Books are a great storytelling tool for its almost limitless potential. You don’t have to worry about acting or special effects. You just have to make sure that, well, the writing is good. The slasher is one of my absolute favorite subgenres of horror and to see it unhampered in this novel by Ivy Tholen is a sweet surprise.
WHAT IS IT?
Written by Ivy Tholen and first published in 2020, Tastes Like Candy is a slasher novel about a group of high school girls taking on a scavenger hunt for incoming senior students at a carnival outside business hours. Trouble is there’s someone in there with them, picking them off one by one.
WHAT DID I LIKE ABOUT THE BOOK?
Ivy Tholen’s writing is engaging and easy to follow. Not to say there’s lack of any depth as we do get a surprising amount of backstory for the whole ensemble, and it’s a large cast of characters. I’d say it’s pretty commendable considering that it’s less than 300 pages long. We follow the perspective of main girl Violet, who strikes a balance between vulnerability and fighting spirit, which I liked.
What really surprised me is the amount of tongue-in-cheek humor in the book, which isn’t a bad thing as it helps keep the book light and fun, like any respectable teen slasher. It doesn’t come off as forced too and it doesn’t really clash with the book’s darker scenes. The girls take some edibles before conducting the scavenger hunt so almost everyone is high as a kite. Everyone, including the killer, gets a quip or two, and I had to find my footing with that at first but I dug it.
Finally, I do want to talk about the kills. The carnival setting is thoroughly utilized making for some great stalk-and-slash sequences. The killer also puts carnival equipment to good use when it comes to the kills. This makes for some gruesome bloody fun while also keeping the book from being too mean-spirited. Considering the page count of the book, it moves pretty fast after the first kill without sacrificing our sentimentality towards the characters.
In the end, it felt like I was “reading” a slasher movie!
WHAT DIDN’T I LIKE ABOUT THE BOOK?
I’m very pleased with the book but there are moments where a few typos pop up. They aren’t a lot and don’t really break the flow of the book but it did catch my eye when I spot it.
Tastes Like Candy was a delectable treat of a slasher book! Creative kills, sharp wit, and likeable characters make for a satisfying read when you’re in the mood for slaughter bur you also want something that hits the sweet spot.
WHERE CAN I FIND IT?
Tastes Like Candy can be found on Amazon.
Dustin is a horror fan and sometimes short story writer who hails from the Philippines. He likes a lot of the horror genre but usually goes for slashers and arthouse/slowburn stuff. Currently, he’s trying to make up for lost time in the horror literature world by digesting as many horror books as he can.