen where they stand--evil begins to grow around them, and within them. As members of the party begin to disappear, they must ask themselves "What if there is something waiting in the mountains? Something disturbing and diseased...and very hungry?"
Subgenres: Historical Horror / Supernatural Horror / Survival Horror
It seems quite fitting to include a retelling of the tragedies that befell the Donner Party when they crossed the Sierra Nevada Mountains on the way California in search of a better life and bright future. Some thing stalks the isolated, starving group- something thirsty for their blood. Katsu’s novel ripples with dread and desperation. Its a slow burn story with plenty of character development and tension in both its setting and plot. All I can say is that you will devour this book.
Brother by Ania Ahlborn (YA)Brother by Ania Ahlborn
Published by Gallery Books on September 29, 2015
From the bestselling horror author of Within These Walls and The Bird Eater comes a terrifying novel that follows a teenager determined to break from his family’s unconventional—and deeply disturbing—traditions.
Deep in the heart of Appalachia stands a crooked farmhouse miles from any road. The Morrows keep to themselves, and it’s served them well so far. When girls go missing off the side of the highway, the cops don’t knock on their door. Which is a good thing, seeing as to what’s buried in the Morrows’ backyard.
But nineteen-year-old Michael Morrow isn’t like the rest of his family. He doesn’t take pleasure in the screams that echo through the trees. Michael pines for normalcy, and he’s sure that someday he’ll see the world beyond West Virginia. When he meets Alice, a pretty girl working at a record shop in the small nearby town of Dahlia, he’s immediately smitten. For a moment, he nearly forgets about the monster he’s become. But his brother, Rebel, is all too eager to remind Michael of his place…
Subgenres: Domestic Horror / Body Horror / Coming of Age
This is my second book by Ania and while it is not my favorite it is strong showing for a horror novel about a cannibalistic family living in a “very” rural location. Its basically The Texas Chainsaw Massacre f Leatherface laid down his chainsaw and developed a conscious. Michael doesn’t love the family business- especially the girls who scream in the barn all. night. long.- but he also doesn’t know what to do to stop it. What follows is a gruesome coming of age story that challenges the ideas of family loyalties and isn’t afraid to go dark and stay there. If you cannot stomach harm to animals, I would recommend skipping this one altogether, but it is a must read for any lover of cannibalistic horror (yes I’m declaring it a genre- any other questions?).
Ration by Cody T Luff (Adult)Ration by Cody T. Luff
Published by Apex Book Company on August 13, 2019
Cynthia and Imeld have always lived in the Apartments. A world where every calorie is rationed and the girls who live there are forced to weigh their own hunger against the lives of the others living in the building. It’s a world where the threat of the Wet Room and Ms. Lion always lingers, and punishments are doled out heavily both by the Women who oversee them and the other girls.
When Cynthia is wrongly accused of eating an “A” ration which leads to the death of another girl, her peers punish her harshly. In seeking revenge, she is forced from the only home she has ever known, out into the broader world with one of the Women—Ms. Glennoc—who has tormented her for years. Hunger mixes with politics, intrigue, and social status, and Cynthia needs to figure it out quickly if she’s going to survive and make it back to the Apartments to save Imeld.
With her friend and Ms. Glennoc gone, Imeld is lost. Ms. Tuttle forces her to step into Ms. Glennoc’s shoes, taking on the role of a Woman in charge of all the girls, the punishments, and the Wet Room. The new role feels wrong, especially as Ms. Tuttle’s behavior becomes more and more erratic. Imeld can’t turn her back on the other girls in the Apartments, but how can she save them when she isn’t sure how to save herself? If they rebel against Ms. Tuttle and the other Women, will they starve?
Set in the far future, Ration is an unflinching take on the ways society can both thrive and go wrong as the pressure to survive builds.
Subgenres: Dystopian / Body Horror
My last recommendations is actually one of my favorites! In a distant future, all men have died and a select few have established a world that runs on calories. Imeld and Cynthia are two sixteen year old girls that live in a building called “The Apartments”. It is a place where food is rationed and consequences of “overeating” come quickly, both from The Women who run the institution and the cohorts of girls who dwell in the rooms. Then one night, Cynthia is accused of eating an “A” ration, which ultimately leads to the death of another girl. Her actions land her on the streets along with one of The Women: Ms. Glennoc. In the meantime, Imeld is forced to fill Ms. Glennoc’s shoes, the punished now becoming the punisher. What follows is a character driven story full of hunger, revenge, politics, and the harsh reality of what it means to be human while doing whatever it takes to survive.
Hungry For More?
Well, those are all my food and eating centered horror recommendations for now! Have you read any of these? Are there any others I should pick up? Happy Thanksgiving everyone, I hope this post didn’t impede your appetite!