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The Dead Boys

3.75  ·  Rating details ·  802 Ratings  ·  161 Reviews
In the desert town of Richland, Washington, there stands a giant sycamore tree. Horribly mutated by nuclear waste, it feeds on the life energy of boys that it snags with its living roots. And when Teddy Matthews moves to town, the tree trains its sights on its next victim. From the start, Teddy knows something is very wrong with Richland--every kid he meets disappears befo ...more
ebook, 208 pages
Published September 1st 2010 by Putnam Publishing Group
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this book is not about the band. it is about a tree that eats young boys. a common mistake, but there is not really going to be any crossover appeal.

for some reason, it didn't occur to me when i put in for a reviewer copy of this book that it was a children's book. so not only am i getting no respite from my required-school-reading teen spree, but i am actually regressing. which is not a terrible thing, just unexpected.

this would be an excellent story to read aloud to children for halloween. no
Oct 03, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

“Find your own place to die!”

Dead Boys by Royce Buckingham is chock of full of spooky chills and creepy crawlies. Scorpions, snakes, and shadows! OH! And a nuclear power plant! Haha….They all come out to play.

But my favorite part was the hero. This haunted tale depicts a brave, smart boy willing to stand up for his friends, which made my heart very happy.

Teddy and his Mom are new to town. New to the desert heat and secrets in town. Teddy’s neighborhood holds some sad, spooky stories about missi
P.Q. Glisson
Feb 27, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Dead Boys was a very quick read. I read it in about 4 hours.
It was definitely a young adult book. Though there was no romance or even a girl in the book, it was still a very interesting storyline.
Tree grows by sucking the radiation out of the river. Accidentally comes across a drowning boy and realizes the energy of the boy is even better than the radiation, therefore, lures other boys through the years to suck their energy as well, but making sure not to kill its victims.
Then Teddy moves t
Aug 08, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: for-review
When Teddy Matthews moves with his mother to the desert town of Richland, Washington, he is not overly thrilled. He's left his friends and school behind and has moved into a new home where he'll have to start anew.

Upon his mother's bickering that he cannot remain indoors and must venture out to make new friends - he finds himself drawn to the giant sycamore tree in the yard of the abandoned house next door. A tree that has been mutated by nuclear waste - which in turn has taken a life of its own
Oh my goodness what a book! I started reading it on Sunday evening and didn't stop until I was done. At first I found it super creepy. When I was little I was very easily scared by noises outside my window, so one of the first scenes with him in bed at night had me curled up in the the corner of my couch eyes wide heart pounding! Ok I did calm down after that but as Teddy met the different boys I kept wanting to yell at him to run, run away fast! I think the worse came when headed out in the mid ...more
Oct 09, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I could feel the goosebumps while reading this book. Remember those moments as a child where you look out the window and the tree nearby looks eerie and even human-like? The Dead Boys takes this fear and adds a dream-like world on top of that. The horror elements in this book are supremely well done. The fear is real enough to feel, and the mystery is heightened as Teddy gets closer to solving the secret of the dead boys. These are important to enjoy a horror novel and I think the author does a ...more
Sep 11, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition

Are you a tree hugger? If so, you may find yourself reconsidering after reading this super creepy story of a tree that lives off the life force of young boys!

Almost as soon as he move to the small desert town, Teddy realizes something isn't quite right in Richland. The abandon house next door gives him the chills, but really makes him shudder is the imposing sycamore tree that seems to be thriving despite the climate. Even thought Teddy is reluctant, his
Julie Gardner
Teddy moves to town with his mother who is starting her new job at "the lab." (This also, conveniently, keeps her out of Teddy's hair most of the time, allowing him to wander the town without any grown-ups getting in the way). As he begins looking around the town for some kids to play with, he keeps running into boys who talk funny, are dressed weirdly, and have some sort of accident or disappear when he tries to find them again. He also takes note of the the abandoned house next door, and the g ...more
Apr 06, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
For a YA book for ages 12 and up this is a really good horror. In fact I was really surprised at the grimness and disgusting descriptions of what happens to these characters. It was creepy and although really short it was a decent read. Where was this when I was that age? I had no idea that YA for 12 year olds had become so graphic. It actually surprised me. This isn't a Harry potter sanitized story- this is gruesome. Since it was such a quick read for an adult the plot was wound up fairly quick ...more
Jaquan Starling
I just expected so much more from this book I was disappointed the plot seemed so good it was just like "I need to read this" and I finished in one day and it wasn't all that great
Aug 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: children-s
Think Gaiman. Dahl. Stine. Because Buckingham is a a terrific horror book for kids that puts him in this elite author company.

Teddy is a boy who befriends dead boys. Not just any dead boys, but ones who were murdered by a lifeforce that seems kind of silly to describe, but will make you shiver.

Reluctant readers and avid readers alike will enjoy this book.
Aug 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

Amzeing I've never felt so afraid yet determined to see this book through I've read this before and only got half way but finishing it now was just awesome
Nov 03, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book feels like it is written for older fans (middle school age) of the Goosebumps series.
Charlotte Hunter
Richland, in Washington state, has long been famous and infamous as the location of the Hanford Site, the most contaminated nuclear site in the United States (it produced plutonium for most of the nuclear weapons developed by the U.S.) and the focus of the nation’s largest environmental clean up. As if this disaster on the Columbia River wasn’t sufficiently horrifying, Buckingham uses his hometown as the setting for a story that combines an unconventional serial killer, its victims, and a smart ...more
Oct 24, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: R.L. Stine Fans
Recommended to Jacqueline by: Library
I was scrolling through my libraries web site and saw a new feature, newsletters for various ages that are full of books the library recommends. I saw this listed and thought "this might be a good read for Halloween". I am glad I requested this book, it is what I was looking for and so much more.

This book scared the heck out of me. There were parts in the book where I felt so silly (I am adult) I caught myself reading faster and faster and I felt my heart rate picking up. I found myself running
Sep 10, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is pretty creepy. For me, the creepiness was compounded by the "about the author," which appears at the beginning of my ARC, telling a bit about Buckingham's childhood in Richland, downstream from a nuclear power plant and with a huge and gnarly sycamore tree in his back yard. If this ends up coming at the end of the published book, I think it'll add a little chill after everything is over and done with. Because I read it at the beginning, I kept thinking, "This is a real place!" even ...more
Mishel Zabala
Oct 08, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: for-review
My rating: 4/5 stars

I haven't read many middle-grade novels and I know I've never read any novels featuring killer trees... Honestly, I stray away from the younger side of the YA genre. I probably shouldn't say no to a particular group of books anymore because most of the time I enjoy the ones I normally think I wouldn't. But I digress... I quickly gobbled up The Dead Boys. It was tough to put the book down to be quite honest. I just had to know what happened to Teddy and all those...well, dead
Dec 29, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2010, cybils
This is not a book I would have been able to read as a child, let alone curl up with it right before bed. I read it in about two hours straight. I kept telling myself, well, I'll just take a break to finish my holiday cards after this chapter. Four chapters later, I was like, well, I can take a break to start wrapping Christmas gifts. Once I hit the middle of the book, I realized all resistance was futile and climbed into bed to see it through to the end.

I like the pacing of this story - the act
Feb 26, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The pro review:
It can be hard to make friends when you move to a new town. When Teddy moves to Richland, he finds himself playing with a series of kids who just… disappear. And you know how strange noises can make it hard to sleep in a new space? The tree outside of Teddy’s room seems to be getting more aggressive in its scratching against his window. This relatively slim volume combines horror and historical fiction in a story that will delight and terrify its readers. Teddy is an accessible ev
Wendy Hines

Years ago, the government dumped their nuclear waste in water and streams. They know better now, but in the small town of Richland, it bore consequence.

A sycamore tree drew it's energy from the waste in the earth, it's branches creeping and digging deeper and further. Then, when it could not survive on that energy alone, it found that it could live on the life force of humans, namely twelve year old boys. It didn't kill the boys, but kept them in a space between the living and the dead.

When Tedd
Aug 18, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, scary
OK--I'll never look at an old gnarly tree in the same way again.

What a great concept: nuclear radiation from an old weapons plant in Teddy's new town has mutated the huge tree in the yard next door, so that it likes to catch boys, drain the life out of them, and keep them half dead to feed on. Every ten years, a 12-year-old disappears. It's been ten years, and Teddy is twelve. Uh-oh. His mom encourages him to get out and meet new kids (it's summer), but all the boys he meets turn out to be dead
Eleni ( La Femme Readers )
The Dead Boys had a phantasmic yet spooky concept that would appeal to Middle Grade and Young Adult readers. Royce's conveyed events contributed a distinct fluidity that quickly turned into a fast-paced tale. Due to nuclear waste, Richland's hidden tree of doom pried energy from twelve year old boys. Every ten years, this monstrous, life-draining plant sought out a new victim. The moment Teddy arrived to the neighborhood, his unfortunate location stirred the tree's unnatural yearning. Teddy was ...more
Liz S.
4 stars for a boy reader though - it's fast paced, full of adventure & freaky stuff. From a parent/older reader point of view I thought it didn't give enough explanation or any "moral of the story" type of element but perhaps it's good to leave those things hanging for a young reader to try to figure out on their own. It weaves between worlds and that could be confusing for a reader who needs clear setting/perspective in a story. Rated 5.3 AR level - accurate for the level of words, but perh ...more
Sep 19, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've been debating whether or not I wanted to stop reviewing YA until my son is a little older to read them. It seems that for the most part I either really like them or can do without. I think I'm going to have to keep reading them if they are anything like The Dead Boys.

This book is only 201 pages, but where it lacks in length it more than makes it up in storytelling. It's not every boy that can move to a new town and deal with a tree that is trying to eat him. Teddy is a strong young man who
Ashley D--
Mar 26, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kids-novels
For a book I just picked up because of the font on the cover, this book was great. I hadn't heard of it beforehand, and usually one-offs by unknown authors in the kids' section have about a 10% chance of pleasing me. But I liked this one! It wasn't mind-blowing, but it was great in terms of sheer horror. I loved the creepy tree drawing at the beginning of each chapter and how its claw-like branches get long and longer as the boy runs from it. Very visually chilling. I read it a while ago and I s ...more
Things I Liked:
This was a deliciously creepy story. I'm not a fan of horror or scary stories generally, but this one was quite good. I loved the disturbing situation that Buckingham created for Teddy and especially the evil tree force. It is an imaginative and really vivid story that will have you breaking out in goosebumps and watching out for trees over your shoulder. A perfect Halloween read, I'd say (too bad I read it in January).

Things I Didn't Like:
The fantasy element in the story was not
Feb 23, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Kate by: Isinglass Award nominee, Teen Book Club selection
Teddy just moved to a new town, where his mother will be starting a job at the nuclear power plant. Next door to his house there's a tree that years ago sucked up some toxic waste, then developed a taste for 12-year-old boys. Teddy keeps meeting kids his age, who talk and dress funny. Albert runs from a bully and floats down the river. Walter jumps into a ditch and gets buried. When Teddy tries to show the police, suddenly the landscape has changed. Quickly Teddy figures out that the boys he's b ...more
Oct 27, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, childrens
Teddy, with his mom, move to a new house in a new town when she gets a new job at the nuclear plant. Mom is anxious for Teddy to make new friends but he finds that it isn't going to be easy especially when the boys he does meet are in strange situations and then they disappear. It turns out the boys are somehow related to the sinister sycamore tree in the neighboring yard that seems to be trying to get him..

The mysterious boys, the creepy tree and Teddy's adventures kept me entertained and wanti
Emily Northcutt
Jan 12, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ya, horror-fiction
It's been a while since I read a good ghost story and this one really hit the mark. It's perfect for a middle school/upper elementary reader who wants a creepy tale that isn't of an intimidating length. Teddy is a 12-year-old boy who moves to Richland, WA when his mother gets a new job. They arrive to find that their new house is next to a run-down property that features a tree that eats children - specifically it prefers to consume a 12-year-old boy every ten years and it has decided that Teddy ...more
Teddy and his mother move to the small, desert town of Richland, Washington, after his mother takes a job at the nuclear power plant there. She is anxious for Teddy to make friends, sending him out on his bicycle to find neighboring kids.

Teddy thinks that it's unlikely he'll meet anyone since there's still a month of summer before school begins. However, he meets three boys in three days. Odd, old fashioned boys his own age, who quickly get into life-threatening situations and try to pull Teddy
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Royce Buckingham lives in Bellingham, Washington, with his wife and sons.
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