Rating: 1-5 (5 is an excellent or a starred review) 3
What did you like about the book? This is a unique book. Augie’s family runs a struggling theme park in New Mexico, and Augie is facing a difficult summer. He’s flunked a class at school, he and his best friend have to cope with some vicious bullies, and he fears that a strange encounter will turn him into a werewolf. The fairly light-hearted story turns more serious when a tragedy occurs and Augie believes he is to blame. Augie is a believable protagonist, and his pain is palpable. I felt this part of the story was the strongest. Then the story seems to shift again and it becomes something of a ghost story. One could say there’s something for everyone here, although some readers may find it disjointed. Frequent illustrations, cartoons, journal entries and lots of action encourage readers to keep turning the pages. For some, this will be an entertaining read, others may be left feeling dissatisfied.
Anything you didn’t like about it? Although I liked parts of this book very much, I found it hard to keep up with the shifting tone.
To whom would you recommend this book? Read alikes? It’s hard to know who would enjoy this book most, and also hard to think of a read-alike. Readers who enjoy journal-style books with lots of illustrations might like this more sophisticated offering, but they should be prepared for the seriousness of some of its themes. Readers who are fascinated by the paranormal might also like it. Fans of Lane Smith’s much-loved illustrations should be intrigued by this, his first novel.
Who should buy this book? Middle schools and public libraries may want to consider purchasing it.
Where would you shelve it ? Middle-grade fiction
Should we (librarians/readers) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? No, unless the premise intrigues you.
Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City: Renée Wheeler, Leominster Public Library, Leominster, MA
Date of review: June 23, 2017