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Dread Wood: New for 2022, a funny, scary, sci-fi thriller from the author of Crater Lake. Perfect for kids aged 9-12 and fans of Goosebumps!: Book 1

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I read and reviewed this book for a blog tour, so thank you to the blog tour organiser for having me on this tour. And if it wasn't for Angelo, Hallie, Gustav and Naira having detention on that Saturday no one would ever know. There’s some light spoilers incoming at this point, so if you want to avoid them I’ll give you a takeaway now: I liked this book, it was good dumb fun, written well and compellingly.

Even Gustav, a character most avoid, is actually a very sweet guy who will do anything for his friends/comrades. The main characters all explore some of the different issues and situations youngsters experience when growing up; they’re very real and relatable. Content: Whilst there's not any actual swear words in the book, there are lots of instance of the characters saying butt, ass or shiz in place of swearing so make your own decisions about who you feel appropriate to share this book with. In my opinion, I feel that this experience made them stronger, and I’m interested to see where their newly formed friendship will take them in book two.

The glass children for example, another horror book for children, manages to have interesting characters and keeps me, as an older teen, on the edge of my seat. Cut off from help and in danger each time they touch the ground, the gang’s only hope is to work together. It has all the elements of a great horror story: a group of imperfect, misunderstood heroes; evil, cackling villains; jump scares aplenty; and bloodthirsty, terrifying creatures to rival any of the residents of Jurassic Park. Scooby Doo, talk about my sweet raptors (and then decided who is who and finding out who really are the raptors), Jurassic Park/World, there is mention of anime (Gustav, yas), Harley Quinn, and more. While it deals with all of these serious issues on top of them fighting for their lives there is also some pretty funny banter between the kids that lightens the mood a little bit.

Dread Wood is an amazing story that features four very unlikely heroes, two extremely unlikely villains, and something hidden beneath the school field! The pacing of this story was perfect so that it kept me on my toes and although the story wasn’t particularly realistic it made sense. They always feel completely believeable and genuine from the way that they speak and act, to their references and the way they interact with each other. Dread Wood by Jennifer Killick is a middle-grade horror, and actually the first book in what appears to be a middle-grade horror series, which I’m very excited about continuing after having read this book. Jenifer Killick has a great voice and I found the whole story really fluid, original, atmospheric and I especially loved the characters and their friendship that came out of this detention session.Not only did the group of children in this story get detention, but they got a Saturday morning detention, which turns out to be a day from hell. Dread Wood follows Angelo and classmates Hallie, Gustav, and Naria as they head to detention on a Saturday.

Dread Wood is a YA spooky and creepy story to really make you not want to get a detention at school! Can Club Loser stop these creatures from escaping into the world and make it out of the tunnels in one piece? One of the best thriller horror kids books I’ve read - I loved the characters in this, particularly the main character. I guessed correctly with one part of the storyline but it wasn't until other events happened that I figured things out. Four classmates have all received a Saturday detention, they aren't friends but each has accepted their fate of spending their Saturday together with the eager and eccentric teacher Mr Canton, who is eager to get them to work together to get back on track!They are so much more than their first takes and as they find a way to work together, all these unexpected qualities shine through. Middle Grade Horror is a sub-genre that I’ve been meaning to read more of for a while so, when I found out about Dread Wood I was instantly both intrigued and drawn into it. As it turns out, they all have personal struggles and it actually bonds them together as they learn more about each other. The groundskeepers apparently have their pet spiders well trained and when they’re whistling a jaunty tune the spiders don’t attack, and that works just fine for the two or three hours on a Saturday the book takes place in. Although I will say it does need a massive “stop here if you are afraid of spiders” trigger warning because they are a big part of the book.

To calculate the overall star rating and percentage breakdown by star, we don’t use a simple average. Normally when authors use modern slang in their books I am kind of iffy about it because it can take me out of the story but for this book it actually worked in its advantage. I loved how the kids start off not being friends and each one of them are dealing with realistic problems outside of school and over the course of the book they all open up about their struggles and become friends because of it. Written with wit and humour, Roberts has created a fun new series reminiscent of the X-Files and pitched perfectly for 9-12 year-olds.

As we get to know these characters we are reminded there is always a reason behind brash behaviour, or those who prefer to be invisible. I love the animals (the pigs especially), though we all know what happens to animals in horror, right? Their working together, even though they didn’t particularly like one another at the start, and their friendship that grows with each passing minute.

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