The Devouring
Simon Holt
ISBN 0-316-03573-6
Little Brown and Company, 2008
Grade 7 and up

The Vours steal your soul but leave your body, says the mysterious book Reggie finds. A teen who loves to be scared, Reggie decides to tempt the Vours with her fear, with disastrous and chilling results.


Reggie is an avid fan of horror, so much so that she has taken to reading her little brother, Henry, the scary stuff at night. She works at a bookstore specializing in the genre. When a mysterious, handwritten book comes in with a shipment, she sneaks it home without telling her boss. In the leather bound volumes pages, Reggie discovers the story of the Vours and Sorry Night. According to the book, on the eve of the Winter Solstice children become vulnerable to the Vours, who feed on your fear, consuming your soul. Only a shell inhabited by a Vour is left behind. Reggie and her friend Aaron decide to try to summon the Vours one night. Nothing happens to them, but something does happen to Henry. Henry is taken by the Vours and it is up to Reggie and Aaron to rescue him. As the two learn more about the Vours and their weaknesses, Reggie gets closer to rescuing Henry. Reggie follows the Vours into Henry’s fearscape, where she finds Henry. She discovers that the wounds you get in Henry’s head don’t go away when you wake up, adding another threat to the battle. Reggie and Henry fight the Vours with all their power. Although Henry is released by the Vour inside him, Reggie and Aaron know they will be back. But Reggie will be ready.

Critical Evaluation:

A very scary book. This was an excellent read, I only wish I was more frightened by the carnival from hell theme in the horror genre. Otherwise, a wonderfully constructed horror story, creepy and suspenseful.

Curriculum Ties:

Integrate into a psychology class when discussing fear, phobias, etc. Or, compare with classic horror novels that are mention in The Devouring.

Challenge Issues:

Violence and gore.

Have challengers read the entire book, explain some of the standard elements of horror. Provide positive reviews.

Selection Rationale:

This is sure to be popular with a varied audience. The sequels will keep patrons interested.

The Devouring will keep readers on the edge of their seats… The book has some graphic content, blood, and gore, which only add to the chills. A must-have for horror fans.” – School Library Journal

Booktalking Ideas:

Share the opening scene.

About the Author:

This is Simon Holt’s first book. He collects comic books.

Additional Information:

A sequel, Soulstice, is slated for a September 2009 release.