Reading/Interest Level: Intermediate
Author: George Brewington
Publisher: Henry Holt
Bailey Buckley and his dad catch monsters for a living. They’ve caught faeries pestering candy stores and goblins infesting gardens. They even own a few exotic creatures, like a baby Swiss mountain troll named Henry. All this should make Bailey super cool, but unfortunately no one at his middle school believes him. One day he becomes friends with the prettiest, smartest girl, Savannah, who accepts he’s telling the truth. Soon the pair stumble upon some shocking stories about Bailey’s dad. It’s possible he’s been lying about what kind of creature Henry is as part of a selfish plot. Hoping to find Mr. Buckley innocent, the kids venture further into the world of monsters to learn the truth.
Initially this book is quite gripping. Unique and refreshing, Bailey Buckley’s voice draws the reader in. The book’s original story line is easy to follow. The characters are well developed and lovable. However, at times the story can become unrealistic, as Savannah and Bailey sound and act older than typical 12-year-olds. Additionally, Mr. Buckley is portrayed as a supportive and responsible father, but every so often behaves contrary to this portrayal, including at one point abandoning his son. Mr. Buckley is also portrayed as stereotypically masculine. He is large and strong, he never cries, and he is prone to anger and violence. Bailey is following in his father’s footsteps, since he tends to fight fire with fire in dealing with his bullies. Savannah joins him in this fighting. Despite the characters’ tempers, they do want to do what is good as they face moral dilemmas, choosing the honorable path even when it is hard. Overall this book is excellent and it should prove a thrilling read for intermediate readers.
*Contains mild language and moderate violence