Anyone who knows me knows that I am the Queen of Halloween (self proclaimed, of course). I LIVE for Fall and Halloween and breathe it with every fibre of my being. I love decorating (be it store bought or my own creations!), I love Goosebumps, I love giving out candy and making Halloween a fun time for everyone! It was fitting for me to pick up this book if only for that fact alone. Then, you make it one step better with this book being by Kevin Miller, who happens to be one of my favourite authors. How can a book be so Briar? It’s like it was fate.
I LOVED this book. All caps, bold it, italicize it, and all of the other funky settings you can come up with. This book jived with me in ways I will have to find ways to explain in this review. It’s unique, it’s spooky, it has a splash of history in it, it’s mysterious, and it’s just all around a fun time. It had me guessing along the way, yet totally hooked at every turn. I found it really hard to put this book down, but I did because I wanted it to last a long time. It is totally binge worthy, but I was loving it too much to just throw all of the reading away in one go.
At this point, I might as well provide you with a quick summary:
We follow a few different characters in this book. Our main one is Jeremy. He’s an awkward kid who just took the fallout in court for some other kids’ mishaps. It really sucks, but he’s trying to help people and save face, yet is only ruining it for himself. He gets stuck with community service at a long term care home where his Grandpa is. A popular girl (who he may or may not seem to like) named Roxanne works there in a Candy Striper type role. She takes a personal fondness to him, and they become fast friends quick.
But, that’s not all. The town got a recent shipment of giant pumpkins. It’s kind of weird though, because everyone is hearing “Carve Me,” and other spooky sayings when they carve the pumpkins. And then… they go kind of batty. Is it a curse? Do we have pumpkins with souls now? Why are vegetables so scary? So many questions!
This mystery unfoils itself, leading us down unsuspecting paths and closing out on a big surprise. I honestly really liked the twist at the end, and didn’t see all of it coming (which is a nice surprise, too many soap operas and books have ruined endings for me). This story is complex yet is simple to read. Middle grade readers will love its spooky and fast paced nature, and adults can easily get a kick out of it too. The book is PG but feels like it is aimed at all of the generations. Goosebumps and FNAF loving middle graders will have a fun time with this book, while adults who seek horror and spooky without the gore will easily enjoy it as well. I had a fun time and I wish there was more!
I’m all around impressed with this book. The Canadian roots is evident, especially once you get to the end (no spoilers, promise!). The family drama, the style and tone, and all of the rest of this book make it a friendly, spooky and engaging tale. I don’t really have any faults with this book. It felt quite perfect to me (as perfect as a book can get, of course). It’s a “perfect” kind of book for me to read. It’s nice when you find those books you just vibe with.
Also, the cover is cool. It’s spooky yet simple – I like it! The orange pumpkin really makes it pop to. Someone tell me the font for the title “Pumpkins” because that’s got to be my new personal font during October. I need more spooky in my life!
Overall, this is an awesome, engaging, fast paced and easy to read book. I highly recommend it and it will be sitting high on my shelf.
Five out of five stars.
Thank you to Kevin Miller, the author, who provided me a free copy of this book in exchange of an honest review.
Interested in reading the Milligan Creek series? This middle grade series can be found here:
Looking for more spooky books? Well, I’ve got tons on my blog! Here are a few to wet your Halloween/October field tastebuds!
Hiding Out on Halloween by A.J. Kormon
Halloween with Snowman Paul by Yossi Lapid
The Boy Who Cried Ghost by Richard Clark
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