I originally gave this three stars, but it was so close to four that I decided not to be miserly, and bumped it up by one. If you have a kid (and whenI originally gave this three stars, but it was so close to four that I decided not to be miserly, and bumped it up by one. If you have a kid (and when I say kid I mean a young to middling teenager, or maybe an advanced pre-teen) who likes to read scary stories, they might be into this. It had a very Outer Limits/Twilight Zone kind of feel. This is apparently meant as a middle grades book, and the storytelling style is like that, but some of the elements seem a bit too gruesome for that. (One thing in particular, which I'll detail at the end behind a spoiler tag.) It scared me at points, but my threshold for being scared by things is kind of low. I was scared when I saw The Blair Witch Project, and I'm assured that only total wimps were scared by that.
Thematically, this is about friendship, not conforming to ideals of normalcy and perfection, and the temptation to try to change people. I feel like the story elements were not manipulated with maximum deftness, but they are handled reasonably well.
I really liked the visual design of the book. The endpapers have a pattern of creepy bugs on them, and throughout the text drawings of small bugs appeared in the margins.
There is one thing that's gross, though. I saw it coming, but I winced anyway when it was confirmed, because ew. (view spoiler)[Soylent Green is made of people! i.e., there's cannibalism here. Even if you look at it as a metaphor for how the non-conformers get eaten up, it seems a bit gratuitous. (hide spoiler)]
This author apparently has books forthcoming over the next couple of years, and I'd be willing to give them a try....more
Joey Comeau? The Softer World guy? Sign me up! Within 24 hours, the publisher let me know via NetGalley that the digital galley was available to me. (Joey Comeau? The Softer World guy? Sign me up! Within 24 hours, the publisher let me know via NetGalley that the digital galley was available to me. (Which means that yes, I did receive a free time-limited PDF to review.)
But enough about that. This is a story with ghosts and zombies. But mostly it's a story about growing up in a difficult world, where people die or leave you behind in other ways, but you still have to grow up, and grow old, and simply go on.
I'm half-tempted to put this on my children/YA shelf, but I don't want to give a false impression I'd recommend this for older teens only. If you liked Let the Right One In, you might like this too. (Disclaimer: I only saw the Swedish movie; I haven't read the book.)
I was only going to take a peek at this and then fully read it later, but it sucked me right in until I was done. I'm a wimp; I don't read or watch very much horror, and there were some moments that still make me queasy when I think about them. But there was also beautiful description and characterization. I think that Comeau captured both adolescence and old age very well here.
There is a little Painting the Fourth Wall here. It's kind of an easter egg, rather than something you need to make sense of the book. I'm not sure how well it will work on an e-reader, as it seems to be designed with treeware in mind. (You know, books on paper.) But I noticed it while reading the PDF on my computer, though sometimes I had to zoom in to clearly see it....more
Pretty entertaining. Slightly dated, and perhaps a little expensive in terms of the content ... but the production values are certainly nice. (GlossyPretty entertaining. Slightly dated, and perhaps a little expensive in terms of the content ... but the production values are certainly nice. (Glossy paper, nice use of colors.)...more