Kettle Springs, Minnesota seems like your average Midwest town. It’s very rural, surrounded by a lot of corn fields and farms. The town is small and dying after the local corn syrup factory, Baypen, closed its doors. A lot of residents blame the problems on one thing: teenagers. These kids these days are always filming crazy pranks on their phones, disrespecting elders and traditions, commiting arson (Okay, that one actually is bad). Certain members of the community have had enough, but they came up with a plan that will get rid of the kids and save Kettle Springs at the same time.
Quinn and her father just moved to Kettle Springs. He is taking over the medical practice after the previous doctor moved away, and they both need a change after her mother died. On her first day at school, Quinn is lumped in with Cole and his gang of troublemakers after they are punished by a vindictive teacher. Cole is the son of the owner of Baypen, rich but also sad and troubled. He was basically abandoned by his father after the accidental death of his sister.
At Founders Day, Cole’s friends set off firecrackers during the parade. It was supposed to be a harmless prank, but it snowballs into a disaster. After that, the plan is set in motion. Cole’s friend Janet planned a big Founder’s Day party out in a corn field while the owners are on vacation. There’s music, bonfires, and lots of alcohol. It’s an amazing party…then the clown attacks.
Frendo, mascot of Baypen and beloved icon of Kettle Springs, takes out teenagers left and right with a crossbow. When they run for cover in the barn, Frendo sets the building on fire and shoots anyone who tries to escape. After they manage to take the clown out with some very helpful guns courtesy of Quinn’s neighbor Rust, they discover there are more Frendos trying to kill them, armed with more weapons. There’s no cell service out in the corn fields, and all the cars have had their tires slashed and engines removed. It comes down to teenagers versus killer clowns as the kids have to fight and kill for survival.
Clowns in a Cornfield was definitely appropriate for spoopy season (Note: I read it in October). It’s like reading one of those teen slasher movies. There’s some suspense and a fairly good amount of gore and death. I was pretty surprised to find myself siding with the teenagers in this story, because like the band My Chemical Romance, teenagers scare the living sh*t out of me. But the adults in this story are dumbasses, with their stupid murder plan and their “Make Kettle Springs Great Again” slogan, and yes, it is meant that way. So, yeah, it’s a bloodbath, and a good portion of Kettle Springs’ youth are murdered, but in the end, they *SPOILER* still win, the young still come out on top, although they are left with raging amounts of PTSD and a bunch of therapy all around. I also really appreciated the resolution of the Quinn/Cole/Rust triangle thing…that was fun.