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The Season of Styx Malone

4.06  ·  Rating details ·  2,324 ratings  ·  425 reviews
Caleb Franklin and his big brother Bobby Gene have the whole summer for adventures in the woods behind their house in Sutton, Indiana. Caleb dreams of venturing beyond their ordinary small town, but his dad likes the family to stay close to home.

Then Caleb and Bobby Gene meet new neighbor Styx Malone. Styx is sixteen and oozes cool. He's been lots of different places. Styx
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published October 16th 2018 by Wendy Lamb Books
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Heather In the first chapter, it says that Bobby Gene is 11 and Caleb is a year younger.

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Average rating 4.06  · 
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And it was around this time that I started wondering why more people weren’t talking about The Season of Styx Malone. So let me tell you a little story. Back in 2013 I wrote a blog post called “2013 Middle Grade Black Boys: Seriously, People?” In it, I sat down and counted all the novels written for kids between the ages of 9-12 that starred black boys as the main characters. Not the sidekicks. Not the helpful best friend. The protagonist. And what I came up with was a total of five books. Three ...more
Monica Edinger
Aug 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
My blog review:

This book. Oh, this book. How much do I love you?

The Season of Styx Malone is not out for a couple of months yet, but I just had to write something so that you all get it on your radar. I knew Kekla Magoon from her other work,  say such hard hitting urban YA works as How It Went Down , a delightful futuristic reworking of Robin Hood, and X: A Novel, her collaboration with  Illyasah Shabazz which I adored, adored, adored.  And now this --- one of the most delightful midd
Mary Lee
Dec 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
None of the shenanigans in the book would have happened if not for Caleb misunderstanding his dad's proclamation that he was extra-ordinary. Caleb doesn't want to be ordinary, let alone EXTRA ordinary. He wants to be distinguished and have grand adventures. Styx Malone offers that possibility to him.

Kekla Magoon did a great job creating some tension between the brothers (Caleb and Bobby Gene) because of their different personalities, but even more masterful was the peek into the tight bond of br
Jul 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: by-and-about-poc
A rollercoaster ride from start to finish. You know Styx spells trouble from the beginning and from there on out it's a suspenseful string of events that makes you dare to hope for a miracle but dread the worst at the same time. The ending is satisfying and heartening. ...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Joanne Kelleher
Jan 31, 2019 rated it liked it
I was very, very suspicious of Styx when he first appeared on the scene. Wasn't quiet sure where it was going, and was moved by where it went. ...more
Jul 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
A fun creative adventure. I have to reread Maniac Magee to be sure, but iirc this reminds me of that classic. I appreciate the themes in Magoon's story, and I appreciate that they're easy to learn because the all the characters and also the events and even the setting are engaging & authentic, too.

And as a bonus, Styx has a way with an epigram: "A happy ending depends on where you stop the story."

And even besides his big scheme, he just has an agile, creative mind. The boys are having the "who w
Jun 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalleyarc, 2018
In small-town Indiana we meet Caleb and his brother Bobby Gene. Caleb despises the idea of being ordinary, even as his father prefers the predictability of life as normal.

In this middle-grade book we watch their summer escapades, heavily influenced by their new, older friend Styx Malone. Styx is a foster child and is always angling for adventure. This summer, the primary objective is an Escalator Trade in hopes of ending up with a motorbike.

Throughout the book Caleb wrestles with where he belong
Jordan Henrichs
Dec 27, 2018 rated it liked it
I've read a number of reviews or snippets of reviews that have compared Styx Malone to Maniac Magee and maybe it was this expectation (a comparison to one of my all-time favorites) that left me feeling a bit letdown from this story.

First of all, I would not compare this to Maniac Magee. At all. I can see why the comparisons are being made. The word "legend" is tossed around loosely, and even though I think Styx is set in the present day, it has a sense of boyhood, Sandlot-like nostalgia to it. B
Aug 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is one of those stories about an extraordinary summer that changes the lives of Caleb and Bobby Gene, two brothers that meet Styx Malone in the woods after hiding fireworks they earned in a trade for their baby sister. After befriending Styx, the devise a plan to trade the fireworks until they can eventually trade for one big item: a moped they name The Grasshopper. Their elevator scheme leads to a summer full of adventure, change, friendship, and hope that none of them will ever forget. I ...more
Nov 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: childrens-books
After brothers Caleb and Bobby Gene get into trouble for trading their baby sister for a bag of fireworks, they are sentenced to a summer of labor alongside the boy who traded with them. Caleb is determined not to be an ordinary person in life, something his father seems obsessed with him staying at all times, even calling him extra-ordinary! So when Styx Malone enters their lives and offers them a way to trade the ill-gotten fireworks for something even better, the two brothers eagerly join him ...more
Dec 16, 2018 added it
Shelves: read-in-2018
I'm not sure how many stars to give it . . . it was lovely in so many ways and frustrating at the same time. ...more
Kayla Smith
Mar 12, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: t2
Caleb and Bobby Gene can't wait till the summer to explore the woods of Sutton but when they get in trouble for trading fireworks for there baby sister they have to do chores with there neighbor for most of the summer they are not happy. One day when they were walking out back after chores trying to hide the fireworks they run into Styx Malone, there new neighbor who after a while of talking they come up with a plan to work together to get rid of the fireworks and get something bigger in the end ...more
Laura Harrison
Jan 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Strong 2019 Newbery contender. It is delightful reading a children's middle grade reader intended for its target audience. Exhausted reading adult books being promoted for children. Worse yet is when they win a children's literature award. 2018 looks like the beginning of a wonderful return of books children will enjoy reading. Check out Front Desk, too. Another incredible 2018 release. ...more
Barb Middleton
A Newbery contender. Make sure you read this one.
Maggie Vallette
Jul 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Oh this book took me though all the emotions. What an EXTRAORDINARY book of friendship, loyalty, and realizing you are anything but ordinary 💕
Jeanie Phillips
Aug 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: who-s-outside
A delightful middle grades book! I loved everything about this one: great characters, interesting premise, and nuanced look at complex issues. Highly recommend!
Meet Caleb and big brother Bobby Gene, two brothers who are excited to have adventures in the woods behind their house. But Caleb dreams of venturing beyond their ordinary small town. He wants more and more, and a new "older" Styx Malone, a neighbor on the other side of the woods, seems well able to take him there. He promises the brothers that together, the three of them can pull off the Great Escalator Trade–exchanging one small thing for something better until they achieve their wildest drea ...more
Jessica Howard
Mar 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: multicultural

For this assessment I chose to have two of the main characters exchange letters to each other. Styx has such a unique character. He appears to be a smooth, cool person that anyone would love to be friends with. However, as a foster kid, his background has definitely shaped him into who he is, an independent, daredevil, drifter who is easy going, not caring about anything that happens to him. Caleb Franklin lived in the town of Sutton Indiana. His father warned him to not venture from th
Oct 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
@Kidlitexchange #partner - I received a copy of this book from the Kidlitexchange network in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Releases 10/16/18

Caleb and Bobby Gene Franklin's ordinary lives and very ordinary Summer got shaken up and turned upside down the day they literally ran into Stix Malone.

Where do I start with raving about this book? The Franklin boys had me laughing to tears from page one. So much so that my husband looked at me funny which then prompted my sharing o
Katelyn Patterson
Aug 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audiobook
4.5 really. This story is so relatable in that we all have had that person on our lives that we looked up to. But the older you get or the better you get to know them, the more you realize that they have their flaws just like everyone else. You also cringe each time Caleb and BG make a decision you know will upset their parents. But there is a very real reason their father is as strict as he is about leaving their little town. Black boys are treated like adults and seen as a threat. Their father ...more
May 31, 2019 rated it liked it
This was surprisingly affecting! After a lifetime of girl coming of age stories, it's nice to read some boy ones. ...more
Melanie  Brinkman
Jan 04, 2019 added it
Shelves: own-m
What would you do if someone offered to help you be extraordinary?

Caleb lives with his brother, Bobby Gene and their parents in a small Indiana town. His father doesn't let them leave town and wants them to stay there so they are safe. So naturally Caleb wants more than anything to be extraordinary and escape their lives as they are now. After getting in some trouble involving their baby sister and fireworks, Caleb and Bobby Gene meet Styx Malone. Immediately entranced by this new boy, Caleb is
Ms. Yingling
Aug 10, 2018 rated it liked it
E ARC from Edelweiss Plus

There's not a lot to do in small town Sutton, Indiana, and as much as Caleb and his brother Bobby Gene try to amuse themselves, they are a little bored, especially since their parents are very strict. There is a reason for this-- their father maintains that everyone in town knows them, but if they went somewhere bigger, like Chicago, it might be dangerous for two young black men. When slightly older Styx Malone shows up in their neighborhood, they soon find out that this
This is a great summertime read. Full of nuance and complexities, I only have two complaints. One, that I can't remember how old Caleb and Bobby Gene are. Styx is sixteen, so the other two can't be that much younger, but they seem like it. The comfort and stability of their home life (as compared to Styx's foster situation) adds to their young-seeming natures. Nothing about this age dynamic was wrong, I just found myself spending a lot of time wondering about it and I found it distracting.

Valerie McEnroe
Caleb Franklin doesn't want to be ordinary. That's why it's easy for him to trade his ordinary baby sister for a nice stash of fireworks. Of course that doesn't go as planned. When his mom finds out, she assigns Caleb, Bobby Gene and Cory to summer yard duty. But things take a turn for the better when he and his brother wander off their property and meet cool kid Styx Malone. Styx is a foster kid with street smarts and a never ending supply of candy cigarettes. He has a knack for sweet talking a ...more
Feb 04, 2020 rated it really liked it
There is so much to love about Styx Malone. The main characters are likable, but real, and their actions are interesting while still believable.

One of my favorite parts of this story is the different ways you will see the events depending on your age while reading it. This is in many ways a coming of age story, where all three of the main cast are learning about the world, often while not realizing it.

Styx is immediately viewed by the Caleb and Bobby Gene as this immensely cool and independent
Oct 06, 2018 added it
Thanks to Random House Kids and Netgalley for the advance Kindle copy of this book. All opinions are my own.

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5 for this 10/16/18 release. Caleb and Bobby Gene are brothers who live in a small Indiana (🙌🏻) town. When they happen upon Styx Malone one day in the woods behind their house, they are drawn to him. He seems to know so much, and he has big plans for them this summer. As the days wear on, the boys notice that Styx seems to be hiding something. Is he all that he seems?

I really li
Shaye Miller
Dec 31, 2018 rated it really liked it
Ten-year-old Caleb Franklin is worried that his father sees him as extra ordinary, but he wants to be extraordinary. He and his big brother Bobby Gene live in Sutton, Indiana, and their parents initially appear to be overprotective — not allowing them to go anywhere alone and definitely not into the city. One day a silly trade with their friend Cory (Caleb’s and Bobby Gene’s baby sister for Cory’s bag of illegal fireworks) lands them in trouble with not one, but two sets of parents. To make lemo ...more
Feb 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Loved, loved, loved this book. What originally starts out as a book about a friendship between two brothers and a “cool” kid they meet one summer ended up as one of the most heartfelt stories of love and pain I have read. Caleb and BG are 2 brothers living near Indianapolis who meet Styx Malone, a kid who seems smoother and cooler than anyone they know. They embark on a money making scheme to buy a moped, something that the brothers’ parents would NEVER allow! This story is funny, sweet, and ent ...more
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“People who like things exactly the same aren't the ones who go out and change the world" -Styx” 0 likes
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