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Dread Locks (Dark Fusion, #1)
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Dread Locks (Dark Fusion #1)

3.61 of 5 stars 3.61  ·  rating details  ·  1,156 ratings  ·  135 reviews
Dread Locks is the first entry in the Dark Fusion series from master storyteller Neal Shusterman. He cleverly weaves together familiar parts of fairy tales and Greek mythology to tell the story of fourteen-year-old Parker Bear, rich and utterly bored with life—until a new girl arrives in town. Tara's eyes are always hidden behind designer sunglasses, and her hair, blond wi...more
Paperback, 176 pages
Published August 3rd 2006 by Speak (first published May 5th 2005)
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Rick Riordan
God bless Neal Shusterman. A couple of weeks ago I was looking for something to give my son Haley to read. He starts every day of home schooling with silent reading time, and it's often difficult to find books he'll enjoy. Though he's made great strides with his dyslexia, he is still a fairly reluctant reader. I rummaged through my bookshelves and found a copy of Dark Fusion: Dread Locks, which Neal had signed for me at NCTE a couple of years ago. I gave it to Haley, selling it on the Greek myt...more
I feel as if I'm always saying this in my reviews of Neal Shusterman's books, but I can't think of another contemporary author who hits the mark so resoundingly time after time, coming up with stories that mix powerful philosophy, gripping suspense, painfully real characters and shocking twists to an effect that I have rarely, if ever, seen from anyone else. Neal Shusterman simply won't ever settle for anything less than the very best that he has to offer, and the big winner is his readers, who...more
Kelly Bryson
A modern retelling of Goldilocks and the three bears with some Greek mythology thrown in. Very good read and remarkably clean. The characters are well drawn and believable, which doesn't surprise me because I've enjoyed the few books by Shusterman that I've read. I'll definately be reading more by him.

I bought this for myself, thinking it was a bit old for my ten year old (the characters are highschoolers), but because it was free of language and innuendo, I thought it appropriate for my ten-ye...more
Jagpar Singh
Dread Locks is a book meant for people who like to read books that are about regular people meeting irregular people who change people after having a short conversation with them. That is because exactly that happens. Parker is a son of a rich family who lives in a fairly mansion like house. For his birthday he gets a statue of himself from his parents, and better yet a motorbike from his brother. He has gotten everything he wants when he wanted it. His sister and brother got presents on HIS bir...more
Topaz Wright
Slightly disappointing, especially since this is the author of two of my favorite books, Unwind and Bruiser. I'll spare the summary, and, well, everything else because this is my first review and I lack an audience.
Things I liked:
Parker's realistic view and opinions of his family's wealth
The beginning of the end. It was a much needed twist
The fact that it took me less than an hour to read this
The goldilocks and medusa references. It is to be expected though, as this is a modern retelling of the...more
And so the most common statement holds true to this story, “Different is good!” and with that being said-this was a short, dark & unique read for me. This story is a combination of Goldilocks & The Three Bears; with the added flare of Medusa and the author pulled it off perfectly. I will say this, at first; I didn’t know what Tara was and I had even hope that she would turn out to be good. But as the story started moving on and on I know that she had an ounce of evil in her or even more...more
Heidi Garrett
I like the premise of the Dark Fusion series, fairy tale meets myth. And I thought this was a good story. The fairy tale it spins from is "Goldilocks and the Three Bears". I won't mention the myth as that would be spoiler-y, but Dreadlocks was creative and I'll probably pick up another Dark Fusion read.
Sydney →☺
Jun 23, 2010 Sydney →☺ rated it 1 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Nobody
I think that this book had a good concept, but for me it just didn't follow through in the 'interesting' category. Honestly, I didn't like the girl, Tara, from the beginning. She was pretty jerky. Also, I just don't get the dark chills from this book everybody else gets... I mean, it's pretty obvious what is happening. This book is very predictable, so I don't see the shock factor some people get. Then some of the parts were just so slow it took me a while just to read them. Then to top it all o...more
Sandra Strange
Part of the Darkfusion series. This novel and others of the series are what the series says it is: fusion of two mythical or traditional fairytales in a contemporary setting with a definitely DARK tone. This one fuses Goldilocks of the three bears fame with…well, that would be telling, wouldn’t it. When Parker Baer discovers beautiful, but cryptic Tara sleeping peacefully in his bed, he begins an adventure that affects his friends and family—and reveals the stone-cold hearts of some of his socia...more
I gave it a four because it had alot of good parts in it such as when Tara showed up at Parkers house uninvited and was sleeping in his bed. Another one was when she made Daunt`e tell his friends that he is afraid of the dark. And another one was when Tara made Parker smash the bodys of the people she turned to stone.

Parker's dad said some one sat in his chair and it wasn't parker or his brother or sister. Then when Parker went to his room he saw someone in his bed and it was Tara the new neig...more
Pvmom and Blasterbot both read this book before me and deemed it trash, or something along those lines.

I'll just say, I can see why that would be.

Parker Baer was never very relatable. I can't relate to filthy-rich-kid problems. I could perhaps relate better if it were a middle-class kid at a rich-kid school. That would make him different, give him a little bit of an emotional twist that he wouldn't otherwise have, and this emotional perspective would perhaps convince me of why Tara might want...more
So, this is an incredibly quick read. I finished it in one morning.

Tara is the new girl at school, and boy is she popular. However, she seems to have a special spot for Parker. After all, he's the only guy she's hung out with who hasn't contracted this weird disease that makes people crave milk and sand. So what's Tara's secret, and why does she always wear sunglasses? It looks like Parker's going to find out, even though at times he doesn't want to.

I liked this book right up until the end. (vi...more
Renee Hess
English 425 Submitter’s name ____Renee Hess_________
Book Bank Book Bank subject: _Horror__________

Reference information:
Title Dread Locks
Author Neal Shusterman
Publisher Penguin Group Year 2005
# of pages 164 Genre Fiction
Reading level Interest level Ages 11 and up
Potential hot lava:
Really not an issue

General response/reaction:
My opinion about this book is a little conflicted. I felt that the story line was a little hard to get in to and the passages seemed to take forever to read. I enjoyed the...more
Nov 29, 2012 Wolfkin rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: children who have absolutely no familiarity with Greek Myth
Shelves: fantasy
The beauty of going into a book blind is, if I don't like it, I don't have to worry about how much preconceptions have colored my opinions.

From literally the first page I never liked the protagonist Parker Baer. A fifteen-year-old child of wealth whose biggest problem is ennui.
The crack in my life was the fact that I had everything I wanted, or could ever want-and when you have it all, boredom grows like a fungus, coating everything you own and everything you feel.

Parker Baer as an adult. (vie...more
Jennifer Wardrip
Reviewed by Me for

In Neal Shusterman's new DARK FUSION Series, the author takes myths, legends, and fairy tales, mixes them up with modern-day tales of teen angst and horror, and comes up with an entertaining read. In DREAD LOCKS, we get a whole stew pot full of retold stories--GOLDILOCKS AND THE THREE BEARS, MEDUSA, KING MIDAS. They're all there, and the finished product is a quick, fun, and sometimes depressing read.

Parker Baer is the type of fifteen-year old I both love and...more
There is a new girl in the neighborhood, her name is Tara. She has dread lock like hair, hence the name of the book. Tara calls Parker baby Baer, Baer is Parkers last name. She be-friends him and they go on all sorts of adventures like on his dirt bike. Tara has a secret and he eventually finds it out but he has to go thru a lot of hard stuff! “Your brother Garrett” (Shusterman 66) she knows Parkers brothers name! She has like little hidden powers.
I really like this book, it is a good read and...more
Maria Alderete
Dread Locks by Neal Shusterman is a mysterious, thrilling story about a boy named Parker Baer. Parker is the kind of boy that has everything anyone could ever want. He has family, friends, money, and anything else he could ever want. But because he already has it all, he starts to become bored. What is the point of life when you already have everything you could ever want and need? Parker doesn't know what to do. He’s bored of everything always being the same and nothing ever changing. That is,...more
May 12, 2010 Linda rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Linda by:
Question: What do you get when you mix Neal Shusterman, the three bears and Medusa?
Answer: A very original and somewhat scary story, Dread Locks.

Parker Baer is a very spoiled, very bored teen. His parents are wealthy and he has always been given everything a boy could want and a few that they wouldn’t want - like a life-size bronze statue of himself as a birthday present.
Then Parker meets his new next-door neighbor. Tara is irresistibly beautiful with her mirrored sunglasses, golden dread locks...more
I'd like to say I was impressed with this book, but, sadly that's not the case. I think I expected more from this book. It was kind of obvious who Tara really was, right from the very beginning, so that part did not really hold my interest that much. I only read till the end to see what happened to Parker.In my opinion, the book could have been way better IF it had a more compelling plot and better character development-- there simply isn't any strong characters except for Tara.
Michele Velthuizen
Interest level: 7th +
Reading level: medium
Genre: horror, mythology, schools, rriendship, families, Supernatural
Series: Dark Fusion

If you enjoy horror books or stories of the supernatural, you'll enjoy this book written by the author of "The Schwa Was Here" (do a seach in this blog, if interested). This isn't the type of horror story that will keep you awake all night, but its weirdness will certainly make you ponder...

Pat Baer, a 15-year old boy bored with his luxurious "have-it-all" existence,...more
Every once in a while a book comes a long that you just love. All you want to do is climb up to the tallest building and scream how great this book really is. Every time you finish a heart-stopping passage, you grab the person next to you and read it over to them out loud so that others can enjoy too.

Dread Locks by Neal Shusterman is a perfect example of this phenomenon. Shusterman takes to popular kid's story Goldilocks and the Three Bears and mixes it with the myth of Medusa, a woman with snak...more
Barb Middleton
Parker Baer is rich and bored. Until Tara, the new girl, moves in next door. Baer meets her when she shows up in his bed just like Goldilocks. Only this Goldilocks is not scared by anyone and she is not just hungry for porridge. Tara’s blond curls seem to be alive and she wears dark glasses all the time because of an “eye condition.” When students start becoming ill at the school Parker notices that Tara is involved somehow. When Parker’s brother gets sick he is convinced Tara is behind it.

The p...more
This is not your classic Goldilocks and the three bears story. This is entirely more disturbing. It is a story that makes you think and kind of shows how one might become a serial killer. I thought I had the whole story figured out, but the ending surprised me.

Students interested in Greek mythology may enjoy this story, but it is very disquieting.
I saw Parker Baer as a whiney rich brat with a "poor me" attitude. He fails to take any responsibility for his actions with new neighbor Tara until just before the end.

Tara is described as having tight golden curls... curls do not equate dread locs.

That being said, it is an interesting concept and I think younger readers would enjoy it.
Rich kid Parker is bored with his over-privileged life is enchanted by the mysterious new girl next door. Soon his life, and the lives of his classmates and family, are turned upside down. But is this excitement really what Parker was looking for? With lives at stake, will he choose adventure for himself or safety for others?

I am a huge fan of fractured fairy tales AND of books where crazy things happen in normal life; this book fits both criteria. The reading level is fairly low, while at the s...more
Not a good reading day for me. I also didn't love this. Maybe it works very well for the younger audience, but Parker's slowness on the uptake was maddening. and although I get the idea of the fusion (and think it is cool) the reality felt kind of awkward and forced.

Library copy
HMMMM. I got duped again. This was a book about the Medussa syndrome. I would have never thought so from reading the book end. Actually, the book was written well and was an easy read. I'm certain that someone that would enjoy that genre will really enjoy reading the book. It wasn't too creepy; it was upfront and kept the reader (ME) interested. Even after I realized what the story was about I completed the book. So, it was only two stars for me but for someone who enjoys this type of reading it...more
I'm glad to know that Shusterman's newer stuff is much better written than this. I liked the idea of the story, I liked the specific mythology he chose, but the execution of this story was not the best. Some scenes seemed a bit contrived, as well as the dialogue. There are times where Shusterman's descriptions were a bit off- also, how can you tell a girl is winking at you if she's wearing sunglasses? The twitch of her cheek or something?- Anyway, this book felt like it dragged on and like it to...more
As much as I love Neal Shusterman's work, I'm going to admit that this wasn't my favorite book of his. As a reading teacher, I see value in much of the book. I love the references to The Three Little Bears and the tie-in with Medusa. I love that the book required me to make predictions, and I enjoyed the first-person point of view. However, I thought the book was a little lacking in depth, despite the underlying message. The action was a bit clipped. This is a book more suited for middle school...more
The cover looks like Medusa to me, which I guess means they did a good job because that's exactly who it was.

Parker was a well-built character and you felt for him, but I really didn't like him. He wasn't very strong. He was annoying. He wasn't very nice to his family. And at the end, he got kinda demented with the stone thing. I hated him at the end, even more so than the beginning. I don't know if that was the intended emotion or not, but it messed with my brain a little.

The way he defeated Ta...more
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Award-winning author Neal Shusterman grew up in Brooklyn, New York, where he began writing at an early age. After spending his junior and senior years of high school at the American School of Mexico City, Neal went on to UC Irvine, where he made his mark on the UCI swim team, and wrote a successful humor column. Within a year of graduating, he had his first book deal, and was hired to write a movi...more
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“Sometimes, though, you make a pact with yourself. I'll pretend there's nothing wrong if you pretend there's nothing wrong. It's called denial, and it's one of the strongest pacts in the world. Just ask all those people who were still drinking champagne while the Titanic went down.” 13 likes
“I believe that we have free will. I believe we get the chance to make choices in our lives. Not everything is set in stone from the moment we're born. We choose our destiny, our ultimate fate. But I also think that we don't realize the choices we've made until after we make them. We're racing down a freeway, only to realize we've missed all the exits, and the only direction we can go is dead ahead.” 9 likes
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