Release Date: 28 Apr 2009
Genre: Children's Lit, Fantasy, Humor
Summary: WHEN MILTON AND Marlo Fauster die in a marshmallow bear explosion, they get sent straight to Heck, an otherworldly reform school. Milton can understand why his kleptomaniac sister is here, but Milton is—or was—a model citizen. Has a mistake been made? Not according to Bea “Elsa” Bubb, the Principal of Darkness. She doesn’t make mistakes. She personally sees to it that Heck—whether it be home-ec class with Lizzie Borden, ethics with Richard Nixon, or gym with Blackbeard the Pirate—is especially, well, heckish for the Fausters. Will Milton and Marlo find a way to escape? Or are they stuck here for all eternity, or until they turn 18, whichever comes first?
Review: Before I talk specifics I want to say that I think children in the intended age range will love this book. Some of the humor and silliness of the book was just too young for an adult reader. I can definitely see it appealing to kids though, even ones that might not be so interested in reading.
Anyway, I'll start with the things I enjoyed about this book: I loved all of the witty one-liners, pop culture references and word play. I think they really made the book.
The end of the book was wonderful, it definitely inspires me to read the next in the series. I'm a little disappointed that it's left so open ended but I have no problem picking up the next book.
Lucky, the ferret, and Blackbeard, PE teacher, were my favorite characters. I instantly loved the ferret and rooted for him throughout the whole book. Blackbeard had my favorite scene and dialogue, super funny and clever.
Onto what I didn't care for: I didn't like any of the three main protagonists. When reading a book, I really need to love the main character and none of the three cut it for me. They were funny and each had their moments but I honestly didn't care what happened to them.
The potty humor, while quite clever at times, dragged on too long. The first sewer scenes were amusing and I enjoyed them but once they began the second run through it felt way overdone.
Thoughts as I Read:
- "If I pull this off-the most conspicuous holiday heist in Grizzly Mall history-I'll be a modern day Kleptopatra." Lots for incredibly amusing one-liners so far but the overall story is already so ridiculous that I'm struggling with it instead of finding it funny.
- "I don't get it," he said. "One little crime puts me away with Miss Demeanor over here..." The play on words and pop culture references are fun. I'm not thinking that many kids are going to understand them though.
- After washing his hands in a public restroom, for example, Milton would use a paper towel to turn on the hand dryer, then get another paper towel to open the door, and then get yet another paper towel to open the lid of the garbage. I hate public bathrooms. I tend to use my shoe to do everything I can. People can be so gross, you can't honestly tell me that you don't notice when you pee only on the seat or floor.
- "Salmonella," Marlo said. "Sounds like a fairy tail about a fish." I've never thought about that before, but it really does.
- "I love you, you love me. Darned for all eternity..." What a perfect TV character to stick in Heck. Barney always drove me crazy.
- "Climb the rope, ya scurvy dog!" Blackbeard bellowed. "Dunna just hang there like a pair o' great big lacy bloomers!" When did Blackbeard acquire an Irish accent? Funny line either way.
- "Why do you still carry that piece of junk with you?" Milton asked skeptically. "I mean, the Secret Toilet? C'mon. That map's about as accurate as a TV weatherman." Nearing the end! I hope to see more of Lucky and Blackbeard before it's over.
Rating: 3 Bites