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Aeicha @ Word Spelunking

Monday, February 6, 2012

ARC Review: Cold Cereal by Adam Rex

TITLE: Cold Cereal                             AUTHOR: Adam Rex
PUB:Balzer + Bray                              PUB DATE: 2/7/12
FORMAT: ARC, 422 pgs                   SOURCE: publisher

Cold Cereal Facts Serving size 1 chapter
Number of servings 40 Primary human characters 3 Scottish Play Doe, aka Scott- possible changeling, Erno Utz -genius, Emily Utz- supergenius
Magical creatures at least 3 Mick Leprechaun (or Clurichaun) Harvey Pooka (rabbit-man) Biggs indeterminate origin (hairy, large) Evil organizations 1 Goodco Cereal Company, Purveyor of breakfast foods aspiring to world domination
Adventure 75% Diabolical Schemes 40% Danger 57% Legend 20% Magic 68% Humor 93% Puzzles 35% Mystery 49% 
Not a significant source of vampires. 
May contain nuts. 
Daily values based on individual interest. Reader's estimation of value may be higher or lower, depending on your tolerance for this sort of thing. 

THREE WORDS: Fun, Unexpected, Enchantingly-and-Fantastically-Odd (it’s one word…I swear!)

MY REVIEW: Magical creatures (leprechauns, rabbit-men, fay, a might be bigfoot), clever young characters, wicked baddies, and an action packed, wildly fun and funny story…Cold Cereal by Adam Rex has everything you could ever want in an MG fantasy…and a heck of a lot that you never even knew you wanted!

Scottish Play Doe—aka Scott—is used to being a little different, and not just because of his name. Sometimes he hallucinates things no one else can see: mermaids. Unicorns. A talking rabbit-man in tweed pants.
But then one of these hallucinations tries to steal Scott’s backpack, and he comes face-to-face with an honest-to-goodness leprechaun in a tiny red tracksuit. Mick not only claims that Scott must be part faerie, but desperately needs his help—Mick’s on the run from, of all things, the Goodco Cereal Company.

With the help of his friends Erno and Emily (who have their own weird connection to Goodco), and their enormous and suspiciously hairy housekeeper, Biggs, Scott and Mick uncover Goodco’s sinister plans—and take the first steps in saving the world from the evil cereal company.
If asked to describe this book in one sentence, I’d go with:
          It’s deliciously kooky and slightly twisted.

To me, this description best conveys the awesomeness of Cold Cereal. With this book, Rex offers readers an exciting and captivating story full of imagination and originality.
This is a longer MG book, at over 400 pages, but it’s easy to devour in one or two sittings. Fast paced, the story flows quickly but efficiently, and will hold the attention of even younger readers from beginning to end. The writing is smart and perfect for its intended audience.

The storyline itself follows a well-known and used, basic MG outline (new kid moves to town, befriends outsiders, discovers some strange, evil plan, goes on a crazy adventure to stop the bad guys) just enough to give readers a sense of familiarity, but mixes things up by stepping outside the (cereal) box. One of the aspects I love best about this book is that expected things happen in sensationally unexpected ways. The twists, turns, and surprises never stop coming!

So, what makes this story so deliciously kooky (and I use the term “kooky” in the most complimentary way)? Well, there are the fantasy elements which are enchanting, fantastical and odd…or as I like to put it- enchantastically (I will be trademarking this totally boss new word) odd. Now, for many older readers the words “kooky” and “odd” may be a deterrent, but for younger readers these words are like marshmallows in cereal- they pretty much guarantee awesomeness. Then there’s the satirical Goodco Cereal Company. Older readers will find the satirical look at consumerism amusing and maybe even thought-provoking, but younger readers will get it too…but I’ll discuss this notion more in a bit. And of course, there’s the humor, the wildly over the top (but in the best way possible) situations, and the eclectic, eccentric characters…all of which add to the overall wondrous kookiness.

But what about the slightly twisted part, you ask? Rex takes his story to some very surprising places and not just surprising as in not expected, but surprising as in Oh snap! Did they really just Go There in a MG book?!. I love a book and author who isn’t afraid to Go There and Cold Cereal definitely goes there.

And of course, among all this kooky twistedness are some wonderful characters. The characters in this book are superbly written and developed, and are all engaging and compelling. Our three main younger characters, Scott, Erno and Emily, are endearing; likable; relatable; and easy to root for. Emily is an especially intriguing character that is delightfully unstable…and having written a character that I am compelled to describe as such is, on its own, enough of a reason to be impressed with author Adam Rex.

Like a lot of MG books, the younger characters in Cold Cereal kind of run the show, which I love and I think many younger readers do as well. They are the ones who outsmart the baddies, take the dangerous risks, and save the day. And like the clever young characters in the story, I think younger readers will appreciate the fact that Rex doesn’t over simplify his story and plot because he believes that his young readership will simply “get” his story. And they will. They’ll get (and totally dig) the kookiness and they’ll handle and be fascinated by the twistedness.

The ending sets up future books nicely, but also offers a satisfying stand-alone conclusion.

***Important Update Because I Forget To Mention This***
There is a Goonies reference in this book....!!!!!!!.....that is all.

MY FINAL THOUGHTS: Adam Rex’s Cold Cereal offers a colorful and tasty reading experience. Readers of all ages will be captivated by this book and crave seconds. A definite MUST read!

5/5 Cupcakes

Find the author: Website / Goodreads / Twitter 
Adam Rex grew up in Phoenix, Arizona, the middle of three children. He was neither the smart one (older brother) or the cute one (younger sister), but he was the one who could draw. He took a lot of art classes as a kid, trying to learn to draw better, and started painting when he was 11. Later he got a BFA from the University of Arizona, and met his physicist wife Marie (who is both the smart and cute one).Adam and Marie live in Tucson, where Adam draws, paints, writes, spends too much time on the internet, and listens to public radio. Adam is nearsighted, bad at all sports, learning to play the theremin, and usually in need of a shave. He can carry a tune, if you don't mind the tune getting dropped and stepped on occasionally. He never remembers anyone's name until he's heard it at least three times. He likes animals, spacemen, Mexican food, Ethiopian food, monsters, puppets, comic books, 19th century art, skeletons, bugs, and robots.His first picture book, Garlic and crosses are useless against Adam. Sunlight has been shown to be at least moderately effective. A silver bullet does the trick. Pretty much any bullet, really.



Sarahbotbonkers said...

Another MG book to look out for! I just have to borrow your self-made word "enchastically" to praise your review. I like my books kooky and odd as well. Makes them more interesting and gripping. ;)

Amy said...

This book sounds fantastic! Awesome review!

Aeicha @ Word Spelunking said...

@Sarah and @Amy- thank you both so much for reading my review! I hope y'all get a chance to read this enchantastical book!