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"Tales from the Scaremaster: Werewolf Weekend" is a young adult novel published in 2016. The byline is by "B. A. Frade", followed by the name of the ghostwriter. It was part of a series of books. And I bought it at The Dollar Tree, where I have been undergoing a safari of sorts, reading a cross-section of horror literature.

And this is certainly horror, isn't it? It has "werewolf" right in the title! And "Scaremaster"! No confusion about genre here.

The book follows Emma, a middle school student who goes off to a slumber party at her friend Sam's house, along with Sam's two cousins, Cassie and Riley. Right before the weekend, a mysterious new librarian at her school gives her a journal that seems to have a mind of its own. And when she gets to the slumber party, older goth girl Cassie and pink and peppy Riley seem to be hiding secrets...what could Cassie be doing, building a cage in the basement, on the night of a full moon? And how does this relate to the mysterious haunted journal that seems to be taunting her? Well, the reader, if not the protagonist, can probably guess that it somehow involves werewolves, which are mentioned in the title of the book.

I guess I don't have to go too far into the depths of the plot of this book, which is written for early middle school readers. But it does have interesting context, especially since, as I mentioned, much horror fiction seems to be written by, and marketed towards, girls and women. The tension in this book comes not from the supernatural, but from social fears of ostracism, and anxiety about not understanding people's agendas and motivations. Emma finds herself exiled from her friends when she suspects something is wrong and that they are keeping secrets. The revelation here is that the "horror" elements are what actually ends the tension. Because werewolves are an easily categorizable phenomena: they change during the full moon, they are afraid of silver, and they are, in their own way, predictable. The arrival of a werewolf, then, is a resolution of the morass of complicated emotions of distrust and recrimination the girls find themselves in. (And this is not even considering the entire easy Freudian metaphor of why adolescent girls should suddenly be facing a problem that involves monthly changes in personality and biology, that is, that the werewolf is really menarche.

Which might be reading a lot into a middle school level book, but in general, werewolves and vampires are so well-known culturally that they present an easy and comfortable resolution to stories. Horror should be not just about the dangerous, but about the unknowable. However, by this point, the things that are most obviously "horror" staples are now resolutions, not mysteries.