With raucous humor and brilliantly orchestrated mayhem, Meddling Kids subverts teen detective archetypes like the Hardy Boys, the Famous Five, and Scooby-Doo and delivers an exuberant and wickedly entertaining celebration of horror, love, friendship, and many-tentacled, interdimensional demon spawn.
Summer 1977. The Blyton Summer Detective Club (of Blyton Hills, a small mining town in Oregon's Zoinx River Valley) solved their final mystery and unmasked the elusive Sleepy Lake monster - another low-life fortune hunter trying to get his dirty hands on the legendary riches hidden in Deboën Mansion. And he would have gotten away with it, too, if it weren't for those meddling kids.
In 1990, the former detectives have grown up and apart, each haunted by disturbing memories of their final night in the old haunted house. There are too many strange, half-remembered encounters and events that cannot be dismissed or explained away by a guy in a mask. And Andy, the once intrepid tomboy now wanted in two states, is tired of running from her demons. She needs answers. To find them she will need Kerri, the onetime kid genius and budding biologist, now drinking her ghosts away in New York with Tim, an excitable Weimaraner descended from the original canine member of the club. They will also have to get Nate, the horror nerd currently residing in an asylum in Arkham, Massachusetts. Luckily Nate has not lost contact with Peter, the handsome jock turned movie star who was once their team leader...which is remarkable, considering Peter has been dead for years.
The time has come to get the team back together, face their fears, and find out what actually happened all those years ago at Sleepy Lake. It's their only chance to end the nightmares and, perhaps, save the world.
A nostalgic and subversive trip rife with sly nods to H. P. Lovecraft and pop culture, Edgar Cantero's Meddling Kids is a strikingly original and dazzling reminder of the fun and adventure we can discover at the heart of our favorite stories, no matter how old we get.
"Cantero (The Supernatural Enhancements) will win readers' hearts with this goofy, smart love letter to childhood adventure and enduring friendship.... The prose is fast and funny, and the quirky, lovable characters are absolutely irresistible." (Publishers Weekly)
"Cantero's imagination is vivid, and the story, once it gains speed, continues at a breakneck, roller-coaster pace. He plays with form and style, which makes for an enjoyable romp. Fans of modern takes on Lovecraft and those that are nostalgic for the cartoons of their childhood will like this novel, which is also a sure bet for your Stranger Things-themed display." (Booklist)
"Deliriously wild, funny and imaginative. Cantero is an original voice." (Charles Yu, author of How to Live in a Science Fictional Universe)
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Narration and writing hard to follow
I'd definitely lengthen some of the pauses in the narration when switching between different groups of characters, and maybe try to give each character more distinct voices. I'd probably also add more significant Chapter breaks - without them, it feels like a very long short story.
Maybe. The writing was a bit over-dramatic for my tastes at times, reading a bit more like an angsty teen novel than I expected.
Joey Crantz; I felt like the narrator Kyla made this guy stand out from the other characters in terms of mannerisms and voice.
Maybe it was the writing, but the main characters kind of blended together in the way that shared protagonists sometimes do - they all had very different backstories, but I feel like it was harder to differentiate them based on their actions in the story once they got together.
The book was interesting enough, with a decent plotline that kept me reading until the end. However, it was oddly hard to follow as an audiobook, and I found that I had to go back and listen to several segments to figure out the current setting. The narration and writing tended to jump between different groups of characters and locations without much warning,
There were also several jokes or sayings which didn't make sense at first listen.
Perhaps the book is easier to understand when reading rather than listening.
- Jesse L. Chan