First off, I’m not a fan of horror. Second, I do not like creepy crawlies. And yet, I still entered a giveaway for a Middle Grade book classified as horror, with a cover that clearly shows robotic creepy crawlies. A giveaway which I won. Go figure.
Mickey (but call him Mick) Bogerman is the author and our narrator. He is jealous of his nine year old younger brother Finley’s infatuation with the new girl, Savannah Diamond, who he nicknames Van Demon. Mick reacts to this jealousy, and the resulting rift in his relationship with his brother, by committing an act of bullying. Savannah reacts to being bullied in a way that leads to the creation of the Killer Robot Army of the title.
Mayhem ensues and Mick has to team up with an enemy and call on friends in ways they never expected. Kidnapping, lasers, traps, destruction of property, and hordes of robotic creepy crawlies are some of the obstacles that Mick and his allies face. Mick feels the danger to be life threatening, but the action is always kept to a level that should be easily handled by a middle school reader who appreciates horror and suspense (and robot creepy crawlies).
As an adult (and a non-practicing K-8 certified teacher) I appreciated the author having consequences for each poor choice. I also appreciated the positive portrayal of a middle school teacher and loved how he embraced Mick’s desire to read comic books as a way to encourage him.
Mick, as a narrator, has a strong voice that at first felt like reading a monologue or voice-over narration. For at least the first fifty pages, it very much came across as being told the story rather than experiencing the story with the characters. A stylistic choice which, in this instance, I very much enjoyed. I also enjoyed learning more about Savannah along with Mick.
What I did not enjoy was minor. A few errors, which I’ve decided to see as uncorrected typos rather than grammatical or spelling mistakes. The use of derogatory nicknames, which the author warns of beforehand, and the spelling of Bridget with two t’s. The two t thing really bothered me, as silly as that may seem.
How to Destroy the New Girl’s Killer Robot Army is a quick, fun read coming in at 168 pages. Though it is “Slug Pie Story #3,” it can be read as a stand-alone. There are references to the prior stories, mainly How to Rid Your Swimming Pool of a Bloodthirsty Mermaid (Slug Pie Story #2), which will leave the reader curious rather than confused. So, parents, be prepared for your middle grade reader (or yourself, parent or not) to want more.
I began reading this book as soon as I received it, as part of my participation in Middle Grade May Reads (https://www.goodreads.com/group/show/160233-mg-may-reads ), a reading challenge group over on GoodReads. The timing was perfect, as the books I had on my middle grade challenge TBR were packed by wonderful helpers and not found for several days after moving into my new home.
I’ve been meaning to analyze how I rate books, but moving takes too much of my brain right now, so I’ll just say that middle grade books should be rated on a middle grade book scale rather than a scale that encompasses books for more mature readers. So, it was fun, it kept me engaged as a reader, it was short (and length can greatly encourage or discourage a reluctant reader), and I think middle schoolers would enjoy it. It has danger, adventure, friendship, and bad behavior met with consequences. So I think a fair rating would be 3.5/5 stars.
This review refers to a finished, signed copy received for free through the GoodReads First Reads giveaway program. While reviews are not required, they are encouraged, and so this is my honest review in exchange for the free book.
Oh, and the cover, I almost forgot to mention the cover… It has one of those buttery soft covers that (ahem) some people might want to pet, with warm, muted colors and artwork that make it almost pretty (if it weren’t for the nature of the things depicted in the artwork).
Title: How to Destroy the New Girl’s Killer Robot Army
Author: Mick Bogerman
Publisher: Slug Pie Stories LLC, 2014, 168 pages
Copy Source: GoodReads First Reads