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Braidy Von Althuis: And the Pesky Pest Controller

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This book has won a 5 Star Seal from Readers' Favorite!

Ten-year-old Braidy von Althuis just wants one thing: to fit in. The other kids at school think he's weird, and for good reason. Despite his oddities, Braidy wants more than anything for his dad to be able to come to Township Day, a fun-filled event at school, but Mr. von Althuis refuses. "It's too dangerous," he says. Things change for Braidy when Mr. von Althuis gets sick, and, even wose, this pesky pest controller won't leave Braidy alone! Will Braidy be able to get his family to Township Day without his world falling apart? Braidy von Altuis and the Pesky Pest Controller is a tale of frienship, family, magic, and mayhem that takes a look at what it means to be bullied and how to rise above it. This book is suitable for children aged 8 - 11.

323 pages, Paperback

Published May 30, 2017

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About the author

Cassidy Dwelis

10 books26 followers
I’m Cas, and I love storytelling! I’m incredibly passionate about writing, art, and anything that allows me to create my own worlds. My goal is to write dreamy fiction for all ages that is unique, inspiring, and imaginative. I want my books to instill wonderment in the reader. I like to write about themes that include coming of age, magic realism, identity, relationships, and bullying. My books are intended for readers ages eight to twenty-five, and are meant to connect the world of the fantastical to everyday life.

I currently live in Colorado and just got my MA in Publishing!


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5 stars
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3 (14%)
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Displaying 1 - 18 of 18 reviews
Profile Image for Mariah Roze.
1,029 reviews933 followers
January 11, 2018
I won a free copy of this book on Instagram! That was such a neat experience. I had never won a book on there before.

This book is written for 8-11 year olds. However, I believe children older than those ages would still enjoy it. I love reading children's books because I teach. I love being able to share with my students the new books that I discover. I never keep books so I plan on putting this book in our Little Free Library at our local park. I hope a child picks up this book and enjoys it as much as I did.

This is a story that would fit into the fantasy genre.

The main character is Braidy von Althuis, a 10 year old boy. He tries drastically to fit in. However, now matter what he does he doesn't. There is something about him that just makes him so weird to other children and that's probably because his family is a secret and has a secret. Everyone knows his mom, a teacher at the middle school. But no one believes he has a dad. That's because his dad can't show his face (or lack of). His dad refuses to go in public. "It's too dangerous," he says. Braidy's whole family has "quirks" and magic powers, different than anything ever seen in America before.

This book is super cute and easy to follow a long. I really believe this could be a super cute movie! I could definitely see my students enjoying it!

I can't wait for the second book to come out and I hope I can get my hands on a copy of it. I would definitely read it :)
Profile Image for Michelle Stanley.
279 reviews11 followers
September 12, 2017
Reviewed by Michelle Stanley for Readers' Favorite

Braidy von Althuis: And the Pesky Pest Controller is a pre-teen fantasy by Cassidy Dwelis. Ten-year-old Braidy von Althuis is considered a misfit by the other kids at his school. He doesn’t have any friends and his family is considered abnormal by anyone brave enough to come into contact with them. When the school organizes Township Day, Braidy hopes his family will support the event, but they are reluctant to come.

Who can blame them when there is a curse on the family? His uncle Rolo is a ghost, grandmother is as old as Father Time, and his father is a Barghest who takes innocent souls back to the underworld. Things become weirder when Braidy’s father becomes sick, but Braidy refuses to allow anything to ruin his plans and takes matters into his own hands.

This is definitely one of the most imaginative stories I have ever read. My curiosity grew to keep turning the pages, wondering why the von Althuis family was so strange. Cassidy Dwelis kept the suspense going to the very end and I was not disappointed. The characters and plot were so distinctive and the dialogue was entertaining too.

I was also impressed with Cassidy Dwelis, not only for writing such a wonderful story, but for the manner in which she elaborated about bullies and how their victims feel and cope with this serious issue. Braidy von Althuis: And the Pesky Pest Controller is a fun fantasy book that children ages 8-11 will enjoy immensely.
Profile Image for Shalini (shaliniandbooks).
2,521 reviews208 followers
November 30, 2018
My first book by Cassidy Dwelis, showed me the life of Braidy where he was bullied in school, beaten up at least once a week, and with no friends. Braidy tugged at my heart strings as I have been that lonely kid too. But things changed when classmate Kara entered his life, and he could tell her the truth about his family... The first part of the story was fabulous and heart wrenching. Bullying and its repercussions were written quite sensitively by Cassidy. I wanted to hug and protect Braidy.

The book then went on to magic with the father losing control and turning into its inner bad self due to a spell. Braidy and his family soon helped to break the spell. Cassidy's writing had me a bit confused about the characters and the plot. Everything stretched the believability factor.

I struggled a bit to get into the flow of the story, it lacked the cohesiveness and a sense of adventure that I was looking for. But on the whole, it was a good beginning to the series. So went on to read book 2
Profile Image for Rajiv.
966 reviews66 followers
November 4, 2020


Braidy Von Althuis and the Pesky Pest Controller is like a beautiful middle-grade fantasy version of The Addams Family and was so much fun to read.

The author did a beautiful job with the book. Like I said, this is like a twisted paranormal version of The Addams Family, and very entertaining. While I loved all the members, from Uncle Rolo to Blockhead, Braidy stands out in the story and is fantastic in the lead. After being harassed many times, Braidy takes advice from his family and stands up for himself. He is not afraid to dress and act the way he wants and be himself. I loved the scenes where he gives it back to Rita when they talk about Township Day and supports Kara when the others torment her. The author handled the topic of bullying brilliantly!

Similarly, the author describes the family history and each of the members uniquely. I loved his parents’ backstory and how he explains each of them to Kara once he befriends her. Phineas Low also makes a devious villain who would go to all lengths to defeat Boris. The climax, in the end, was excellent and unforgettable! Similarly, Kara is a fantastic friend and supportive of Braidy. Initially, you don’t know how she would react when she learns of Braidy’s secret.

Moreover, the illustrations in each chapter make the book memorable. Furthermore, the author ends the tale with a new character to set the next book (which I cannot wait to read!). Overall, this series is a hidden gem in the middle-grade genre, and I hope many people read this.
2 reviews
January 9, 2018
Braidy von Althuis: And the Pesky Pest Controller is a fun and light-hearted adventure that follows a young boy, Braidy, as he navigates the world all of us know and remember: having a dad with a flame for a head, I mean, an uncle who is a ghos-No no! Dealing with the struggles of fitting in and finding one's self-confidence in the time of our lives when we have not yet planted our feet. Braidy not only has to navigate the world of Elementary School, with all of the mocking and awkwardness that comes with it, but things get even more complicated when his less than mundane family gets mixed up in it all. A heartfelt story of growing up and the importance of family and loving who you are Braidy von Althuis and the Pesky Pest Controller is a must read for all anyone who wants to know what it would be like to live among the creatures of the night, whether they are young or young at heart.
Profile Image for Sarah Cookiie.
2 reviews
January 2, 2018
I finished reading 'Braidy Von Althuis And The Pesky Pest Controller' yesterday evening. I thoroughly enjoyed this young adult novel, the dialogue was witty and engaging,the characters quickly jumped off the page and into my heart; also the illustrations at the beginning of each chapter were a really nice touch. The Von Althuis Family puts the 'Fun' in "dysfunctional" compared to the average family but despite the strangeness of the family, it is clear that they share a deep loving bond, and it is only their appearance that deviates from the norm.

Braidy is a sweet young protagonist who will win readers over immediately with his love for ascots and French Gothic architecture, he is a bit of a loner in school due to the other kids being merciless in teasing him for being different but Braidy remains steadfast in being unique and it's great to see his confidence grow as he stands up for himself. The author does a fantastic job of including diverse characters in her universe, it really makes the story stand out in the young adult genre.

I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a good story, or anyone who has young readers. I can't wait to share this story with my eldest daughter. I look forward to hopefully book number 2 of this series!

Profile Image for Airic Fenn.
Author 1 book5 followers
March 7, 2021
Braidy von Althuis and the Pesky Pest Controller is definitely one of the most entertaining books I’ve read in a while. The characters were likeable and it was easy to empathize with Braidy and his family’s...magical tendencies. The story was unique and once I started reading, it hooked me from start to finish, and even had me on the edge of my seat at times. This book is definitely the kind I would have picked up when I was kid and absolutely adored.
Profile Image for Sarah.
42 reviews4 followers
October 12, 2018
I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Braidy von Althuis and the Pesky Pest Controller is truly one of the most delightful books I’ve had the pleasure to read in recent months. It’s a middle grade novel, which is normally out of my comfort zone, but Dwelis’ manages to tie more “mature” concepts--the nature of bullying, conforming to societal constructs, and death--together in such a way that although it is a middle grade work, it can be enjoyed by a wide variety of ages.
Central to this story is, of course, the von Althuis family. I found our narrator, Braidy, to be absolutely charming narrator, and seeing his world through his eyes was as refreshing as it was raw and vulnerable. I think we can all see a little bit of ourselves in Braidy, regardless of age, as we navigate the impossible standards of society that we are held to.
Before I had read the back cover of this novel, I had no idea it was going to contain magical elements, but so it did, and these only contributed to the charm of the work as a whole. Dwelis plays with the ideas of minorities and representation in an interesting way through both realism and fantasy-- we are presented with Kara, a mundane girl with one arm, and we also meet Blockhead, a robotic person who can only communicate through a computer. It’s a really intriguing and refreshing way of combining the known and the unknown, and creating a world where you can’t quite tell where the magic ends and regular life begins.
Overall, I am so happy that I finally got to enjoy this first Braidy novel (thank you for being so patient with me, Cassidy!) and cannot wait to continue reading about Braidy’s magical, heartwarming adventures.
And on another note, from a fledgling blogger to an indie author-- thank you for trusting me with your story, Cassidy . You were the first author to ever send me a physical copy of their book and it was honestly the most exciting thing when I received it.
Profile Image for Tonja Drecker.
Author 3 books191 followers
November 1, 2018
Braidy is an average kid. Well, sort of. His family is a bit odd, and he is a loner at school, something he wants to change. But life isn't easy....especially his life...and he soon finds himself battling more than a run at simple acceptance.

This is such a fun read, and that while mixing in several important messages about friendship, acceptance and family. Braidy is and isn't an average kid. His family is more than strange, and this alone is enough to set him apart, but his own interests don't necessarily match up with those around him either. What I appreciate about this tale is that Braidy desires acceptance but not to the point where he dislikes himself or steps back from who he truly is. He isn't the only one with oddities either. The author has woven a world of characters who are diverse in many ways. Each one is interesting and leaps off the page, and each one has their own struggles. Add the illustrations at the beginning of each chapter, and it's a nicely balanced blend.

Humor and magic make this a read, which might have been heavy on the message end, into an exciting and fun tale. It's quirky, and this is exactly what it needs. Boredom never enters the pages as Braidy goes from one situation to the next, sometimes in a little over his head. Friendship and family come through, although sometimes in strange ways, and make the adventure sit. It's a read kids are sure to enjoy and I can't wait to see where the series goes next.

I received a complimentary copy and found this read such a fun balance between quirky, fantasy and finding acceptance that I wanted to leave my honest thoughts.
Profile Image for Heena Rathore Pardeshi.
Author 1 book254 followers
December 5, 2018
Braidy Von Althuis And The Pesky Pest Controller is an insanely enjoyable middle-grade fantasy book that will definitely warm your heart. This book is about a ten-year-old boy, Braidy, who lives with his odd family in an old palace and faces challenges in school in the form of bullying for being different. But in reality, Braidy is a brave boy who can go to any lengths in order to help his family and loved ones.

This is a beautiful story and I loved it to the core. The characterization is brilliant and the story progression is really, really good. The writing was mostly good but did feel a bit rough around the edges and in all honesty, seems to require a bit of a polish. Even the dialogues felt a bit crude and sometimes out of place, but these are minor flaws which can always be corrected by the author and seem minuscule in front of such a winning plot.

The best part about the book was that it had a lot going on which made the overall plot very interesting as well as very realistic. Each and every character's internal conflicts were displayed beautifully and I really liked reading about each and every single person and incident.

I'm sure the kids would love to read this book (or listen to it as an elaborate bedtime story.) If you like reading books with honest characterization and concept then go ahead and grab yourself and/or your kids a copy of this amazing book.

This review is also posted on www.thereadingbud.com (this review would be published on the blog on 10th December 2018)
Profile Image for Jessica Bronder.
2,015 reviews23 followers
November 8, 2020
Braidy von Althuis is ten years old and just wants to fit in. But it is hard when you wear old hand me down clothes that make you stand out in school. It’s even harder when you talk about your father and family but the only two people that are seen are his mother and aunt. This makes him a huge target to the bullies. The school has decided to hold Township Day to help the children create a store and sell things.

Braidy wants nothing more than for his father and the rest of his family to come but it is too dangerous. His father is not really from this realm, his uncle is a ghost, and his grandmother is a puppet. Needless to say they won’t instill trust with the rest of the humans. But there is more going on than just this. His father is having episodes that are getting more and more dangerous. Braidy is in for the start of a great adventure.

I really enjoyed this book. It did take me a little while to figure out who and what everyone in Braidy’s family was. I loved how this group of people has come together and so loving to everyone, in their own way. That goes to show you that no matter how different you are you are still loved.

This is a great story that will appeal to any mid grade reader to adult. I can’t wait to read more about this family. Luckily I do have the last book in the series but I will definitely be playing catch up with the three book in between.

I received a complimentary copy of this book. I voluntarily chose to read and post an honest review.
2 reviews
January 12, 2018
This book hit me hard in the feels. Right in the first paragraph, the narrator espouses that "the scariest part of it all... was the idea that wriggled into his head that they could be absolutely right." It was at this time I already knew the author knew exactly what she was talking about. This book deals with some pretty heavy topics while still managing to be engaging and fun, and every piece feels like it belongs. It's not always an easy thing, to make people believe you when you insert such heavy paranormal elements, but I never once questioned Dwelis' world.

The only reason I don't give this book five stars is because I believe it could have used one more proofread, as there were just a few things stylistically that threw me. These were few and far between, and I have a strong suspicion that they were unique to the version I read, but were unfortunately concentrated in the climax.

tl;dr: this book is wonderful, and painful in the best of ways. Read it.
137 reviews7 followers
February 2, 2018
I got this book through a free giveaway.

This is a really cute story of a kid who has a family of supernatural creatures. The poor kid gets bullied, and all he wants is his family to come to township day.
Love the creatures that she has created, and the Villain at the end was a surprise.
I’m excited to get the others and continue the story.
Awesome read!
44 reviews
June 17, 2020
Absolutely for the child in your life who likes stories of oddballs and magic! It's a fun read, I can't wait to get into the sequel and see what happens after that climactic end. There's so many fun threads I'm excited to see expanded upon. Blockhead's my favorite.
Profile Image for Stephanie Gillis.
Author 7 books53 followers
January 23, 2023
I don't read a lot of middle grade but this was exceptionally fun. If you like the Addams Family, this will give you those vibes. I loved the themes, I loved the relationships between family members and while I do think we needed more turmoil with the Pesky Pest Controller to really build up to that finale, overall this is a fun quick read and I thoroughly enjoyed it.
Displaying 1 - 18 of 18 reviews

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