Tales from Lovecraft Middle School #2: The Slither Sisters by Charles Gilman (Advanced Reader Copy)
Release Date: January 15, 2013
Genre: Fiction, childrens, horror, you’ll never be attracted to twins ever again
Rating: 3.89 out of 5 stars
Summary: Robert Arthur, Glenn Torkells and Karina Ortiz continue to try and save the students of Lovecraft Middle School from their trans-dimensional enemies who they seem completely unaware of. In this sequel to Professor Gargoyle, the Price sisters have been taken over by a pair of snake monsters who want to overthrow the student government one student body at a time. HAR HAR HAR. With no other option possible, it’s up to Robert to win the student council elections and take them down the only way one can take down a monster: with bureaucracy.
More so than the last review of Professor Gargoyle, this book is being reviewed for an adult audience from an adult perspective. The series can be enjoyed by children in a completely different way and I highly recommend it for middle grade kids looking for something scary but are put-off by the overabundance of the 90’s in the Goosebumps series. What do you mean no one says radical and tubular anymore?
The book opens up with a whole bunch of back story because this is a book for kids and kids have horrible memories (or so I assume, I can’t remember my childhood). The same device is used throughout other children’s series (see: Harry Potter) and is much appreciated when one doesn’t recall any important plot events to the point where they forget it was Barty Crouch Jr. THE WHOLE TIME! This is helpful for young readers, but also for people me like me who can’t even seem to remember what they ate for breakfast much less be expected to remember what happened in a book they read four months ago.
WARNING: This review contains spoilers for the first book in the Lovecraft Middle School series, Professor Gargoyle.
Slither Sisters begins where Professor Gargoyle left off, with the missing twins Sarah and Sylvia Price returning after being kidnapped. They currently have the essence of monsters living inside them, who use humans as mere skin suits. Only the nerdastic Robert Arthur and his bully turned best friend Glenn Torkells know what’s up. Well, them and Karina Ortiz who happens to be a ghost that becomes semi-corporeal when on school grounds. Worst afterlife ever.
Since the school was built with recycled materials in an effort to stay green, it’s also haunted. Specifically because the materials used were from an abandoned mansion wherein a crazed mad scientist opened up portals to other dimensions. Don’t you hate when that happens? Despite my insane thought process which led to such assumptions, this is not a message about how being environmentally conscious is life-threatening. Although it might result in weak spots inside middle schools which allow monsters to sneak through.
The premise of the book is simple enough for children: the Price sisters (now monsters in human bodies) are running for student council president- well one of them is- and once they have control over the school they can turn the other students into monsters more easily. Suspend your disbelief and try to pretend that a student president could have any real power whatsoever.
To stop her, Robert (the new guy in school) must beat her at her own game and win the election! Yup, the fate of the world rests in the hands of middle school age students voting for a class president. It’s a fun analogy for how school can often feel like the weight of the world rests on your shoulders, but in this case Robert and his desire for popularity (albeit to win the election) literally could signal the end of the world. You have to love the fun metaphor.
There is also some discussion about puberty, and Robert’s mother adorably think he’s on edge because he’s growing up when in fact he’s being hunted by monsters from another dimension. Single moms, they always get those two things confused. In an effort to help him, she gives him a “Puberty Kit” because she wrongly thinks only a man could explain to a boy what is happening to his body. Robert Arthur’s mother: setting single moms back since this book.
However, she also blames Halloween television for giving kids nightmares so she’s not the smartest person in the world. Robert Arthurs’s mom: she also thinks televisions raise children.
Since this novel is steeped in touches of the Cthulhu mythos, it would be disappointing without some tentacles or two, and Gilman does not fail to deliver. Here, take the line: “Robert yanked the tentacle by its tip” and let your mind run with it. You’re welcome. You might see that mental imagery when you close your eyes tonight. Just remind yourself it’s a children’s book.
We also get to see tiny monster referred to as Cthulhu, which are entering the world in the form of Hermit crabs. Just squeeze citrus on them and they show their true form: a brand new species of tiny tentacle monsters. Or at least so we are led to believe by Robert’s new best friend, a salty sea captain and mad scientist who lives locked inside a lighthouse. This book. Oh this book.
Bonus points for the twist ending, which makes this the ultimate modern Goosebumps. Also to pastel sweater-vest wearing Mr. Loomis who knows how popularity works and suggest Robert join the “Handwriting Club” instead.
-Continues the fun concept of the original but with new adventures
-Takes the metaphor of growing up and runs with it (puberty, school elections)
-Amazingly perfect ending, like something out of a “Twilight Zone” episode
-Still at heart a children’s novel and reads as such, detrimental to adults
-As a result of the above, some events come across as a little silly to older readers
Slither Sisters: Book Trailer
Tales from Lovecraft Middle School will continue in May 2013 with Tales from Lovecraft Middle School #3: Teacher’s Pest, which seems like it will follow around a giant fly because why not. Here’s hoping for some Jeff Goldblum jokes! I promise to love this series forever.