Born Scared is not a "scary" book in the classic sense, although it is indeed a fast paced, many levelled psychological thriller about fear, (what else would you really expect from Brooks after all), but it is a story that I had to gird my loins to read. And not just because reading Brooks' 2013 book The Bunker Diary was such a traumatic experience.
Elliot is a boy who is afraid of everything, barely functioning, completely terrified all the time, with only the edge taken off by medication. He only feels safe with three people; his mother, aunt and doctor and he talks to his dead twin sister, who acts as his braver alter ego who helps him in times of terror, of which there are many. This makes him an uncomfortable protagonist to identify with - why would I like this neurotic, disturbed and friendless character? Only I did, Brooks made me care and then I was caught up in Elliot's struggle and completely hooked into the horrifying scenario that ensued, right up until the surprising conclusion, that I couldn't possibly give away!
Do I think we should have Born Scared in our Intermediate library? Absolutely! Will it challenge some of our students? Oh I hope so!