July 9, 2015
Return to Augie Hobble - by Lane Smith
This is the story of middle-schooler Augie Hobble, a pretty neat kid whose family lives and works at an out-dated Fairy-Tale-themed amusement park. Augie has a strong suspicion that there is something going on that is not quite right, and you bet he is correct. This book reminds me a little bit of Belly Up by Stuart Gibbs, but in that book the villains were your typical bad guys, and in Return to Augie Hobble... things definitely take a turn to the fantasy side. Not nice fairy tale fantasy, but a bit more mystical than that. I don't want to spoil anything, but there are some very unexpected turns.
I was surprised to find severe food allergies at the heart of this book. I haven't encountered that before, and as the parent of a son with life-threatening nut allergies, I welcomed the education for the readers. However, it's not an easy book to read for kiddos with those allergies, because there is a very upsetting death. That wasn't the focus of the book, but then again, I'm not really sure WHAT the focus was. The plot had powerful events and themes, but felt a little mixed-up and never really came through with a strong message in my mind.
It's a surprising book, and probably worth a read, but I could only rate it a 3 out of 5.