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. Gina Damico, author of the Croak series, once again delivers all the horror, hilarity, and high-stakes drama that any kid in high school or hell could ever handle.
A hysterical stand-alone.
This book is hysterical. Let's talk about what "hysterical" means.
hys·ter·i·cal - h??ster?k(?)l/ - adjective
1. deriving from or affected by uncontrolled extreme emotion.
synonyms: overwrought, overemotional, out of control, frenzied, frantic, wild, feverish, crazed
Yes, all of that very much describes this book. Max Kilgore inadvertently makes a contract with a Devil, and it gets him into a lot of trouble. There is a lot of emotion, very frenzied people, crazed adventures and feverish debates. Things get out of control quite often, and the writing itself is quite overwrought, in a very entertaining way.
What I loved: The Devil: Burgundy Cluttermuck is a hilarious antagonist. His jokes are always funny, his pop culture references are unexpectedly goofy, and his sense of style is just plain weird. Burg says things like, "Oh my stars and garters!" and calls people "homeslice." He's gross, he's loud, he's obsessed with Call of Duty, and also addicted to junk food, but only if it's stolen. Burg is actually quite a complicated character as well. He has a lot of surprising depth and even goes through some character development.
The protagonist: Max is not a good criminal. In fact, he feels guilty as sin just for stealing a grotesque, pink, glittery, plastic cat for his sick mother's bedside table. Max is also not the greatest friend - he tries to protect the one friend he has, but actually risks her life. Even though Max makes a new friend, he demands a lot of her, risks her life, too, and sort of take advantage of her generosity. Max is actually a very good son; he takes good care of his sick mother, who is waiting for a heart transplant. But Max is maybe too good to her - because he sacrifices the well-being of others in order to try to save his poor mom.
Max is definitely a mess. His jokes are lame and his haircut is worse. He has to try very hard to not talk about veal when around girls. He makes a whole crap-ton of mistakes that actually cost people their lives. But you know what? I really liked him. He has a serious obsession with dinosaurs, which I can totally relate too. I am very jealous that Max is hardcore enough to keep that plastic Jurassic Park watch and wear it every single day and I am impressed with Max's self-taught paleontology skills.
The Verdict: HELLHOLE is a great book. It's funny, weird, and wholly original. Gina Damico delivers another of her slightly raunchy, always entertaining, and incredibly fun stories.