Who wouldn’t be sucked into a book that begins with a character named Styx who appears as if from nowhere, right in the local woods, with the possibility that he had been summoned like a superhero responding to a beacon of night by Caleb, the narrator. If Caleb wishes to be anything but ordinary; if his father assigns him and his brother to watch their one-year-old sister; if a bully named Cory’s large gunnysack of fireworks leads them trade that baby for the bag since Cory’s always wanted a baby sister – the promise of an enjoyable read seems almost too good to be true.
I read the middle grade novel, The Season of Styx Maloneby Kekla Malonein (on sale on October 16), in an advance reading copy provided by Net Galley. The narrator finds himself drawn to the promise of Styx that there will be no problem with the Great Escalator Trade where they exchange one thing for something slightly better until they achieve their wildest dream. The cool sixteen-year-old Styx magnet becomes more important than his father’s insistence that the small town of Sutton, Indiana holds all their family needs, his mother’s high expectations for them, or his big brother and accomplice Bobby Gene’s conscience.
For one exciting summer, one adventure leads to another as both the narrator and the reader begin to sense that Styx has secrets of his own. The only negative I can find for the book is the interference it gave to my need to turn off the light and go to sleep. The Horn Book Magazine(Sept/Oct) shared my opinion and gave it a starred review.