Tuesday 2 June 2015

BOOK REVIEW: The Treasure at Devil's Hole by Jody M. Mabry

The Treasure at Devil’s Hole
Author: Jody M. Mabry
Publisher: Maybury and Gilliam Literary
Pages: 220
Genre: Middle Grade Children’s
Format: Paperback/Kindle

Book Description:
How would you feel if you knew you had a legendary treasure right in your own back yard? Francis “Bug” Mosser knows, and will do nearly anything to find it, even if it means defying the most villainous person he knows—Mom!

Standing in Bug's way is his nemesis Tad Pricket, the red headed, pock-holed bully who’s suddenly been seen walking Bug’s girl, Melanie, home from school—worse, the walk ends with a kiss. Then there is the mysterious bald stranger and Miss Julia Brandon’s boyfriend who seems a little “too-classy” for the town of Possum Trot.

With the help of his brothers, and best friend Billy—along with his not-so-secret desire to impress Melanie Grainger—Bug goes off in search of fortune and glory, thwarting bad guys, stolen clothes, and explosions to find the one surprise about the treasure that he would have never dreamed of...

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I'm always up for a good adventure story, so when I read the blurb for this book, I didn't hesitate. I couldn't wait to jump into Bug's world. I loved the opening scenes. We are introduced to Bug and his brothers as they set out to hunt down the legendary Sikeston Outlaw Gang's treasure rumoured to be buried at Devil's Hole. Seeing Bug and his brothers getting up to no good was exciting. I loved the setting of the book. The dialogue really did give off the feeling that you were experiencing Arkansas in the 1940s. This aspect of the story was an authentic portrayal, I felt. I would like to say the book was an enjoyable read for me, but, unfortunately, it wasn't. I really did think I was in for quite the treat but once the first chapter was over, it was almost as if the excitement ended for me. The story just seemed to lose its spark. It had grabbed my attention for a moment but the momentum fizzled away very quickly and I just got bored. It just didn't capture my attention after the first chapter. I thought I was in for a Goonies slash Huckleberry Finn type of fun adventure story but it unfolded at a rather slow, routinely pace, which was not what I expecting from this kind of story. The events didn't stick in my head.

I really tried hard with this story. I wanted to love it but it just didn't work for me. I kept reading, hoping to find something to hold on to, something to encourage me to continue to the end but it never happened. I felt there was a lot of promise of danger and mystery but it wasn't delivered.

While I found Bug to be a bold and interesting character, I couldn't connect with the story. When I'm reading a book and my mind starts to wander, I know it's not for me. I should be fully indulged in the story and I just wasn't. I gave up because I wasn't enjoying the experience. It's the end of the road for me with this one, I'm afraid to say. Despite the fact that I didn't enjoy the book, I do believe it has great potential to be a swashbuckling story for the middle-grade audience.



Award: Bronze

Rating: 1 out of 5 Stars
Source: Review copy via Pump Up Your Book

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