Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Book Review: Joy of Spooking: Fiendish Deeds by P.J. Bracegirdle

Just as I suspected it would, The Joy of Spooking: Fiendish Deeds has earned a place on my list of all time favorites. I love the concept, I love the characters and the storyline is engaging and relevant. But most of all I love P.J.’s writing – it’s my exact kind of slightly dark humor and is full of gems like Joy’s brother Byron’s thoughts when the two meet a filthy but surprisingly friendly old “witch” woman at the bog:

“Byron continued to stare at her suspiciously. He’d read the fairy tales, and such chumminess usually meant a kid-size oven was preheating somewhere nearby.”

But I’m getting ahead of myself. Joy, Byron and their parents live in Spooking – “the terrible town on the hideous hill.” They don’t exactly fit in with the cookie-cutter residents of Darlington, the sprawling neighbor city where they have to attend school. Joy’s hobby is researching the legend of the bog fiend and the horror writer E.A. Peugeot and she’d really rather have nothing to do with Darlington at all. She does venture there to accompany Byron to a couple of parties (the precocious 8 year old has a crush on a darling of Darlington), and she is forced to confront some of its citizens in her quest to prevent a water park from being built over her beloved bog.

This is a story about preserving diversity – both in nature and in society. But it is far from being preachy – it is fun and exciting with a liberal portion of spookiness. The villain, major assistant Mr. Phipps, is exactly the kind of well-rounded, conflicted fiendish deed doer that makes a juicy character – we get the sense that he was once quite like Joy before something went terribly wrong. I eagerly await the next two books in the planned trilogy to find out more about Mr. Phipps’ background and follow Joy and Byron’s further adventures. Highly recommended to all readers 8 and up.

This book will be out on August 5th – but if you just can’t wait, be sure to enter my contest to win one of three advanced reader copies (actual hardcovers)! And don't forget to comment on this post for an extra entry.

14 comments:

Bunny B said...

Sounds lovely! I'm sure this is gonna be on my list of fave books too!!

Ruth said...

Oh, I can't wait to read this book! It sounds wonderful. Thanks for the great review.

Shooting Stars Mag said...

Nice review. I really want to read this book now...first time I heard about it was on your blog!

-Lauren

Alea said...

I can imagine that the party scenes could be quite good. It will be interesting to see the interactions between Joy/Byron and the kids of Darlington.

allisonmariecat said...

Thank you for the great review. I've commented on the author interview, linked to the contest on the blog, became a fan of PJ Bracegirdle on Facebook, and now commenting here! Thank you for the opportunity to win the book. I can't wait to read it after reading your blog posts about it.

thekoolaidmom said...

Maggie, my 9 year old, will love this book. It's right up her alley. She loves creepy, but not scary, things. We just watched The Watcher in the Woods a few nights ago. I'm shocked I had never seen it before!

Lenore said...

bunny b, ruth, lauren, and allison - you all are going to love it!

Alea - the interactions between the kids consists of a lot of bullying but there are some surprises too...

koolaidmom - Watcher in the Woods!! I was just talking about that the other day - that movie freaked me out so much I still remember it to this day.

Michele said...

Might be a fun read aloud book with the kids!

Angela said...

Great review!

tracy said...

Lenore, I like the details you included in your review! My four year old is too young right now, but I think I would like it:)

Anonymous said...

Bonjour Lenore,
I loved your review. It sounds different from other "cookie-cutter, feel-good stories" for youth. Hopefully it isn't too dark. Kids don't need life to rain down terror on them at a young age. RCS

Lenore said...

Is that you Rachelle? It isn't any darker than Lemony Snicket, but it's not for very young children. So you'll have to wait a few years til you can read it to your kids!

jay said...

hey lenny. great rev - can't wait to read it :)

take care - looking forward to have you back here soon.

greetings from frankfurt.
jay

paperxxflowers said...

sorry I haven't entered before this! Bleh, stupid hectic life. You know how it is. But now I'm entering!

Thanks for reminding me about it!