Sunday, June 5, 2016
Hell Hole / Gina Damico / 350 pages
It all started with the theft of a cat - an ugly plastic, bejeweled, fake, atrocity,... and an affinity for dinosaurs. Max Kilgore stole the cat from the shop where he works for his critically ill mom. His affinity for dinosaurs prompted him to forego Friday night football games, etc. in favor of excavating on Ugly Hill, the site of a dinosaur bone discovery. He would either dig or work in his secret dinosaur lab. After he purloins the cat, as he is digging on Ugly Hill, the hole he is digging expands exponentially and allows a Satan to scape - one Burgundy Cluttermuck. Burg demands a house with a hot tub. In exchange, he will vacate Max's basement where he foregoes pants, pigs out on junk food, and watches endless TV. Max bargains to include his mom's health in the deal. Max is aided in his devil dealing by a weird girl with an odd reputation, Lore Nedry, and his best friend - the girl next door, Audie. This cautionary tale portrays the slippery slope of poor moral decisions. Although Kirkus Review claimed the book was "hilarious...all the way through," I take issue with this. A mother bedbound in need of a heart transplant and fourteen dead are definitely not hilarious. There is a great deal of humor that would appeal to middle graders, but mature language and references definitely require a YA classification.