My Homework Ate My Dog!
Derek Taylor Kent. Whimsical World, $16.99 (184p) ISBN 978-1-949213-10-2
When Rudy Berkman’s family moves to Danville for a fresh start, they soon realize the picturesque town is not as perfect as it seems in this middle grade horror novel. Rudy, who is implied Black, now attends Danville Reformatory School, where the adults are monsters in disguise and the children seem brainwashed to conform. When a terrifying homework assignment come to life and devours his beloved beagle, Rudy’s had enough. But after Brett Looger, Rudy’s former bully, implied white, is also forced to move to Danville, the two boys unexpectedly bond in the face of danger and attempt to unravel the age-old mysteries of their scary small town. As Rudy experiences terrifying visions and his worst nightmares playing out in real time, his adventures offer a fast-paced romp through horror tropes old and new. Rudy’s extreme self-awareness and voice can feel more mature than his age, and some worldbuilding could be clarified. Still, Kent constructs an inventive magic system and doesn’t hold back gory details, which will draw younger readers who thrill at being grossed out and taken along for a chilling ride. Ages 8–12. (Self-published)
Reviewed on: 07/22/2021