The Daredevils by Rob Buyea

Disclaimer: I received this e-arc from the publisher. Thanks! All opinions are my own.

Book: The Daredevils

Author: Rob Buyea

Book Series: Standalone

Rating: 3/5

Recommended For…: middle grade readers, contemporary, 80s movie fans, those who made secret forts in the woods and had summer adventures among the trees.

Publication Date: August 9, 2022

Genre: MG Contemporary

Age Relevance: 13+ (violence, anger issues, bullying, pregnancy talk, HP references, fatphobia, harassment, gore, depression, death, war)

Explanation of Above: There is some physical violence shown in this book along with blood and vomit gore. The book talks about anger issues and bullying and harassment, especially done by a teacher to a child. There is some slight pregnancy talk and where babies come from. There are 2 HP references. There is one instance of fatphobic comments made about a character. There is some depression shown and death and war are also mentioned.

Publisher: Delacorte Press

Pages: 240

Synopsis: Loretta and her twin brother, Waylon, are headed to middle school. Loretta has always been quick with her fists and her wits. Since Waylon is on the small side, Loretta doesn’t let anyone mess with him. But now she worries he won’t survive without her by his side. Her secret plan: bulk him up with muscle over the summer. Little does she know that Waylon has a plan of his own. He’ll show his sister he can take care of himself.

As each puts their strategy in motion, Loretta and Waylon spend the summer going into the woods behind their house, even sneaking there in the dead of night. That’s where they first encounter Louie, who is about their age but noticeably bigger. Louie is homeschooled, he explains when Loretta gives him the third degree. Loretta, Waylon, and Louie soon fall into a comfortable friendship and continue their nightly forest adventures. When they unearth a mysterious box, the past collides with the present, propelling the trio on a quest that will forever change their lives.

Rob Buyea’s spirited dual narrative drives this funny, touching brother-sister story, where even the best-laid plans sometimes backfire and feelings may get bruised, but family and friends always count. Letting go of childhood means boldly taking risks to face the future while learning from the past.

Review: For the most part this is an ok book. The book is very reminiscent of older 80s tween/teen movies. It has a Bridge to Terabithia feel to it and it’s a good book about growing up and branching out into your own things, but set against the backdrop of solving some real life issues. The book is definitely a nostalgia feel book and would be awesome for older adults who would appreciate the many older movie references, but it might also appeal to kids who are also into those movies. The book had great character development and the world building was amazing.

However, I believe that the book tries too hard to appeal to younger audiences and it’s a bit confusing in that regard. It’s awkward when it calls adults boomers, but the rest of the lingo of the children are that of children of a bygone era. The book also has 2 HP references, which is really confusing because it doesn’t match the era of the other movie references made in this book. I think it plays into the “adult trying to write kids of today” thing, but it again falls short in that regard. The references are not only out of place but also potentially hurtful to children who have been targets of JKR’s hatred. I also didn’t like the fatphobic comments made about a character. While the character is a bully and goes out of his way to hate on children, villainizing him by making him fat feeds into the “fat people are horrible” mentality. I believe his physical features could have been described in a less harmful manner than “I wonder how he fits into his sports car with a belly like his”.

Verdict: It was ok, but there’s some kinks to work out.

Book Info:

The Daredevils by Rob Buyea

Genre: Middle Grade Contemporary

Publishing Date: August 9, 2022

Synopsis:

Readers on the cusp of adolescence will find much to love in this middle grade novel from the author of the beloved MR. TERUPT series that follows three kids who come to realize that letting go of childhood means boldly taking risks to face the future while learning from the past.

Loretta and her twin brother, Waylon, are headed to middle school. Loretta has always been quick with her fists and her wits. Since Waylon is on the small side, Loretta doesn’t let anyone mess with him. But now she worries he won’t survive without her by his side. Her secret plan: bulk him up with muscle over the summer. Little does she know that Waylon has a plan of his own. He’ll show his sister he can take care of himself.

As each puts their strategy in motion, Loretta and Waylon spend the summer going into the woods behind their house, even sneaking there in the dead of night. That’s where they first encounter Louie, who is about their age but noticeably bigger. Louie is homeschooled, he explains when Loretta gives him the third degree. Loretta, Waylon, and Louie soon fall into a comfortable friendship and continue their nightly forest adventures. When they unearth a mysterious box, the past collides with the present, propelling the trio on a quest that will forever change their lives.

Rob Buyea’s spirited dual narrative drives this funny, touching brother-sister story, where even the best-laid plans sometimes backfire and feelings may get bruised, but family and friends always count. Letting go of childhood means boldly taking risks to face the future while learning from the past.

Book Links:

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/60018603-the-daredevils

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0593376145/

Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-daredevils-rob-buyea/1140508136?

Book Depository: https://www.bookdepository.com/Daredevils-Rob-Buyea/9780593376157?

Indigo: https://www.chapters.indigo.ca/en-ca/books/the-daredevils/9780593376140-item.html

IndieBound: https://www.indiebound.org/book/9780593376140

About the Author:

Rob Buyea is a former teacher and the author of the Mr. Terupt series, The Perfect Score series, and What Comes Next. As a young boy, he spent countless hours exploring the woods. He is a true country-music fan, as are his wife and children, though they won’t admit it.

Author Links:

Website: https://www.robbuyea.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/RobBuyea/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/rob_buyea/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/3393536.Rob_Buyea

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100063705274300

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