Thursday, November 12, 2009

School of Fear (MG review)

Jacket description:
"Everyone's afraid of something...Madeleine Masterson is deathly afraid of bugs, especially spiders. Theodore Bartholomew is petrified of dying. Lulu Punchalower is scared of confined spaces. Garrison Feldman is terrified of deep water.

Which is why this may be the scariest summer of their lives. Worse than detention or summer school. Even worse than the orthodontist. The foursome must face their phobias at the exlusive and elusive School of Fear. The school is unusual, to say the least. But 'terrifying' would be a more accurate description.

The curriculum is simple: Conquer your fears in six weeks or find our just how frightening failing can be."

Reminiscent of Mr. Lemony Snicket and his Series of Unfortunate Events, School of Fear is hilarious, if not a bit dark and satirical. Author Gitty Daneshvari has created characters, each having a phobia that is very real for many people out there and if you have a child who shimmies away from bugs and spiders or has a fear of heights, they may get a kick out of these characters and just how funny the fictional treatment process is at the school. 

I loved the beginning of each chapter, when the author shared a real phobia that people suffer from, many that I had never heard of. Did you know that didaskaleinophobia is the fear of going to school? Or that mnemophobia is the fear of memories? Lots of cool little trivia facts in here!

There was definitely a good 50 page stretch in the middle that could have probably been eliminated without any plot problems. Toooooo long! Though it is certainly a light read and fun, there was just a bunch of unnecessary plot straying to make this one a quick read.

Illustrator Carrie Gifford did a great job at capturing the funny/creepy side of the story, with her black line drawings. The drawings are definitely funny, but they have that creep factor that a book titled School of Fear definitely should have.

Overall, a pretty good read. Hand this to fans of Lemony Snicket or even of The Mysterious Benedict Society. Amazon says 9-12 year olds would be the best age range for this one and I agree. Kids will enjoy it and parents will chuckle through it.

School of Fear
Gitty Daneshvari
352 pages
Middle Grade Fiction
Little, Brown Young Readers
September 2009
Review copy received from publisher

To learn more or to purchase, click on the book cover above to link to Amazon. I am an Affiliate and will receive a small commission for your purchase.


Caroline Starr Rose said...

Cover alone reminds me of the Benedict Society.

The Bedbug Blog said...

This looks really interesting and should appeal to young ones.

What a neat idea for a kids book!

Staci said...

Sounds like another one to add to my book order!