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Meddling Kids

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Goodreads Choice Award
Nominee for Best Horror (2017)
1990. The teen detectives once known as the Blyton Summer Detective Club (of Blyton Hills, a small mining town in the Zoinx River Valley in Oregon) are all grown up and haven't seen each other since their fateful, final case in 1977. Andy, the tomboy, is twenty-five and on the run, wanted in at least two states. Kerri, one-time kid genius and budding biologist, is bartending in New York, working on a serious drinking problem. At least she's got Tim, an excitable Weimaraner descended from the original canine member of the team. Nate, the horror nerd, has spent the last thirteen years in and out of mental health institutions, and currently resides in an asylum in Arkham, Massachusetts. The only friend he still sees is Peter, the handsome jock turned movie star. The problem is, Peter's been dead for years.

The time has come to uncover the source of their nightmares and return to where it all began in 1977. This time, it better not be a man in a mask. The real monsters are waiting.

322 pages, Hardcover

First published July 11, 2017

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About the author

Edgar Cantero

7 books1,449 followers
Updates & more here!

Edgar is a writer and cartoonist from Barcelona. Once a promising author in the local scene with his awarded 2007 debut Dormir amb Winona Ryder, the highbrow Catalan literary tradition soon lost influence on him in favor of Hollywood blockbusters, videogames, and mass-market paperbacks. The punk dystopian thriller Vallvi (2011) was his last book in Catalan before switching to English with a paranormal thriller, The Supernatural Enhancements (2014). Later, the Enid Blyton-meets-Lovecraft horror-comedy mashup Meddling Kids (2017) became a New York Times bestseller. It was followed by the noir spoof This Body's Not Big Enough for Both of Us (2018), starring the chimeric investigator(s) A.Z. Kimrean.

Spanning three languages, Edgar's material ranges from short stories to screenplays and often features women kissing, stuff exploding, and ill-timed jokes.

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5 stars
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 5,517 reviews
Profile Image for karen.
3,988 reviews170k followers
June 22, 2018
oooh, goodreads choice awards semifinalist for best horror! what will happen?

”It was a guy in a costume, Nate. Same as always.”

but what if, one time, it wasn’t?

this book is a pure romp, but in order to enjoy it, you need to be willing to get on board with cantero’s style and authorial choices, which can be jarring if you try to fight ‘em. it starts out in second-person before switching to the third-person POVs of a number of characters, and there are many instances of the author breaking the fourth wall, shifts to screenplay-format complete with stage directions, metafictional asides eliding certain conventional expectations like descriptions or filler-moments, the anthropomorphism of one character’s hair, unusual and specific similes: Bruises sprawled throughout his slender chest and arms like industrial developments in nineteenth-century Britain., and neologisms of the most arresting kind:

-An Endeish Nothing had erased the lake and the firs and the sky.

-The new hill two blocks away from there howlretched, for lack of a real word.

me, i love that stuff, but it definitely pulls the reader out of the story, so some will balk.

apart from that dealbreaker-for-some, it’s a wonderfully overloaded buffet - sad and funny with elements of horror and adventure and many pop culture references, and like The Supernatural Enhancements proved, this guy writes some excellent dog-characters.

I rescued the penguin!

i clicked ‘gimmie, netflix!’ on this because i loved The Supernatural Enhancements, but i was wary of the title and synopsis, not only for the lovecraft mention (sorry, l-craft!), but also because i have no personal connection to scooby-doo*; it just wasn’t something i watched growing up, so i was relieved to discover this isn’t his scooby fanfic - there are some allusive echoes, but mostly just details that are commonly-known if you are a citizen of this world.

these characters all have different names and attributes, including those of race and breed - scooby is a weimaraner named tim and velma-andy is an unambiguously lesbian latina.

in this version of the scoobyverse, once upon a time, there were four teenagers: kerri and her cousin nate, peter, andrea andy, and kerri’s dog sean, who met every summer in the small mining town of blyton hills, oregon, where they were collectively known as the blyton summer detective club and became notorious, if not popular, for solving many cartoonish crimes perpetrated by bumbling masked men teen-thwarted in many cartoonishly-named ways like the “reverse werewolf trap,” involving fishing nets and serving carts and the like. their last investigation - the sleepy lake monster - took place in 1977, culminating in the unmasking of thomas x. wickley, who was sentenced to thirteen years in prison for the crimes of fraud, attempted burglary, kidnapping and child endangerment. but some weird shit went down during that case, unexplained loose ends were willfully ignored, and the fallout from the experience scattered the group into their separate damaged trajectories, never to reunite.

kerri was the brains of the group whose early promise withered and despite a biology degree, is bartending, fending off dive bar creeps and living in a crummy apartment with sean’s descendent tim, alcohol, and night terrors. andy wandered around, odd-jobbing and briefly joining the air force before getting herself into the kind of trouble you need to break out of jail to overcome, and she’s been nursing her long-held rage and an equally long-held infatuation with kerri for all these thirteen years. peter became a teenage film star heartthrob before suiciding on pills, and nate is a self-committed resident of arkham asylum, where he immerses himself in dark fantasy pulp novels and is visited by peter’s ghost on a regular basis.

andy decides enough is enough, and gets the band back together for a return to the much-diminished blyton hills and the creepy deboën mansion to get to the bottom of all the eeriness they never quite solved and discover the roots of why they’re all so broken.

so now, twenty-five, with ample life experience, drivers licenses, and no curfew, will they be able to put this case to rest once and for all?

spoiler alert - yes, but it is not going to be tidy at all.

but at least they’ve learned one thing from those earlier cases. never ever listen to peter’s ill-fated suggestions:

i had a great time with this one. it’s very tongue-in-cheek and it revives a lot of stock cartoon imagery like escaping via mining cart, but with much more intense foes and consequences.

all manner of horrors are contained herein:

scary houses:

lake monsters:

other assorted monsters:

boats (which are not a ‘horror,’ but i found a GIF, so ppbblltt):

arcane books:

and g-g-g-g-ghosts:

it's a satirical caper-filled ride, but there are some sobering bits in between all the mayhem when their own masks drop. just enough for flavor.

i have one little gripe in the category of erroneous facts, and i only mention it because this is like the third time i’ve come across it in recent reads, and this book makes the mistake several times, so for the record: there were zero witches burned in salem. hanged, yes, or smooshed between stones, but never burned. burning accused witches, like the metric system, is a european thing that never caught on in salem.

to offset that gripe, allow me to compliment the complementary covers of cantero’s books:

i really dig the similarities and contrasts both, and was never a fan of the paperback cover of s.e.:

and one more little thing - this made me smile:

because this book was selected as a discover title on my watch, back when i was a discover-reader, and me and greg both fought for its inclusion. we didn’t always win, and greg had some heavy losses after i got laid off and was no longer eligible for discovering and helping to second his excellent tastes, but that one was some good teamwork for sure.

this one is not as amazing, but it's a very solid second book.

* i didn’t even know its origin story, which greg kindly mansplained to me and which, when i looked into for the writing of this review, turned out to be a friggin’ urban legend! thanks, greg!

come to my blog!
Profile Image for Chelsea Humphrey.
1,486 reviews79.1k followers
Shelved as 'dnf-lost-interest'
August 10, 2017
I've decided to put this one down for now; not giving it any stars and I'm not trying to persuade anyone not to read it. I simply think it's not for me and I'm struggling with a few of the characters. Time to move on to the next!
Profile Image for Sadie Hartmann.
Author 21 books4,875 followers
December 23, 2020
Oh....this book. It took me a while to formulate what I really wanted to say about this book while also trying to maintain a constructive attitude about it. It's not my job as a reader to totally dismantle another person's hard work, so I won't let this digress.
The premise (and the cover) and the way it was presented to me are the reasons I accepted this ARC (Thank you Doubleday for this ARC for an honest review)
Scooby Doo meets Lovecraft.
An interesting pairing. Like chewing Bubblegum and drinking fine wine at the same time.
I knew within twenty pages that this book was going to slide off the rails for me. First, it should be a screenplay. The author dips in and out of a screenplay format which was so jarring to the flow of the story I cannot believe it will make it past an editor that way.
There are literally stage directions in the middle of the narrative. Sometimes the dialogue is written in a traditional way for a novel and sometimes it's like you're reading a manuscript for a play. WTF?
I'm sorry but that angered me.
Also, the author invents his own words. Words that shouldn't exist for a reason!
A character offers the others a bit of movie trivia and instead of the author saying, "he said" the author said he "triviaed"
A character "innerstruggled" to tell someone something important.
A character "tragichuckled".
I got so irritated with these ridiculous words that I almost DNF but I pushed on.
The plot got better once the characters went back to their childhood vacation spot to revisit a mystery they all solved when they were kids. But really, everything else about this book clouded my judgment and eventually ruined the story for me as well.
I'm afraid the only thing keeping this book from a one star review was that there were a few creepy moments and this was a clever story-it's just a shame the author didn't see fit to write a novel straight and chose to dazzle us with his cleverness. I wasn't dazzled.
Profile Image for Alejandro.
1,142 reviews3,565 followers
December 18, 2017
Scooby-Doo meets the Cthulhu Mythos!


The teen detectives’ genre has been quite popular, and we can remember pioneers, in the 1930s, in the field like The Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew, and the genre exploded at the 1970s with the masses when Hanna-Barbera introduced Scooby-Doo franchise resulted so successful that it’s still active, featuring products in almost imaginable format: traditional animation, live-action, muppets-like, LEGO CGI-animation; on TV series and movies alike; I don’t think that any other animated-born franchise has been translated to so many diverse visual format like Scooby-Doo.

In fact, Hanna-Barbera was so glad with the triumph of Scooby-Doo franchise that they created many other teen detectives’ teams with similar formulas, like Clue Club, Captain Caveman and the Teen Angels, The Funky Phantom, Goober and the Ghost Chasers, The Buford Files, The New Shmoo, etc…

I watched them all when I was a kid, and I am still a huge fan of Scooby-Doo, but also I like a lot Clue Club, that I think their mysteries were more ambitious and having more suspects around to make less evident who was the culprit; and also Captain Caveman and the Teen Angels where I feel that it was a nice change in the formula since instead of being pursued by the “monster”, Captain Caveman was chasing the “monster” when appeared.

Obviously, Scooby-Doo remained as the most popular and known franchise in the genre of teen detectives’ teams, which besides of its variety of (already mentioned) formats, a key factor for its longevity was its opening to change, in the brink of the new millenium (precisely with the direct-to-video animated film Scooby-Doo on Zombie Island (1998)), from the original stories in the 1970s & 1980s, having the “guy in a monster’s costume” to real paranormal menaces, that I think it’s a reflection of the own people’s opening to believe more in the paranormal phenomena, and even later of the said change, it has presented combined cases (masked criminals and paranormal stuff together).

Scooby-Doo defined the roles for teen detectives’s teams: the brave leader, the brainy girl, the pretty girl, the comedy-relief boy and of course…

…the team’s pet, quite usually, a dog.

Of course, there's should be a dog!!!

So, since the 1970s to present, the illegal activities of scheming felons and paranormal threats, have been stopped once and again, thanks to the boldness and wit of all those detective teams of…

…meddling kids!

Now this groovy genre comes back with this new novel featuring a new team of teen detectives.


Edgar Cantero, the author, crafted an ode to love for the fabulous rise in the 1970s of teen detectives’ teams where, without a doubt, Scooby-Doo, was the king franchise and where everything else came from, but that's not all...

...since he merged his own original version of Scooby-Doo-like team of detectives with the Cthulhu Mythos of H.P. Lovecraft!

So, either because of Scooby-Doo and/or the Cthulhu Mythos, definitely this is an ideal reading!

Cantero created his own teen detectives’ team (which is a wise option to avoid having to ask permission to use copyrighted characters) and with that creativity freedom, he let to his teen detective kids what you never watched before…

…they grew up.

Of course, some Scooby-Doo material has presented the team on its young adult 20s version, and even the already mentioned Scooby-Doo on Zombie Island movie, showed them after the team disbanded…

…but here, they not only disbanded, but they fell from grace.

Imagine: Hanna-Barbera's Scooby-Doo meets Stephen King’s It, where the kids after dealing with a threat on their childhood, they have to come back to the fearsome town since the threat is still there…

…waiting for them.

The Blyton Summer Detective Club was a teen detective team made by: Peter, the brave leader; Kerri, the brainy & pretty girl; Andrea (but she prefers Andy), the tomboy girl; Nate, the comedy-relief boy; and of course…

…Sean, the dog (a Weimaraner, to be precise).

In the 1970s, during several summers, once and again, the daring Blyton Summer Detective Club, got together for unmasking many scheming felons…

…since always was a guy in a mask. Always, but…

…in their last case, in 1977, they caught alright their last guy in a monster’s costume, but unexplained things happened that night, in that dreadful haunted house, and after that…

…the Blyton Summer Detective Club was no more.

Something happened that night, and it wasn’t only just a guy in a monster’s costume, it was something NOT natural.

The meddling kids left the town with real fear inside of their hearts.

Blyton Hills lost its young champions.

Thirteen years later, in 1990, the team remained disbanded and they haven’t spoken much with each other and their lives are in a terrible downfall…

…Kerri, the brainy & pretty girl, never finished her college career in biology and having alcoholic troubles; Andy, the tomboy girl, couldn’t finish her military training, and even having doing jail time (for not mentioning that she broke out of jail before ending her sentence); Nate, the comedy-relief boy, became clinically insane and even is actual resident in a psychiatric asylum; and Peter, the brave leader,…

…committed suicide.

The sweet campiness of their ghost-chasing cases of youth is over…

…and now the fear is very real and deadly!

The scars of that last case, in 1977, are still tearing them apart, piece by piece.

For one of them is already too late, but before the rest would fell in the same fate…

…the Blyton Summer Detective Club needs to be reunited again to solve (really solve) that fearsome last case.

Andy, Kerri, Nate and now Tim (Weimaraner grandson of the original Sean) have to go back to Blyton Hills, but…

…each of them have secrets, and some of those secrets can change them forever. Friendships will be tested. Trust will be challenged.

They know that something strange is at Blyton Hills, but they will have to expand their own horizons if they would have any chance to solve the case…

…since masks have evolved too.
Profile Image for Char.
1,682 reviews1,557 followers
July 9, 2017

Very rarely do I rate books I don't finish, but in this case, having read 61%, I feel as if I've read enough to merit an opinion. My opinion is this book isn't for me.

I absolutely loved the premise-sort of a Scooby Doo/Cthulhu mash up-I mean, what could be more perfect for me? However, what I found to be funny and entertaining at first, soon turned into ennui. I found myself making excuses or reading short stories to avoid going back to this book.

I see a lot of reviews mentioning the author's inventions of certain words and while I found some of them to be fun, after a while it got too cute. Tragichuckled for instance. Another thing that bothered me were the very dense run on sentences. Some were so long my mind wandered more than once trying to read them. Reading for fun shouldn't be this much work.

Thanks to NetGalley and Doubleday for the e-ARC in exchange for my honest opinion. I wish I could honestly say that I liked it.*
Profile Image for carol..
1,576 reviews8,238 followers
April 15, 2019
Put on your pajamas, grab a bowl of Apple Jacks (my mom wouldn't let me have Lucky Charms, my first choice in ridiculous sugars disguised as breakfast cereals, With 8 Added Vitamins and Minerals!), and settle in for a delightful romp through The Case of The Really Deep Lake.

Homages can wildly miss the mark, turning into tiresome parody after a few minutes (reference: most Saturday Night Life skits), but Cantero has done something marvelous, re-imagining the Scooby-Doo gang* as real, somewhat complicated people scarred by their youthful adventures.** Well, Scooby-Doo (©, I'm sure) is never explicitly mentioned. But we have a crew of four--sort of--and a dog, and they were made famous after solving the Mystery of Sleepy Lake Monster. They went their separate ways until Andy realizes that the mystery was never really solved, leaving them all more than a bit dysfunctional, and she decides to get the gang back together.

I won't say much more, as bullet points are too reductionist for the complexity here. Suffice it to say that although I expected somewhat cartoonish capers, there was also an emotional depth that proved surprising. That said, I loved the dog, Tim, and his newfound love, Squeaky Penguin.

Cantero is very playful with the narrative, a technique other reviewers note as distracting and disjointed. Besides the ubiquitous point-of-view changes in everyone's writing these days, occasionally the writing jumps from third-person limited point-of-view into screenwriting format, including cues. There's also a number of made up words (sadly, not zoinks!) that I tended to find amusing.

[Pause while carol looks through other reviews]. There's allegations of Native culture co-opting, which I'd argue are unfounded; there's a difference between using a legend as a piece of a puzzle and claiming authority on said legend or culture.

Even more serious is concern over gender and sexual identities, incompletely portrayed. For me, a budding romance was awkward and gentle, the ultimate distillation of a non-definable relationship between two people. But I'm old, and feel less need to categorize or identify with definitions of sexuality and partnership. There are a couple other characters that have a more ambiguous kind of persona, and a number of reviews found those problematic. I did not. Some of it may be lost to translation. Some may be lost to Contero abandoning a more literary effort for Hollywood-style/cartoon-style reductionism. Whichever. For me, these things were small enough to overlook (honestly, the first instance was confusing enough that I just ignored it; the second is a plot point), but that may be a generational and/or personal issue.

Recommended for fans of Daryl Gregory; it reminded me quite a bit of Pandemonium and We Are All Completely Fine, although something about Cantero is sweeter, without being teeth-tingling.

*for heaven's sake, don't even mention "Scrappy Doo" to me.

**Example of the old-school Scooby Doo here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b4JLL...

Many thanks to Tim and Tony, whose reviews brought this to my attention.
Profile Image for Julie .
4,080 reviews59k followers
November 10, 2019
Meddling Kids by Edgar Cantero is a 2017 Doubleday Books publication.

The title of this book caught my eye a while back and I knew I’d have to investigate and see for myself how this book paralleled with the Scooby Doo cartoons. Since I’m a huge fan of the classic Scooby Doo show I was confident I’d find this satirical twist on the ‘meddling kids’ right up my alley.

The book took off on solid footing, but the further along I got, the more convoluted the story became. The humor was originally biting and was funny on occasion, but even that wore thin early on. I really wanted to like this one, but it turned out not to be a good fit.

I struggled to finish the book, which felt like a thousand page tome instead of a little over three hundred pages long. I didn’t think I’d ever get to the end of it. Although I stuck it out, I wish I’d cut my losses early on. This one wasn’t for me. I'll stick with my traditional Scooby Doo cartoons- and yes, I still watch them.

2 stars
Profile Image for Philip.
513 reviews683 followers
January 17, 2018
4.5ish stars.

I love this book. It's smart, exciting, silly, nostalgic, but mostly IT IS REALLY FUNNY. Cantero obviously knows how to tickle my funny bone, because I was laughing continuously throughout. It's a sort-of-parody of Scooby Doo and other teen detective agencies, and I was nervous that it was going to be adult Scooby Doo fanfic, but it's more than a parody, it's a great book in its own right. (Are we even sure the original Scooby Doo crew were teenagers!? The voice actors of the original cast were all in their 20s or late 30s at the time and did 16-year-olds really wear ascots in the '70s?!)

The writing style is a little "extra" as the kids these days might say. There are some quirky narrative conceits that are understandably divisive:

1) Breaking the fourth wall:
-The novel begins: "It starts when you pull the lamp chain and light doesn't come. Then you know you will never wake up in time, you will not make it to the end of this paragraph alive."
- ""What?" The italics just flew out past the alcohol's guard.”

2) Neologisms:
- "The new hill two blocks from there howlretched, for lack of a real word."

3) Jarring POV shifts, often in the middle of paragraphs.

4) Jarring format shifts, from novel to screenplay (including stage directions) and back, often in the middle of paragraphs:
- "On the left, standing, Andrea "Andy" Rodriguez, 25, in big military boots and a white tank top turns to camera as she lifts a squirming old man two inches off the floor"

5) Ridiculous (and ridiculously hilarious) metaphors and similes:
- “Tim curled up in a corner of the backseat, sheltering his penguin from the storm, all tensed up in “scandalized Maggie Smith” pose.”
- “The night was cold but gentle like an X-rated metaphor.”

6) Self-aware, self-deprecating humor on the author's part:
- "This thing, Thtaggoa, and the lake creatures; they exist. I mean, they exist in literature." “Flying monkeys exist in literature, Nate,” Kerri said. “Horror writers who get laid exist in literature.”

If you can embrace all the extra, the story itself is pretty great as well. The mystery is well-plotted and tense, the characters are nuanced and entertaining, the set pieces are cool and exciting. The dog, 'ruff said. There's action and horror and it's very cinematic; I'd love to see a screen adaptation. It's not going to be for everyone, and reviews have been mixed, but if you're up for something "rompy" (as Cantero might self-describe), give it a read.

Posted in Mr. Philip's Library
Profile Image for Matthew.
1,219 reviews9,003 followers
May 17, 2018
Thank goodness for audiobooks! If I didn't listen to them I wouldn't have finished any books lately as I barely have any time to read. Meddling Kids got me through my commute, some chores around the house, and kept my need to read fed.

3.5 stars

Meddling Kids is a fun and nostalgic mystery romp a la Scooby Doo. Much of the humor is tongue in cheek and will remind you of all the things you used to love about the cartoon. At the same time, the story is more grown up and darker - not something I would have comprehended in my pre-teen years.

Seems like I have been pretty positive so far, so why 3.5 stars? 3.5 is still a pretty good review from me. However, there were a couple of things that I did not care for. Some parts of the book were intensely convoluted and confusing. I am not sure if this was a way for the author make you realize that this is not your usual episode of Scooby Doo. A couple of times the story needed to slow down and take a breath - I felt like I was going to get bucked off! The other issue for me was some of the humor seemed self-serving. By this I mean a joke would be made and the book would high five and pat itself of the back for being so amusingly clever. So, while I mentioned liking the humor, some of it had me rolling my eyes.

Forgot to mention when I first wrote this review, it reminds me in places of urban fantasy. I have not had much much with urban fantasy, so that could have had an impact on my overall feeling about this one.

If you like humorous mysteries, light-hearted horror, and are nostalgic for Scooby and his crew, it might be worth giving it a shot.
Profile Image for megs_bookrack.
1,607 reviews10.8k followers
July 18, 2023
**3.5-stars rounded up**

Scooby-Doo fans rejoice!

Meddling Kids reads like a love letter to that classic Hanna-Barbera animated series and I'm so here for it.

This was such a fun, little Horror Comedy; perfect for Autumnal reading.

Full review to come...stay tuned!!!

Update: I lied because I never reviewed this and now I don't remember enough about it to do so.

Looks like I will have to read it again!

Profile Image for TheBookSmugglers.
669 reviews2,005 followers
April 23, 2018
This was so bad - TW for transphobia, plus really uncomfortable representation of a lesbian character. The writing was all over the place too.
Profile Image for ✨Bean's Books✨.
648 reviews2,926 followers
December 7, 2018
Had high hopes.
"1990. The teen detectives once known as the Blyton Summer Detective Club (of Blyton Hills, a small mining town in the Zoinx River Valley in Oregon) are all grown up and haven't seen each other since their fateful, final case in 1977. Andy, the tomboy, is twenty-five and on the run, wanted in at least two states. Kerri, one-time kid genius and budding biologist, is bartending in New York, working on a serious drinking problem. At least she's got Tim, an excitable Weimaraner descended from the original canine member of the team. Nate, the horror nerd, has spent the last thirteen years in and out of mental health institutions, and currently resides in an asylum in Arhkam, Massachusetts. The only friend he still sees is Peter, the handsome jock turned movie star. The problem is, Peter's been dead for years.
The time has come to uncover the source of their nightmares and return to where it all began in 1977. This time, it better not be a man in a mask. The real monsters are waiting."
Ugh this book was SO slow! 😩 The writing style of this book was fine but other than that I feel that the plot was very poorly executed for the potential that it had in being a Scooby-Doo rip off. Let's all just call it what it really is here...
The nostalgia was great, the homages were funny, all in all the book was mildly entertaining. I also feel that this book was far too long for the story that it had to tell which could have been why it seemed like it was dragging so much. I just felt like I never got to the point of the darn book.
The cover is beautiful but unfortunately in my case was very misleading as I did not enjoy the book as much as I thought that I would have. Perhaps I had too high of hopes for this book. Or maybe I've just outgrown Scooby-Doo.
I would recommend this book for the nostalgia purposes but that's just about it.

Or you can watch my review on YouTube here:
Profile Image for Krystin | TheF**kingTwist.
498 reviews1,761 followers
August 31, 2022
Book Blog | Bookstagram

Here’s a fun fact about me: one of my go-to stress-relieving past times is getting stoney-bologna and watching Scooby Doo.

I have always had an affinity for mystery-solving kids because I myself wanted to be a mystery-solving kid. But it turns out that I had really boring neighbours growing up, so I had to live vicariously through shows like Ghostwriter, The Secret World of Alex Mack and the Scooby Gang.

I suppose it says something about my love for Scooby Doo that I still watch it in my 30s. It’s just that nowadays I’ve turned it into more of an adult activity.

So to find out an author had taken my Scooby Gang and turned it into an adult caper?! Not only that, it’s mixed with a little Lovecraft flare?!


Turns out, my heart jumped the gun and it is still firmly in the “cartoons and weed” category.

That’s not to say that this wasn’t a fun read. It totally was. It just didn’t live up to the hype or the nostalgia it so clearly was trying to honour.

A group of kids get together every summer and form a little detective club, putting a stop to local crime and mischief using tricks like the “reverse werewolf trap,” as kids do. But all four kids walk away from their last case, the unmasking of the Sleepy Lake Monster, a little bit changed, a little bit traumatized. Fast forward thirteen years later and it’s time to get the band back together again because everyone is fucked up and depressed and one of them has died by suicide – all because of this Sleepy Lake case.

*sirens* This is no longer a kid’s game! Alert!

This is some dark shit. In order to get their lives back on track, the remaining members of The Blyton Summer Detective Club (including a dog named Tim) need to find out what really happened back in the summer of ’69!

Fuck off, Bryan Adams, that’s not even the right year!

…back in the summer of ’77 at the Deboen Mansion, in the Zoinx River Valley. That’s right, Zoinx River. And let me tell you, if you hate that reference then the rest of the book is going to make your eye twitch.

It is filled with cartoon caper throwbacks and nostalgia points that you can notice from a mile away. Like escaping recklessly through a mine shaft in a mining cart, ghosts and monsters of various assortments (including lake monsters), arcane books and supernatural villains and spooky old houses.

On one hand, this is an action-packed, supernatural thrill-romp. But on the other hand, it took the essence of Scooby Doo and ruined it with unlikeable characters. Which is kind of the heart of Scooby Doo? Why would you fuck with that?

Kerri was annoying as fuck. Nate was exceptionally boring considering he was a psych patient who was talking to a ghost, maybe. Andy was aggressive in every way imaginable. The only good character was the dog, and then he was ruined on the very last page.

So this wasn’t what I wanted it to be, but maybe it never could have been. Ahh, the existential crisis of reading nostalgia-driven fiction! I do feel like the characters were less than ideal creations considering the history they were lifted from, I wish I could have liked any of them enough to root for them, but I kind of just wanted them to shut the fuck up.

It was still a shitload of action, some fun and supernatural weird shit that wasn’t horror enough to scare anyone, but maintained that Saturday morning cartoon vibe. Or that Saturday night stoner vibe, if you prefer. And I do.

⭐⭐⭐ | 3 stars.
Profile Image for J.L.   Sutton.
666 reviews928 followers
February 19, 2022
“They walked out into the first morning after the apocalypse - a day that had just barged in sweaty and unkempt like a late commuter, asking, Anything happen while I was out?”

Boswell Book Company Archives | Milwaukee Record

While Edgar Cantero's Meddling Kids may seem like a nostalgic look at teen and child detectives (with Scooby Doo, Nancy Drew and The Hardy Boys front and center), it feels more like an amusing deconstruction of those stories. Add a dash of Lovecraft and a jaded perspective on their adolescent exploits and you've got Meddling Kids. Thirteen years have passed since the Blyton Summer Detective Club solved their last case in 1977. But did they really solve it? And why have their lives cratered since since then? 3.5 stars

“Flying monkeys exist in literature, Nate,” Kerri said. “Horror writers who get laid exist in literature.”
Profile Image for Fafa's Book Corner.
513 reviews306 followers
November 30, 2018
Mini review:

Trigger warning: Death. That's all that I can remember. If any more please mention in the comments.

I heard about this book through booktube. I was so excited to read this! I am a huge Scooby-Doo fan. And it sounded right up my alley. Unfortunately I didn't like it.

Right off the bat the writing style was bad. I skimmed it to figure out the general mystery. And it didn't get any better. Andy was such an annoying character. I feel that she was the wrong person to follow throughout the book.

Nate was alright and the other girl whose name I've forgotten was forgettable. The LGBTQ relationship was just not done well in my opinion. The plot wasn't either. The villains intentions were not just stupid but anticlimactic. I did like the ending so that Nate could get closure. But that's about it.

I do not recommend. You're better off watching Scooby-Doo.
Profile Image for Niki.
776 reviews123 followers
November 12, 2017
It's all been done before.

Eh. I wish I could give this book more than 3 stars.

Truth is, there isn't one big thing that I disliked about this book that lowered my rating. It's more like there was lots of little things that kept piling up.

The references, for one. "Zoinx River" is the one that put the final nail in the "Enough with the references!!!" coffin. I had this problem with The Fireman too. References and tributes in a book can make it more interesting and clever, depending on how the tribute is handled, but personally, I think there's a line. Meddling Kids was incredibly self-aware about this issue (more on this later), but all the reference bombardment did take away from my enjoyment of the book.

Another problem was the occasional shifting of writing style. From a typical dialogue "We should go there, she said" it shifted to a screenplay, "NATE: Yeah, we should" Why?? The shift is jarring and personally took me "back to reality", while before I was completely sucked in the book. It was probably meant to make the book's style more unique and interesting, but it took away from it instead of adding to it, at least for me. In The Supernatural Enhancements, the author's previous book, there were very similar shifts in narration, but it did make sense there and was written way better. In this one, it's just a headscratcher.

And thirdly, The mine scene was also overly long and dragged out.

Other, smaller problems include Andy being , and Nate correcting Andy's grammar a lot (why this???)

Now, moving on to the positives.

First of all, Dunia. Dunia was the highlight of the book for me, and she stole EVERY scene she was in. She was a delight and easily my favourite character, even though she didn't have that big a part.

Peter appearing as a hallucination of Nate's. I found it every realistic (although this book isn't exactly realism), that he would hallucinate his dear dead friend out of every possible choice, and it was a clever way of incorporating the 5th member of the gang in the action.

I loved everything that had to do with the "it's all been done before" notion. Like I mentioned earlier in my review, the book is very self aware that it's a tribute, so it doesn't really take itself too seriously. That's GREAT and very refreshing, because I've read too many books that do take themselves seriously, and it shows (one particular Greek book comes to mind right now, ugh)

At a few points in the book, I had my "Ugh, REALLY? This can't be serious" expression. For example, These bits made me extremely happy, I loved that the book took my expectations and completely debunked them (for lack of better phrase). It was great.

The entire "Elder God" bit

Kerri and Andy's relationship

All in all, I liked "The Supernatural Enhancements" better, so I'd recommend that one first if you want to get started on Edgar Cantero's books. "Meddling Kids" wasn't bad, but it wasn't that great, either.
Profile Image for Kelly (and the Book Boar).
2,487 reviews7,784 followers
September 19, 2018
Find all of my reviews at: http://52bookminimum.blogspot.com/

“For fans of John Dies at the End and Welcome to Night Vale”

I’ve never experienced Welcome to Night Vale (its fanbase has been pretty hardcore when it comes to deterring readers who aren’t podcast listeners), but when it comes to John Dies at the End?????

Seriously folks, this is the one time where there was a 100% spot-on comparison and it’s pretty much the only reason Meddling Kids even pinged my radar.

Thirteen years ago, Peter Manner, Kerri Hollis, Andrea “Andy” Rodriguez, Nate Rogers and a dog named Sean made the front page:

“Teen Sleuths Unmask Sleepy Lake Monster.” “Uncover Criminal Plot.” “Haunting Debunked.”

You know how it goes . . . . .

But in the present, that little niggling feeling that everything wasn’t on the up-and-up remains . . . .

“What about the house? The pentacle? The empty coffins? The symbols written in blood?!”

You know what happens next right????

“We’re putting the band back together.”

And I was all . . . . .

The end result ended up being a mixed bag. There’s zero chance I’m not giving this a fairly high rating simply for the nostalgia factor. I don’t really give a rip that many of the plot points were knocked-off of “Spooky Island” from the live action film. However, I can’t round up due to the vastly different reactions I had to the writing. Like how can this overwritten nonsense . . . .

She was joyfully drowning in Kerri’s hair, its fragrance and softness pounding on her senses like a cheerful Mongol army banging on the gates of Baghdad.

Possibly be from the same person with such an easy humor???

“So this is a witch’s house?” she said. She checked the spiraling ornaments of the porch lamps and the handrail, the silent wooden wind chime, the withered Christmas wreath on the door. “Looks like the place of an old lady who never got married.”

“That’s Puritan for ‘witch,’ ” Nate said, and he knocked again.

Not to mention the weird formatting where dialogue somehow goes from novel format to script format . . .

“Kerri! Get a foothold!”
KERRI: Tim, don’t fall!
ANDY: Kerri, get a foothold, please!

Or the ridiculous word inventions spattered throughout like “tragichuckled” or “deminodded” as well as all of the mentioning of Kerri’s hair having a personality of its own and the fact that it should have probably been more like a novella size because it seemed to drag on and on. All of that stuff made me want to take off my glasses. And you know what the result of that is . . . .

I'm sticking with 3.5 Stars for the wayback feelz, but I hope the author recognizes this is a one-hit wonder and should definitely not be the beginning of a “A Blyton Summer Detective Club Adventure” series.
Profile Image for Blaine.
782 reviews660 followers
March 15, 2023
The night was cold but gentle like an X-rated metaphor.

The radio played “Groove Is in the Heart,” which is a radio’s way of saying it couldn’t care less about the mood of a scene.

I received an ARC of Meddling Kids via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. If you were raised (correctly, I might add) on Scooby Doo cartoons, this book is likely for you. It tells the story that comes after those cartoons are over. The kids are grown (except the one who committed suicide), they’re all troubled (again, except the dead one), and they have realized that one of the ‘innocent’ crimes they thought they solved as kids is not only unsolved, but has left them damaged.

Once they make the decision to go back and solve the case for real, the story is a clever update on the same beats the cartoons hit: helpful adults, unhelpful adults, secret villains, mines and tunnels, scientific explanations for unusual phenomena, etc. There are parts straight out of Lovecraft, and this book could have been a horror novel if the author had wished it so. Instead, the horror is always tempered by a steady stream of sarcasm and laughs.

My only knock on Meddling Kids is the writing itself. I found myself distracted by the constant switching from prose to stage dialogue, and by the very self-aware writing in places, such as “ending its overall contribution to the story in one paragraph,” and “[t]wo blank lines later, they were still sitting there.” Still, overall this is a highly entertaining story and a very enjoyable read. Recommended.
Profile Image for Jen.
620 reviews267 followers
July 20, 2017
Meddling Kids is about a teenage detective club reuniting as adults to go back and solve a mystery from their youth. In the prologue, one of the guys who was foiled by this teenage detective club (and their dog) is up for parole. The manner in which the parole board describes his apprehension involving "a high-speeding serving cart, two flights of stairs, and a fishing net" as well as his admission to staging a haunting in an old mansion and dressing up as a giant salamander was incredible. The prologue was so much fun, and it promised a Scooby Dooby great time!

The unfortunate thing about having a prologue is the excitement usually drops once the story gets underway, and the reader is left waiting for a promise to be fulfilled. That period of waiting is something I never enjoy, and when a book like Meddling Kids never delivers on that promise, the entire book can be very disappointing.

Even if the story itself had been a great one, the writing style in Meddling Kids was something I wouldn't have been able to overcome. The book kept popping in and out of screenplay format. It wasn't just random dialog being presented that way. There was also stage direction among the narrative.

I also had issue with the dialog itself. I don't mind a fucking f-bomb here or there, but 143 times in a 300 page book? There is no way I could have been invested enough in the story to not have been pulled back out due to the writing style, not to mention all of the made up words like "triviaed" and "tragichuckled".

Meddling Kids is being marketed for fans of Scooby Doo, but it definitely wasn't for me. In the end, the only thing that worked for me was the first 10 pages.
Profile Image for Paul.
308 reviews73 followers
August 2, 2017
as i crossed the 65% threshold or so i tried to read this with a critical eye. i tried to come up with some justification to rate it closer to 4 stars than 5. i couldnt. i loved this title so much, it was such an easy and fun read. which isnt to say it was fluff, because it wasnt. me. canterro wrote with a brilliance and several nods to pop culture and 21st century society. i finally and reluctantly decided to subtract part of a star because some of the plot twists were a little telegraphed but i think even those were intentional. overall to be true to myself and enjoyment of reading this one i have to give it 4.75 stars.
Profile Image for Brent.
355 reviews147 followers
November 10, 2021
Scooby Doo meets Lovecraft, told in an semi-experimental style with a Shakespearean level word-coinage.

Seriously. An absolutely improbable number of nouns get verbified by this guy.

Bonus points for setting a Cthulhu mythos in Oregon, points subtracted for extreme creative liberties taken with Oregon geography in same.

Jugging from reviews, this is not everyone's picnic, but I thought it was a lot of fun.

Also, just to be clear, this is in no way a book for kids.
Profile Image for Bam cooks the books ;-).
1,915 reviews248 followers
August 2, 2017
*4.5 stars! What a romp! Think a grown-up Nancy Drew/Hardy Boys adventure that has channeled some of Lovecraft's Cthulhu monster madness and added a dash of witchcraft, humor and romance. Sounds crazy? It is! Crazy fun!

In 1977, in the small mining town of Blyton Hills, Oregon, four kids form The Blyton Summer Detective Club and become famous for unmasking the Sleepy Lake monster who has been terrorizing the area--one Thomas X. Wickley, a would-be thief in costume.

The teens, Peter Manner, Kerri Hollis, Andrea 'Andy' Rodriguez and Nate Rogers, then go their separate ways but are still haunted by nightmares from their experiences that night. So much more happened than was ever reported and has left them messed up: Peter becomes a Hollywood movie star but commits suicide at the height of his popularity, Nate commits himself to a mental institution, Kerri earns a biology degree but works as a waitress and Andy just broke out of jail.

When Wickley is released from prison after thirteen years, Andy confronts him and tries to force him to tell what was really going on that summer at the old Deboen mansion but Wickley claims he knows nothing about the eerie occurrences.

Andy then goes to Kerri to convince her that the group of young detectives needs to return to Blyton Hills to pick up the strings of their old investigation--to face their fears and uncover the complete truth. She thinks it's the only way they can put the nightmares behind them and get on with their lives. Their first stop is to break Nate out of the asylum--with a little help from Tim, the Weimaraner, who is the grandson of their original canine sidekick. Then the group heads west to Oregon, with Peter tagging along as Nate's hallucination.

The old mining town has gone down hill in the years they've been gone, with closed businesses, vacant stores and deserted streets. They reconnect with USAF Captain Al Urich, who had helped them in the past, and now runs the local junkyard. He supplies them with the tools and weapons they may need. And off they go to face the monsters of their nightmares.

This was fast-paced and entertaining--perfect for summer reading--with interesting characters and a very special dog ala Scooby-Do!! Recommended for those who don't mind a little terrifying horror and gore with their mystery reading. :)

PS: I am hoping this is just the first installment of the BSDC adventures!

Many thanks to Doubleday and the Keep Turning Pages group for a free copy of this fun book, along with Gork, the Teenage Dragon, which are the group reads for August.
Profile Image for myo ⋆。˚ ❀ *.
826 reviews6,904 followers
July 3, 2023
are there weird things about this book? yes but! it was so much fun!!! the relationship between andy and kerri was very strange to me but once you realize the book is written by a man that makes sense. what’s even weirder is this book RANDOMLY switches to a script format style in the middle of a scene and it happens like multiple times? other than that i think the book was very fun, could be because i was bored from twitter rate limit and it was 5am or simply because of nostalgia. who knows
Profile Image for Chessa.
723 reviews63 followers
October 3, 2020
As a lifelong fan of Scooby Doo (who had VERY STRONG OPINIONS of such things as the creators changing the theme song when I was 4), I thought this sounded like a fun romp of a book. It might have been, but it contains some really troubling language that was both unnecessary and extrememly disappointing.

For example: Pretty early on, as we're getting introduced to all the main players in the story, we're taken to an asylum. The opening scene there is one of the main trouble spots. The author is setting the scene, talking about other patients there before we even meet Nate. On one page he describes a character named Kimrean - so the character has a name. But in two different instances, the character is referred to as "the hermaphrodite." At first, the term took me aback, because we have much better language to talk about trans/intersex life these days. I wondered if I was being "overly sensitive" because it IS supposed to be 1990. But then when I went back to reread it, it's not just the term hermaphrodite that is troubling. It's the fact that he refers to a named character as both "the schizophrenic hermaphrodite" and again as "the hermaphrodite." Why?! It's such incredibly othering language, and it's just lazy. That is what makes it offensive. Despite it being set in 1990, it was written long after that -and I am CERTAIN that the author could have handled this scene with more care. Instead, he went for the cheap laugh (of the "look at all the freaky people!" variety), and it really failed.

So, if I could excise that scene from the book and my memory, how would I feel about the book? It was okay. I didn't love it, but it was definitely a unique story. There is a sense of snarky, overly clever humor (the kind where you can imagine the author being so entertained by his own wit) threaded through that might work really well for you, or it might make you cringe - it was about 30/70 worked/didn't work for me. Words like "tragichuckled" don't exist FOR A REASON.

The pacing was odd. And there are no chapters, just Parts (I think 1-5). I kind of missed the endpoint of chapters for pacing's sake. It was the kind of book where if I was reading it, I found it compelling enough, but I was NOT rushing to get back to it between readings. I should say that I have never read Lovecraft, so I can't speak to that aspect of the book.

If it was cleaned up a LOT, and sensitivity readers/writers were brought in, it could make a fun summer movie - that's what I kept thinking as I read it.

It needs a rewrite. I could not in good conscience recommend this book to anyone as it is now.

Thanks to NetGalley and Doubleday for a copy of this book in exchange for a very honest review.
Profile Image for Mindi.
865 reviews272 followers
August 15, 2017
Boy, did I really want to like this book. I really enjoyed The Supernatural Enhancements, and when I saw the awesome cover for this one I got super excited. Then I heard the premise! Scooby-Doo meets H.P. Lovecraft?! Uhm, yes, please! Sadly, the cover and the premise are the best parts of the book.

A number of my friends received ARCs of this before it was released, and the general consensus was pretty much the same. Great concept, not so great writing. I bought it anyway because I wanted to give it a fair chance and decide for myself.

I honestly don't remember the writing being all over the place in The Supernatural Enhancements. In Meddling Kids, the writing gets in the way of what could have been a pretty good story. If you have read any other reviews for this book, you already know that not only does Cantero invent needless words, but he also inexplicably switches the narrative between a novel and a screenplay. Some conversations appear in typical novel form, while other's are presented as dialogue with stage direction. For absolutely no reason. It's jarring, and it rips you out of the story every time. Not only that, but made up words, or even real words that are just entirely unnecessary are such an intrusion that's it's impossible to ignore them. This is an actual sentence from the book:

"Cap, where do you even keep all this stuff?' Andy wondered, already alarmed at the size of the impedimenta on the anecdotic sidewalk.


Like I said, I really wanted to like this one, but I just can't. The writing is just too ridiculous. Oh well. At least I can say that I sincerely gave it a chance.
Profile Image for Evie.
714 reviews930 followers
June 4, 2017
Whoa! This was intensely fun and entertaining! Probably the coolest book I've read this year. Fans of H.P.Lovecraft and Scooby Doo will devour this. Think Meddling Kids only much darker and more twisted, with a truly gripping, edge-of-your-seat storyline.

5 shining stars from me!
Profile Image for Michelle .
286 reviews93 followers
April 11, 2021
Scooby-Doo meets H.P. Lovecraft is an apt description.

I have no idea how to review or even rate Meddling Kids because I've been on the fence between loving and hating it since the second chapter. It's somehow both fun, campy and exciting as well as long-winded, overly wordy, and sloooowwww.

I know some people had issues with the format bouncing back and forth from novel to screenplay, and others didn't like the author's made up words. But none of that bothered me. In fact, I enjoyed them. What did bother me was that when I looked up the page count (I listened to this on audiobook) and saw it was only 322 pages, I was shocked. I would have easily thought it to be a 500+ book. Because it just went on....

The last 3.5 hour (about 30%) was excellent! The action was pounding and the monsters were badass campy. But I sloughed through 9.5 hours to get there.

And don't get me wrong. There were moments of brilliance in those 9.5 hours. There was a daring mental hospital escape, a passive-aggressive hallucination, and laugh out loud hilarity.

But there was also ridiculously repetitive ramblings. I enjoy pathetic fallacies as much as the next reader, but I needed my own straight-jacket by the 50% mark at Kerri's hair. Nearly every other page it gazed or sighed or danced or gasped or went 'Weeeeeeeeeee'. No joke, her hair squealed in excitement. More than once! I never wanted to shave a fictional character's head so much.

So, I'm genuinely torn on this one. The intro was great, the end was fantastic, but it became weighed in the middle. Perhaps this simply doesn't translate to audiobook properly. Maybe I'll pick up the paperback someday (the cover is beautiful and I'm a magpie when it comes to pretty books) and try it again. Until then I'll give it three stars because plenty of scenes made smile.

F**K Salem!!
Profile Image for Lyn.
1,883 reviews16.6k followers
December 2, 2019
Zoinks! This was not nearly as good as I hoped it would be.

The premise sounds fun: a thinly disguised parallel to the Scooby Doo gang solves their last mystery years ago and they’ve all grown up and gone different directions. But the mask that was removed was only part of the story and what’s left of the gang is drawn back into a real live Lovecraftian horror story.

Writer Edgar Cantero mixes in some revisionist details and has the surviving gang living through some tough times and that was remarkable as well, added some depth. So we’ve got a good idea for a story, an imaginative take on the story, Scooby Doo and Lovecraft references – so what happened?

Cantero’s writing was just OK. Honestly, it was so disjointed I would not be surprised to learn that he wrote it with two other people and the editor just tied it all together. There were scenes that were very well written and engaging and then other sections that were simply bad. There were some humorous passages, some fun word play, and then others that made me want to stop reading.

I almost invoked my 100 page rule, almost put it down again at the midway point, really just finished out of morbid curiosity.

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