Reading Level: Middle Grade
Genre: Horror/Humor/Short Stories
Size: 224 pages
Release Date: April 24, 2012
Stand Alone or Series: Stand Alone
Source: Copy from BEA
Rating: 3/5 stars
I got a copy of this book at Book Expo America in 2011 (yep it’s taken me a while to get to it). This is definitely one of those books aimed at reluctant boy readers in the 8-13 age range. Some of the stories are amusing, but they are all very short and end up being more sketches of ideas than fully realized stories.
There are 30+ stories in this slim 224 page book. So that alone will give you an idea of story length. The stories run a large range of weird and creepy. There’s a story about a boy who gets the ride of his life on an amusement park ride. There’s a story about mutant ants and one about a dragon. There is a parody story that pokes fun at sparkly vampires fans too.
All in all a pretty large range of the strange and creepy here. Many of the stories end with the lead boy dying or being hurt in some gruesome way; so if that bothers you as a parent just a heads up. Also given the frequent death I wouldn’t recommend this for younger kids, I honestly think it might be too intense and scary for them.
The stories are decently written but pretty simple stories with pretty simple sentence structure. This is definitely aimed at reluctant boy readers ages 8 to 14 or so. So if you are a boy in that age range I think you will really relate to and enjoy the stories. In many cases the main protagonist in the story is a boy, so that seems to be the audience Lubar is aiming for.
As an adult reading these stories I thought they were okay. The stories are very short and are basically quick sketches of ideas. Not a lot of character development and world building here; although most of the stories are full of some sort of irony that is darkly humorous. Again though, it is dark humor, I think while middle grade kids will enjoy it, younger kids might take it too literally and be scared.
I am going to keep this book around for my son to read when he’s a few years older (he’s five now). On a side note I got to meet Lubar and talk to him about this book at BEA. He was an incredibly nice guy who warned me right off the bat that these stories would be to intense for younger kids.
Overall an okay book. While I wouldn’t recommend this to adults, I do think boys in the 8-13 year age range will get a kick out of these stories. They are creepy and eerie horror stories filled with irony and dark humor. They poke fun at things boys will get into (like obnoxious older sisters and crazy classmates). If you have a middle grade reader who enjoys humor and horror definitely check this out.
This book goes towards the following reading challenges:
– 150+ Books Reading Challenge