As I’ve said before, I usually don’t review the books that I skim on the treadmill before handing over to my daughter; I don’t feel like I’ve fully read them, and I’m a tad OCD about that. Beetle Boy, however, was too good to skip. It’s new this year and I ended up loving it; my daughter read it, loved it, and is now experiencing all the frustration of reading the first book in a series when it’s new and then having to wait to find out what happens next.
Beetle Boy begins with Darkus Cuttle, who is living with his Uncle Max since his father mysteriously disappeared. He knows his father would never have just abandoned him, so he and two friends from his newest school make a pact to find him; Uncle Max agrees with Darkus, and he starts asking questions as well.
Then there are the beetles.
This book was nothing at all like I expected, really. I think I assumed from the title that it would be more of a boy-oriented book, and boy books with bugs aren’t generally my first choice. (Unless, of course, they take place decades ago, because I do have the obsession with historical fiction.) In reality, Darkus’s relationship with his friends reminded me a bit of Harry, Ron, and Hermione; not so much specifically, but in its partnership feel that rendered gender unimportant. The beetles themselves, far from being creepy, threatening, or gross, are completely cool, and I loved the way the story developed. (The climax was fabulous.) It’s exciting, and original, and thoroughly enjoyable; maybe “The Goonies” meets “The Mummy” meets Harry Potter meets A Wrinkle in Time meets The Secret Garden.
Okay, well, I may have gotten a little crazy there, but really. My friend’s going-on-twelve-year-old loved it, my going-on-ten-year-old loved it, I loved it–you’ll love it.
Seriously. You can’t miss this one.