Meddling Kids & koozie c/o Doubleday Books
When I first heard the premise of Meddling Kids, I was instantly transported back to childhood, and more specifically to Saturday mornings with my little brother. It was pitched to me as Scooby-Doo meets H.P. Lovecraft, and upon hearing that, I just knew I had to read this book -- if not for anything else, then for nostalgia's sake. Cantero's allusion to my favorite mystery-solving gang was the perfect way to draw me in, but the imagining of a gang all grown-up, and facing real terrors -- kept me hooked. Meddling Kids surprised me in so many ways, and I'm so grateful for the team at Doubleday Books, who first introduced me to this read and are also giving a copy to one lucky Top Shelf Text reader!
The story takes place in the summer of 1990, thirteen years after the Blyton Summer Detective Club went their separate ways after wrapping up their final case. Though the villain was caught, the unanswered questions of the case leave the gang feeling haunted.
The gang's final case took place within the formidable Deböen Mansion, located on a lonely island in the middle of the lake (having been built with a miner's fortune). There, the kids reveal the true identity of the Sleepy Lake Monster -- a greedy man after a treasure that didn't exist.
Years, later, the gang has lost touch, and Andy, the tomboy of the group, is feeling restless. She knows that there's more to the mystery from that long ago summer, so she gets in touch with Kerri, the token genius, and they travel to fetch the youngest of the group, Nate. Nate's fascination with all things horror landed him in an asylum, where he continues to talk with the ghost of the fifth member, Peter, whose movie star fame and drug addiction led him to his grave years earlier. Andy and Kerri convince Nate to return to Blyton Hills for a final look at the now-derelict mansion, hoping to find closure and an end to the nightmares. It's then that they discover that the final case may still need solving.
There were certain elements of this story that surprised me in their seriousness and sophistication. The book contained modern romance, observations of mental health, trauma, and did so in a way that felt raw and genuine. For that reason, the characters were extremely flawed but also the kind that you root for -- hoping that they'll find peace with themselves and with the frightening world that they live in. The science fiction elements of this book were unique and brought the idea of a group of teenage detectives to another level, one that sent chills up my spine as I read. I'd recommend this to fans of many genres -- mystery, horror, sci-fi, fantasy. I can't say whether it's a book that I would have picked off a bookstore shelf, but a month after reading it I'm still thinking about it and about the big reveal -- always a good sign.
Bottom-Line Rating: 3/5
Doubleday Books is offering one Top Shelf Text reader a copy of Meddling Kids AND a meddling kids drink koozie! To enter, go to THIS PICTURE on Instagram and tag two friends who would be interested in this book.
You must be following @topshelftext and @doubleday books.
Open to U.S. applicants only. Giveaway entries valid through Monday, July 24th.
Title: Meddling Kids
Author: Edgar Cantero
Publisher: Doubleday Books
Price: $18 on Amazon
Source: Doubleday Books
Note: Top Shelf Text was provided with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review by Doubleday Books. All opinions are my own!