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Dread Locks (Dark Fusion #1)

3.65  ·  Rating details ·  1,451 Ratings  ·  163 Reviews
Dread Locks is the first entry in the Dark Fusion series from master storyteller Neal Shusterman. He cleverly weaves together familiar parts of fairy tales and Greek mythology to tell the story of fourteen-year-old Parker Bear, rich and utterly bored with life—until a new girl arrives in town. Tara's eyes are always hidden behind designer sunglasses, and her hair, blond wi ...more
Paperback, 176 pages
Published August 3rd 2006 by Speak (first published May 5th 2005)
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Rick Riordan
Nov 08, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
God bless Neal Shusterman. A couple of weeks ago I was looking for something to give my son Haley to read. He starts every day of home schooling with silent reading time, and it's often difficult to find books he'll enjoy. Though he's made great strides with his dyslexia, he is still a fairly reluctant reader. I rummaged through my bookshelves and found a copy of Dark Fusion: Dread Locks, which Neal had signed for me at NCTE a couple of years ago. I gave it to Haley, selling it on the Greek myt ...more
Oct 10, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I feel as if I'm always saying this in my reviews of Neal Shusterman's books, but I can't think of another contemporary author who hits the mark so resoundingly time after time, coming up with stories that mix powerful philosophy, gripping suspense, painfully real characters and shocking twists to an effect that I have rarely, if ever, seen from anyone else. Neal Shusterman simply won't ever settle for anything less than the very best that he has to offer, and the big winner is his readers, who ...more
Nov 08, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Thank you, Neal Shusterman. Just thank you.
Topaz Wright
Slightly disappointing, especially since this is the author of two of my favorite books, Unwind and Bruiser. I'll spare the summary, and, well, everything else because this is my first review and I lack an audience.
Things I liked:
Parker's realistic view and opinions of his family's wealth
The beginning of the end. It was a much needed twist
The fact that it took me less than an hour to read this
The goldilocks and medusa references. It is to be expected though, as this is a modern retelling of the
Jagpar Singh
Dread Locks is a book meant for people who like to read books that are about regular people meeting irregular people who change people after having a short conversation with them. That is because exactly that happens. Parker is a son of a rich family who lives in a fairly mansion like house. For his birthday he gets a statue of himself from his parents, and better yet a motorbike from his brother. He has gotten everything he wants when he wanted it. His sister and brother got presents on HIS bir ...more
Sep 20, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
And so the most common statement holds true to this story, “Different is good!” and with that being said-this was a short, dark & unique read for me. This story is a combination of Goldilocks & The Three Bears; with the added flare of Medusa and the author pulled it off perfectly. I will say this, at first; I didn’t know what Tara was and I had even hope that she would turn out to be good. But as the story started moving on and on I know that she had an ounce of evil in her or even more ...more
Sandra Strange
Part of the Darkfusion series. This novel and others of the series are what the series says it is: fusion of two mythical or traditional fairytales in a contemporary setting with a definitely DARK tone. This one fuses Goldilocks of the three bears fame with…well, that would be telling, wouldn’t it. When Parker Baer discovers beautiful, but cryptic Tara sleeping peacefully in his bed, he begins an adventure that affects his friends and family—and reveals the stone-cold hearts of some of his socia ...more
Kelly Bryson
Jan 03, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A modern retelling of Goldilocks and the three bears with some Greek mythology thrown in. Very good read and remarkably clean. The characters are well drawn and believable, which doesn't surprise me because I've enjoyed the few books by Shusterman that I've read. I'll definately be reading more by him.

I bought this for myself, thinking it was a bit old for my ten year old (the characters are highschoolers), but because it was free of language and innuendo, I thought it appropriate for my ten-ye
Sydney   LaForest
Jun 23, 2010 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: Nobody
I think that this book had a good concept, but for me it just didn't follow through in the 'interesting' category. Honestly, I didn't like the girl, Tara, from the beginning. She was pretty jerky. Also, I just don't get the dark chills from this book everybody else gets... I mean, it's pretty obvious what is happening. This book is very predictable, so I don't see the shock factor some people get. Then some of the parts were just so slow it took me a while just to read them. Then to top it all o ...more
Elora Mitchell
Aug 02, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is one of those books, where I was reading along, knowing that Shusterman doesn't put things into his books without a reason, yet I couldn't figure out all the foreshadowing till the end. (view spoiler)
Heidi Garrett
I like the premise of the Dark Fusion series, fairy tale meets myth. And I thought this was a good story. The fairy tale it spins from is "Goldilocks and the Three Bears". I won't mention the myth as that would be spoiler-y, but Dreadlocks was creative and I'll probably pick up another Dark Fusion read.
Not a good reading day for me. I also didn't love this. Maybe it works very well for the younger audience, but Parker's slowness on the uptake was maddening. and although I get the idea of the fusion (and think it is cool) the reality felt kind of awkward and forced.

Library copy
Ambar Negron
Jun 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Entertaining, quick read that'll make the hair of your body stand up.
May 10, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not like anything I've read before. Because of that and the unexpected ending, I had to elevate it above so many others.
Nov 29, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: children who have absolutely no familiarity with Greek Myth
Shelves: fantasy
The beauty of going into a book blind is, if I don't like it, I don't have to worry about how much preconceptions have colored my opinions.

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

Parker Baer as an adult. (vi
Renee Hess
English 425 Submitter’s name ____Renee Hess_________
Book Bank Book Bank subject: _Horror__________

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

General response/reaction:
My opinion about this book is a little conflicted. I felt that the story line was a little hard to get in to and the passages seemed to take forever to read. I enjoyed the
Rahul C8B
The usual Neal Shusterman weirdness and creepiness. Not really my favorite type of book, but it wasn't bad, so that's where the 3 stars come in. If you like his other books, then I would read this one.
Anh Tran
Feb 10, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I picked up Neal Shusterman’s book, Dread Locks, randomly without knowing anything about it. By observing the cover, I just guessed it was in the fantasy/mystery genre, so I checked it out. The book starts off introducing the main character, Parker Baer. He’s the “typical rich kid” that seems to think his life is boring, but soon meets a girl that spurs his life around. They both pique each other’s interest and start interacting. This book isn’t a romantic book like my description may lead you t ...more
Jennifer Wardrip
Reviewed by Me for

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

Parker Baer is the type of fifteen-year old I both love and
Oct 30, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Parker Baer is the typical spoiled rich kid, but his life gets a lot more interesting when he gets Tara for a neighbor. Tara has long, tight curls and an intense personality that draws others to her. Parker likes her, too, and helps set up many of her meetings with people around his school. But strange things happen to the people Tara meets. They grow less interested in life and develop strange quirks. Parker tries to shrug it off until he realizes he might be a much bigger player in the game th ...more
Mr. Shusterman conflates the fairy tale of Goldilocks, that unrepentant little housebreaker, with the myth of Medusa, a creature out of ancient Greek lore. Bowing to no one’s rules save her own, Tara comes off as being, well, just a touch boring. All humanity has burnt out of her long ago and all that’s left is her insatiable hunger, her simmering anger against her own kind and her yearning for a partner in crime. She fascinates but only in the way a snake or scorpion does—with the recognition t ...more
Jun 20, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
So, this is an incredibly quick read. I finished it in one morning.

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

I liked this book right up until the end. (vi
Amarius Lesure
Mar 27, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
There is a new girl in the neighborhood, her name is Tara. She has dread lock like hair, hence the name of the book. Tara calls Parker baby Baer, Baer is Parkers last name. She be-friends him and they go on all sorts of adventures like on his dirt bike. Tara has a secret and he eventually finds it out but he has to go thru a lot of hard stuff! “Your brother Garrett” (Shusterman 66) she knows Parkers brothers name! She has like little hidden powers.
I really like this book, it is a good read and
Aug 15, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: retellings
Pvmom and Blasterbot both read this book before me and deemed it trash, or something along those lines.

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

Parker Baer was never very relatable. I can't relate to filthy-rich-kid problems. I could perhaps relate better if it were a middle-class kid at a rich-kid school. That would make him different, give him a little bit of an emotional twist that he wouldn't otherwise have, and this emotional perspective would perhaps convince me of why Tara might want
Maria Alderete
Oct 09, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Dread Locks by Neal Shusterman is a mysterious, thrilling story about a boy named Parker Baer. Parker is the kind of boy that has everything anyone could ever want. He has family, friends, money, and anything else he could ever want. But because he already has it all, he starts to become bored. What is the point of life when you already have everything you could ever want and need? Parker doesn't know what to do. He’s bored of everything always being the same and nothing ever changing. That is, ...more
Nov 18, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I gave it a four because it had alot of good parts in it such as when Tara showed up at Parkers house uninvited and was sleeping in his bed. Another one was when she made Daunt`e tell his friends that he is afraid of the dark. And another one was when Tara made Parker smash the bodys of the people she turned to stone.

Parker's dad said some one sat in his chair and it wasn't parker or his brother or sister. Then when Parker went to his room he saw someone in his bed and it was Tara the new neig
May 03, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Linda by:
Question: What do you get when you mix Neal Shusterman, the three bears and Medusa?
Answer: A very original and somewhat scary story, Dread Locks.

Parker Baer is a very spoiled, very bored teen. His parents are wealthy and he has always been given everything a boy could want and a few that they wouldn’t want - like a life-size bronze statue of himself as a birthday present.
Then Parker meets his new next-door neighbor. Tara is irresistibly beautiful with her mirrored sunglasses, golden dread locks
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Award-winning author Neal Shusterman grew up in Brooklyn, New York, where he began writing at an early age. After spending his junior and senior years of high school at the American School of Mexico City, Neal went on to UC Irvine, where he made his mark on the UCI swim team, and wrote a successful humor column. Within a year of graduating, he had his first book deal, and was hired to write a movi ...more
More about Neal Shusterman...

Other Books in the Series

Dark Fusion (3 books)
  • Red Rider's Hood (Dark Fusion, #2)
  • Duckling Ugly (Dark Fusion, #3)

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“Sometimes, though, you make a pact with yourself. I'll pretend there's nothing wrong if you pretend there's nothing wrong. It's called denial, and it's one of the strongest pacts in the world. Just ask all those people who were still drinking champagne while the Titanic went down.” 15 likes
“With hardly any effort at all, she made me feel special. Just like all the other people she toyed with.” 10 likes
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