Book Review – Clown in a Cornfield by Adam Cesare

Title: Clown in a Cornfield

Author: Adam Cesare

Edition: Paperback ARC – Published on August 25th, 2020!

Page Count: 352 pages

Rating: 5 / 5 ✨✨✨✨✨


Can I first just say how badly I want gory horror to be a standard in YA book releases? I know, I know – a few naysayers think they’re above books marketed at “young adult” audiences, and sometimes even the gory ones can be filled with an overuse of unnecessary romance (there’s a pink neon cover that springs to mind in this vein), but I’m here to tell you that those people are wrong. Sure, YA may not be for them particularly – not everything is for everyone, and that’s okay! – but please don’t let that sway you from giving it a shot! You may find that, although the audience the book is marketed toward is younger than your personal demographic, the teen slasher-esque mayhem that Adam Cesare writes at the peak of this this corn & clown filled nightmare will satisfy even the most experienced veterans of the genre.

City girl Quinn Maybrook is the new kid in town after moving to middle-of-nowhere Kettle Springs from her previous home in Philadelphia with her father, hoping for a fresh new start. Unfortunately for Quinn, the town is a little more behind on the times than she’s used to, and the adults of Kettle Springs don’t seem too eager to help urge it into modernity – much to the dismay of the teens that live there. When she gets into a little bit of trouble at school, Quinn ends up befriending “the wrong crowd”. Things take a turn for the worse when her new friends decide to play a few pranks on the town’s Founder’s Day parade, causing a bloody, violent chain reaction that will either force the Kettle Springs into the ways of the future, or keep it tightly bound to the secrets of the town’s past.

Adam Cesare writes violence and bloodshed like nobody else, and I genuinely have so much fun reading his books that I hope he keeps writing them forever. He has this incredible knack for nailing each gory scene in a way that disgusts, terrifies, and thrills the reader simultaneously, without leaving anything to be desired. His ability to write genuine fear in his characters and make it a palpable experience for the reader in various situations – from the threat of a looming figure outlined in the cornfields, to the terror of being trapped in a fiery building with little chance of surviving – is absolutely unparalleled as far as I’m concerned. There’s a reason he’s my most read author this year! Add to his writing talent the absolute NOPE that is the concept of ‘killer clown’, and this is one of the most terrifying, best books I’ve read all year – definitely in my Top 10 for sure!

Although our main characters are a group of teens, the dialogue and writing aren’t at all juvenile, putting the focus of the story less on the age range of our cast, and more on the horrors that await them. There’s a slow tension that begins to build from the very beginning, and it doesn’t take long for the calmer start in Cesare’s story to ramp up to compulsively page-turning levels of ferocity and chaos. I won’t say too much here because part of the fun in reading this was going along for the heart pounding, adrenaline-spiking ride, but I will say this: you need to read this one if you’re a fan of slashers and excellently written horror.

CLOWN IN A CORNFIELD releases August 25th, so it’s just under a month away now – you can pre-order it here! I read this one back in January and it has been K-I-L-L-I-N-G me because I like to wait until closer to release to post my full reviews, and the anticipation of the approaching publication date was driving me bananas – you may have noticed my repeated sharing of the cover on bookstagram & Twitter, sorry not sorry! Cesare is such a great voice in the genre, and I’m ecstatic to see his work being picked up by a big name like HarperTeen. I truly wish a book like this had come along when I was a teen struggling to find YA fiction that was exciting to read – and I’m happy kids around the world are going to find that with CiaC now!

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2 thoughts on “Book Review – Clown in a Cornfield by Adam Cesare

  1. I’m normally one that shies away from YA but, if the book sounds intriguing I’m willing to risk being let down for a chance at enjoyment.

    Dark, gory and slashy. Sounds like the kind of horror I can get behind. It’s also got a pretty cool cover!

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