Guillermo del Toro, Daniel Kraus
Disney Book Group
Age Range: 12 – 18 years
Grade Level: 7 – 12
Hardcover: 320 pages
Pub Date: Jul 14 2015
I received this as an eGalley through Netgalley free in exchange for an honest review.
What a perfect, creepy, gory, wonderful book for middle-schoolers. Especially middle-school boys. I was a little leery when I saw Guillermo del Toro’ name as one of the authors since his movies are by no means kid friendly. However, He and Mr, Kraus did a fantastic job of blending in just enough horror to make Goosebumps proud, but infuse enough humor and fun to keep the story from becoming too much nightmare. I called our head librarian as soon as I finished this story and told her to put it on our purchase list. Our boys are going to love this novel and I think some of our adventure reading girls will as well. There is a wonderful female lead character who in some ways is stronger and better prepared than Jim.
The story is about Jim Sturges, son of a hard working, highly paranoid mechanic who was left scarred after his brother was taken during the great Milk Carton epidemic in a small sunny California town in the 60s. Now kids are disappearing again, and it is up to Jim and his friends to find within themselves the courage to stand up and fight. There are good guys, bad guys, slime, and a whole host of creepy crawlers that go bump in the night. I love great Middle school horror novels. I would not recommend this to a sensitive reader or one prone to nightmares, but it has a great good triumph over evil message and a kick butt ending.
Parental note: This is a horror novel. While appropriate for Middle schoolers please be aware that it is dark. It is even grisly in places, and it is not until the half way point that we get to see some light at the end of the tunnel. There is a bully, and he is physically abusive of the main characters. A lot of cats die, people are killed, and the final battle involves mowing down tiny bad trolls with a lawnmower.