Short tale anthology ‘The Black Girl Survives in This One’ defies horror canon  

An object of both admiration and criticism, the Final Girl. Western ideals of a white, virginal woman are all too common. No, not at the moment.

The literary canon of horror is being transformed by "The Black Girl Survives in This One," an anthology of short stories curated by Desiree S. Evans and Saraciea J. Fennell. The editors, who have admitted to enjoying "Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark" and "Goosebumps," have taken their love of horror to the next level with a new anthology that challenges the traditional narratives that relegate Black characters to the role of victims or supporting cast members.  

Tananarive Due does a great job of setting the stage in her outstanding forward, which introduces the fifteen pieces by discussing her personal experiences and the history of Black women in horror media. With unwavering conviction, she asserts that Black women and the genre that has historically ignored them share a common thread: the fight for survival. Once you read these stories, you won't be able to stop thinking about them.  

At times, Brittney Morris's "Queeniums for Greenium!" had me laugh out loud and my heart race because it depicts a cult-like smoothie multi-level marketing company with an insane degree of blind trust. Plus, Monica Brashears's "The Skittering Thing" (with a few eccentric twists) perfectly portrays the terrifying terror of being stalked in the dark.  

The most horrific real-life setting is high school, and many of the stories take place there. Teenage angst and passion abound, along with cliches and terminology that are likely already out of date.  

One of my favorite sections was reading the fifteen authors' perspectives on a Black girl in her late teens. What is her hairstyle like? Who are her friends? Does she have religious beliefs? Where does she reside?   

Does she have a preference for males or girls? Does she seem like a spoiled brat, an ideal student, a goody-twoss, or someone who is simply trying to get through it? There is a wide variety of characters and writers, and each protagonist is distinct.  

We know the Black girl makes it through, but the ending still catches us off guard since we don't know how. "Cemetery Dance Party" by Saraciea J. Fennell is a typical zombie horror, and "Welcome Back to The Cosmos" by Kortney Nash is a scary take on Afrofuturism. Both pieces offer something different to the reader.  

Two of the stories—"Foxhunt" by Charlotte Nicole Davies and "Black Girl Nature Group" by Maika and Maritza Moulite—have strong "Get Out" overtones that fans of Jordan Peele will love. Check out "Black Pride" by Justina Ireland if you're into cryptids and throwbacks. Another option is "TMI" by Zakiya Delila Harris, which is perfect for fans of intelligent protagonists and slow-burn psychological thrillers.  

The book may benefit from omitting a couple of the less compelling stories, and it's on the lengthy side overall. Horror readers will discover new favorites, and it's a great addition to any library of terrifying books.  

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