Title: Meddling Kids
Author: Edgar Cantero
Release Date: July 11, 2017
Book Source: Hardcover
“With raucous humor and brilliantly orchestrated mayhem, Meddling Kids subverts teen detective archetypes like the Hardy Boys, the Famous Five, and Scooby-Doo, and delivers an exuberant and wickedly entertaining celebration of horror, love, friendship, and many-tentacled, interdimensional demon spawn.
SUMMER 1977. The Blyton Summer Detective Club (of Blyton Hills, a small mining town in Oregon’s Zoinx River Valley) solved their final mystery and unmasked the elusive Sleepy Lake monster—another low-life fortune hunter trying to get his dirty hands on the legendary riches hidden in Deboën Mansion. And he would have gotten away with it too, if it weren’t for those meddling kids.
1990. The former detectives have grown up and apart, each haunted by disturbing memories of their final night in the old haunted house. There are too many strange, half-remembered encounters and events that cannot be dismissed or explained away by a guy in a mask. And Andy, the once intrepid tomboy now wanted in two states, is tired of running from her demons. She needs answers. To find them she will need Kerri, the one-time kid genius and budding biologist, now drinking her ghosts away in New York with Tim, an excitable Weimaraner descended from the original canine member of the club. They will also have to get Nate, the horror nerd currently residing in an asylum in Arkham, Massachusetts. Luckily Nate has not lost contact with Peter, the handsome jock turned movie star who was once their team leader … which is remarkable, considering Peter has been dead for years.
The time has come to get the team back together, face their fears, and find out what actually happened all those years ago at Sleepy Lake. It’s their only chance to end the nightmares and, perhaps, save the world.
A nostalgic and subversive trip rife with sly nods to H. P. Lovecraft and pop culture, Edgar Cantero’s Meddling Kids is a strikingly original and dazzling reminder of the fun and adventure we can discover at the heart of our favorite stories, no matter how old we get.” – Amazon
I had such high hopes for MEDDLING KIDS. Scooby Doo was one of my favorite cartoons as a kid. All those monsters being caught. All those fun haunted houses. All those spooky spirits and ghosts. Yeah, this book was nothing like that. Truth be told, I made it through approx. 60% of MEDDLING KIDS before I tapped out. I yelled out “UNCLE!” and begged for mercy. Despite not finishing the book, I do feel compelled to at least tell things from my point of view.
The bulk of the reviews on Goodreads and Amazon agree that the synopsis of this book sounds wonderful and let’s face it, it does. Read it. Check it out. The entire concept sounds amazing, right? A group of kids that solved a mystery back in the day now adults going back to finish what they started. It’s obviously geared towards a certain age bracket that grew up watching Scooby Doo kick ass. It’s kooky, it’s crazy and it sounds like it would be really awesome if it were executed properly. The thing is – it wasn’t. I’ve got a couple of theories:
1.) The author is from Barcelona. According to the information I was able to find online, this is only his second book written in English which means English isn’t his native language. That’s not that big of a deal at all, but if you’re writing a book, perhaps something was lost in translation? Obviously, I’m speculating, but the book leaves much to be desired, in my opinion. Perhaps the fact that this was only his second book written in English means there were some language barriers that got in the way? Again, I have absolutely no idea, but the fact that several prominent #bookstagram book reviewers gave this book a similar rating means I know I’m not alone.
2.) The writing was absolutely horrendous and that’s putting it nicely. The run-on sentences dragged on and on and on. The book honestly felt like a chore to read and I absolutely hated that feeling! “You will read 70 pages of MEDDLING KIDS tonight or you will not start another book and we will sit here all night, Mister!” … … “Awww Mommmmm! Do I havvvvve tooooooooo?!” In addition to the run-on sentences, a common complaint of this book was the words the author seemed to invent on his own. It wasn’t cute. It wasn’t adorable. It was amateur-hour starring the cast of MEDDLING KIDS and it was a train wreck. “Innerstruggled” and “tragichuckled” are ones he used not once, but several times which means even he thought he was being cute. But he wasn’t. Did I also mention the blatant change of directions during the writing? The narrative continuously switched and flip-flopped between that of a screenplay and a book. Sometimes the dialogue was written like I was reading for the lead in the school play and other times, it was written like a book should be written. Every time it switched, it sucked me out of the reading and I was forced again to wonder what in the actual fuck was happening right now?! It was so damn confusing and irritating! ARGH! Why, Edgar?! Why?!
3.) The characters had no depth whatsoever. These are people who have been together since childhood. They’re reunited as adults and no one in the group is acting like they’ve known each other their entire lives. There was no depth and I felt zero connection to any of these people. Float down the Zoinx River, live, die, spontaneously burst into a giant ball of fire… IDGAF. Do what you people need to do so I can end this misery once and for all.
Those are three pretty solid reasons as to why the book simply didn’t work for me. I swear I really wanted to like this one. The little Scooby Doo references (like the Zoinx River) and the occasional spooky undertones were not enough to save this book. All of the other reasons I outlined above just completely buried any other semblance of the book that I even remotely began to like. I was hoping to finish up the month of October strong. I was also hoping MEDDLING KIDS would assist me with that, but sadly, it fell considerably short. It’s an obvious 1 star review from me and sadly enough, I cannot recommend this title.
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