Guys Read: Thriller edited by Jon Scieszka, who also wrote the introduction, begins with a bang. The introduction is all about the book cover, opening the realm of possibility and letting the reader know that the 10 short stories by 10 prominent middle grade and young adult authors are going to be exciting and obviously thrilling. Each story features a male protagonist, which I think is a great way to reel in male readers. So, because this is a book of short stories, I thought I would write a sentence or two summarizing each short story and a sentence on my verdict of each short story.
1. The Old, Dead Nuisance by MT Anderson kicks off Guys Read: Thriller. In this story, a boy is on location with his dad who produces a tv show about ghosts and crackpot psychics. The boy has his own experience with a ghost who has left behind a treasure. My verdict: I liked this short story and the twist!
2. Believing In Brooklyn by Matt de la Pena features a wish machine and a boy who doesn’t believe. I thought this was at turns funny and touching. Also there’s a grandma, and you should know I love the elderly. ALSO there’s diversity. My verdict: I am a fan!
3. The Double Eagle Has Landed by Anthony Horowitz follows a boy who lives with his brother who is literally the worst private detective ever. Also there are dogs. My verdict: Well, it’s not entirely memorable, but full of action and definitely has an audience. Plus dogs are always a thumbs up in my book.
4. Pirate by Walter Dean Myers is about a Somalian boy who is a pirate who must make an incredibly tough decision. My verdict: I thought Myers did a fabulous job at making the Somalians sympathetic, as opposed to demonizing them because of that whole piracy thing.
5. Thad, The Ghost, And Me by Margaret Peterson Haddix is all about this kid who has a cousin Thad who is a big huge dork. So he decides to help Thad become cool by taking him to a haunted house, only there is a real ghost inside! My verdict: Perfect before bed Halloween reading.
6. Pudding by Jarrett J. Krosoczka is told in comic format and is basically about this kid who eats some pudding at a state fair and gets powers. My verdict: YAY COMICS and bring on the magical powers. I would have liked this one to be longer.
7. The Snake Mafia by Gennifer Choldenko are about two brothers, River and Niko (spelling might be wrong and I don’t have book to refer to) whose investigative journalist father is missing. Obviously snakes are involved. My verdict: This one ran a little long and lost my attention for a little bit, BUT I did love that there was diversity and the brother relationship.
8. Nate Macavoy, Monster Hunter by Bruce Hale is about this one boy who is convinced that his best friend was kidnapped by monsters. Oh and he is obsessed with this show called Monster Hunters which is super similar to Ghost Hunters. He decides he must rescue his friend. My verdict: YAY for friendship! I enjoyed Nate Macavoy Monster Hunter.
9. Boys Will Be Boys by James Patterson is about two boys who are riding the train to a school field trip. A body is discovered on the train tracks as well as some shifty characters in the train car. My verdict: Well, only one short story featuring a body on the tracks will be imprinted on my heart and it certainly isn’t this story. Ultimately forgettable.
10. Ghost Vision Glasses by Patrick Carmen is about this kid who is a big huge nerd who really loves collecting weird stuff, he also has a bully who totally sucks. Anyways he finds these old comic books and orders these glasses out of them that promise they will let him see ghosts. My verdict: I LOVED THIS STORY. It was my favorite in Guys Read: Thriller. It was eerie at turns, silly at others. I think a perfect note on which to end the book.
Disclosure: I borrowed this from my local library. Holla Tax Dollers! Make it rain dollar bills on the library!
This is a CYBILS nominee.