Reading level: Middle Grade
Size: 288 pages
Publisher: Shadow Mountain
Release Date: August 3, 2011
Stand Alone or Series: Stand Alone?
Source: ARC from BEA
Rating: 4/5 stars
I picked up an advanced reading copy of this book at Shadow Mountain’s booth at BEA. It just looked fun and creative and I thought it would be a fun read. It was a well-written book that was engaging and fun. I enjoyed it and think the middle grade age set will really think this is a fun book; some adults (like me) will probably enjoy all of the magic, mystery, and fun as well.
Spencer is starting sixth grade at a new school and things aren’t going well. At one point he falls asleep and someone writes on his face. In a desperate attempt to get the marker off of his face he uses some mysterious pink soap in the boys’ bathroom…the soap gets the marker off, but Spencer also starts seeing things. There are little, gross, disgusting monsters all over the school. Spencer finds that the janitors are the ones who keep these little toxic monsters in check; if the monsters are allowed to multiple they feed off of kids’ brainwaves making kids stupid and slow. Now it is up to Spencer and his gullible friend Daisy to figure out what is going on and how to save their classmates from a threat only they can see.
This was a fun read. The idea of janitors fighting creepy Toxites to protect students is a creative and fun one. Spencer is a good character and reading about his antics, both in the classroom and with his huge family, is entertaining. Daisy is funny in her gullibility but also very heartfelt at times.
I enjoyed all the interesting magical things the Janitors could do. I also liked that the plot was a bit twisty, turny and kept you guessing. You never knew who the characters should trust. The book was very engaging and pacing was good; it was hard to put down.
The writing style is well done and easy to read. The book ended well, although there could be room for sequels.
The only really weak point to the book was the characters themselves; they don’t have as much depth and aren’t as engaging as I would have liked. The characters do fit the story well though and the story is more driven by plot and magic anyway.
Overall a fun read about finding magic and mystery in expected places. The plot was twisty turny and the Toxite monsters interesting. The characters were a little weak, but overall I still enjoyed reading this. It was a fun and light read and I think readers of all ages will enjoy this book.