Sunday, January 1, 2017

Book Review: How to Protect your Neighborhood from Circus Werewolves

Book Review: How to Protect Your Neightborhood from Circus Werewolves by Mick Bogerman

Goodreads Description: The circus is in town, and Mick Bogerman has a fail-proof plan to sneak inside the adults-only Macabre Pavilion. But there’s something weird about the A. Linville & Purnima Bros. Circus this year. Angry parents and crying kids exit early by the carload. Maybe it’s the clowns. Yes, they wear the standard stark-white faces and red bulbous noses, but underneath their painted smiles, there’s something not quite right. What's more, after the full moon rises . . . they howl.

When Mick and his friends rescue a caged boy from the clown’s clutches they set off a series of disasters that threaten their entire neighborhood. Can Mick become the leader his neighbors need and protect them from the pack of hungry predators infiltrating their town?

My Review: I was given a copy of How to Protect Your Neighborhood from Circus Werewolves by the publisher in exchnage for an honest review. 

Mick Bogerman, both the author’s penname and the main character in the series, brings us another installment of his middle grade series, this time featuring circus werewolves. The first thing to draw me into the writing was the fantastic voice the author maintains, mostly through a slang-like writing, attempting to imitate the speaking style of a 12-year-old. While some readers may be put off by the slang-y style, it worked really well for the book, primarily because it was used sparingly and didn’t take away from the story. Once accents become difficult to understand, it makes it difficult to even enjoy the story, but the author handled it nicely, and it helped cement that 12-year-old authenticity. 

Overall, the writing was very thin, but not lacking in any way. How To Protect Your Neighbourhood from Circus Werewolves is a middle grade book aimed at the lower age-range, and so it doesn’t waste time with long descriptions or lack of action. It is excellent for the reading level and would be a great first book for kids stepping into chapter books. It is full of adventure that keeps the reader engaged from the beginning to the end. There were a couple points where the lack of description or explanation had me a tad confused, but they were minor and didn’t take me away from the story. I especially loved that the book read as a perfect standalone; obviously adding to and a part of a larger series, but still a self-contained story that doesn’t require numerous “Last Time…” explanations. 

The story itself was rich with adventure, friendship, and tension that would be perfect for any young reader. It was fun, but also was layered in with a lot of heart. As well as tackling werewolves, Mick also tackles things like what it means to be a leader, family conflicts, as well as other meaningful moments throughout. (I was especially fond of Padraig’s issues with the insult of “Dog Boy,” in contrast to how Booger Face not only accepted his name, but owned his identity.) 

I could not recommend this book, and the rest of the series, more to anyone with young readers. I can totally see many kids falling in love with the author’s creative reimagining of creatures, as well as the heartfelt and delightful cast of characters. 

 TL; DR: All in all, 4/5 stars. A riveting adventure and a delightfully creative approach to werewolves. 

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