Laura Smith’s Saving Hascal’s Horrors

I received this book for a fair and honest review.

Overview: Mike Hascal has one big dream. He wants to run Hascal’s Horrors. But, there are a few problems. One: he is still in the fifth grade. Two: the shop isn’t doing as well as his sister would like. And three: some people in town wouldn’t mind the shop closing its doors permanently. Mike has a plan. If he and his friends can find out what happened to a young teen, Sean Mackey, then maybe Hascal’s Horrors can open it’s doors to the public again. What does he have to lose.

Story Telling: This is what we would call a middle-grade book. There are some fantastical elements in the story as well.

Likes: Tim has a pretty good attitude. He was fun to be around.

Carole tried to get Mike to see others from a different point-of-view.

Mr. Mackey tried to do right by the children in the town.

Dislikes: Now, I’m not sure how to go about this part. I received an early copy of this novel, so what bothered me might have been fixed in later editions. But, there were two things that stood out for me.

One: Mr. Mackey, I think, was supposed to be a bully-teacher. Or, maybe he was supposed to be semi-sympathetic. Unfortunately, the was he was written ended up with Mr. Mackey looking like a strange combination of the two style.

And two: horror is subjective. Yes, there are some children who can handle scary shows and stories at a rather young age. And then there are those who can’t handle a monster movie until they are heading into their teens. There really isn’t a clear line to follow here, except for taking each child as he or she deals with a scary story. So, no Tim, not all kids handle horror better than adults think,

Favorite Character: It would be Julie.

Favorite Quote: ““This is the 21st century Mike,” Julie teased, “And we’re in America, and what Dad says goes.””

Favorite Scene: It would be hearing how Tim became manager of Hascal’s Horrors.

Conclusion: This was a good story. Enjoy it with your middle-grader, especially at Hallowe’en. After all, you’re never too old for story time.

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