Expected Publication: January 16th, 2015
By: Gina Damico
HMH Books for Young Readers
A devil is a bad influence...
There was a time when geeky, squeaky-clean Max Kilgore would never lie or steal or even think about murder.
Then he accidentally unearths a devil, and Max's choices are no longer his own. The big red guy has a penchant for couch-surfing and junk food -- and you should never underestimate evil on a sugar high. With the help of Lore, a former goth girl who knows a thing or two about the dark side, Max is racing against the clock to get rid of the houseguest from hell before time -- and all the Flamin' Hot Cheetos this side of the fiery abyss -- run out.
Dark humor is something I tend to enjoy as a reader, and Gina Damico's sense of humor tends to run that vein. I enjoyed her first novel, Croak, and was disappointed not to enjoy the two subsequent sequels nearly as much. But this was supposed to be a stand-alone novel, so my grabby hands and my sense of faith both made an appearance! I have somewhat mixed feelings on this book though. I enjoyed it overall, but wasn't in love with it by the end. It's definitely not a re-read for me personally. This is a story about Max Kilgore, a shy, skinny geek kid obsessed with dinosaurs (paleontology). The only things that he has in life besides his job at the convenience store, paleontology club, and videos games is his best friend Audie - and his Mom, who is in desperate need of a new heart and unable to help with anything. Max is barely able to keep them afloat and the bills are coming due. Then he does something stupid, and steals an ugly cat knick-knack from work. A devil named Burg is summoned and shoves his way into every aspect of Max's life, making it worse and worse. With the help of a (possible) demon worshipping girl named Lore, can they send Burg back to Hell before anyone gets hurt?
What to say about Max? He's barely coherent around other human beings, can't tell a lie to save his life and has a tendency to ramble. Except for the one petty theft, he's basically a good person. He just has no filter and needs some socialization - and more friends than just Audie. Lore seems pretty stand-offish and downright bitchy at first, but as I got to know her better I liked her. The trailer-trash parents who didn't care, unlikely job at a craft store, and her own checkered past made her the perfect accomplice for Max in getting rid of his devil infestation. Then there's Burg (a.k.a. Burgandy Cluttermuck), one of many devils, and a complete asshole. He loves video games, junk food of any kind and reality television. He wants Max to acquire him a house and refuses to leave till then. My favorite parts involved him turning into a Llyod Dobler look-alike so he could romance Max's mom and the scene where he gets Max drunk, with a running commentary on a fashion t.v. show! It got slightly off-focus and confused for awhile in terms of plot, but wrapped up nicely near the end. I just really hope this stays a single novel. I recommend it to anyone who enjoys some humor, pop culture references and fluffy reading.
VERDICT: 3/5 Stars
**I received this book as part of Around the World ARC Tours, run by the lovely Princess Bookie. No favors or money were exchanged for this review. This book's expected publication date is January 16th, 2015.**