23 February 2016
“They said it was impossible, but they were wrong. Just because a person is young doesn’t mean they don’t have the curiosity, determination and grit to do what a grown-up can do, eh?”
Uncle Max from Beetle Boy by M.G. Leonard
A surprise gift that was added to the pile of books a friend got me for my birthday, a recommendation from the cashier. The first thing that caught my eye about the book were the awesome beetles that decorated the page edges, and that is still one of my favorite parts about the book.
Beetle Boy follows Darkus Cuttle as he, his uncle, and some new friends try to figure out where Darkus’s father disappeared to. Along the way there is the discovery of some rather special beetles, and how awesome beetles can be.
This was a very quick read, and kept me engaged throughout, with there being no part I tried to skim read through. There are some rather tricky concepts that M.G. Leonard handles with amazing dexterity (Darkus’s father’s depression after the death of Darkus’s mother, and how her death impacted both of them). Plus, Leonard makes the smart choice not to dumb down any of the science terms, instead using them and defining them in a way that is easy to follow, and by the end you have a much better knowledge of beetles and some big scientific terms.
This really is a great start to the series, it is a complete story on its own, but there is still plenty of room for several more great stories in this world. There is a great cast of characters, human and beetle alike. Darkus and his friends are fun to follow, and unlike most children and YA novels, the adults are not completely absent or incompetent. Darkus’s uncle is actually believable about when he includes Darkus and when he withholds information.
I will most likely be preordering the next book in this series, because I can’t wait to see what comes next.
Final Verdict: A great start to a new series, and I am very excited to read the rest of the series.