::tap, tap:: is this thing on?
I'm back from "vacation"; let's see if we can get this going again.
(I read this in galley, but it came out at the end of May.)
Every once in awhile a book comes along that makes me realize that to enjoy some things, you really have to be 12 years old. This book is one of those things. (Note: this is not a bad thing; I shall explain.)
14 year old Toby - bored, lonely, and at sea just two weeks into the summer - applies at and is hired by the newest branch of pizza chain Killer Pizza. Since he dreams of becoming a world-famous chef (despite no experience besides eating and watching the Food Network), this suits him perfectly.
However, it's only a (short) matter of time before he learns that Killer Pizza is really a front for a secret monster-hunting organization, and that he's been hired not for his pizza-making enthusiasm, but for some unnamed quality that the KP saw within him.
At first, Toby finds the whole thing thrilling - high-tech gadgets, clandestine training, and spending time with his beautiful classmate Annabel - but a terrifying encounter in the woods one night brings the whole thing a little too close to home for him. He wants out - but will he be allowed to leave, knowing what he now knows? Does he really have an important part to play in the KP organization? What happens to his hometown if the monsters win?
So, what I referred to at the beginning - it is pretty impossible for me, a 37 year old, to believe that a monster-hunting organization would think that hiring normal 14 year olds to battle the forces of evil was a good idea. It took some serious suspension of my disbelief to get around that. However, once I got over myself (and tried to pretend I was 12) I dug this book a lot. It's a little funny, more than a little scary, and chock a block full of monster-hunting action. Toby's a goofball, but a likeable goofball. There aren't a lot of scary books out there for middle-grade readers, and I get a lot of kids looking for a fright, so I'm glad to add KILLER PIZZA to the shelf.
(Reading it made me really hungry, so be forewarned.)