Substitute Creature (Tales from Lovecraft Middle School #4) by Charles Gilman.
When a giant nor’easter dumps a blanket of snow on the village of Dunwich, Massachussetts, Robert Arthur and his friends find themselves marooned inside Lovecraft Middle School. The kids have no choice but to spend the night—while snacking on cafeteria food, sleeping on classroom floors, and facing off against a mysterious substitute teacher who may have a sinister secret. The latest adventure in the Lovecraft Middle School series features more adventures, more outrageous monsters, and another terrifying lenticular cover!
Release Date: September 24, 2013
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The first thing I noticed about this book was its cover. Don't judge, this cover is hard to miss. Seriously, I opened the package and may have dropped the book in surprise. I then made a concerted effort to avoid looking at the holographic cover, especially after dark. It's creepy!
Substitute Creature is an easy, middle grade read with enough spooky, quirky elements to hold the interest of adult readers. If you've read the original H.P. Lovecraft stories, then you'll have the added treat of recognizing the mentions of Old Ones--though these aren't your typical Lovecraftian horrors. The Old Ones featured in Substitute Creature reminded me of Star Trek's tribbles, but with very big teeth (and I'm assuming they don't make that grating chirping sound).
In addition to the Old Ones, there's also an evil mastermind, Crawford Tillinghast, and the substitute creature, Miss Carcasse. I don't want to give anything away, so you'll just have to read the book to learn more about these deliciously creepy characters!
Though there were was a brief dull point early on in the book, this is a quick, easy read that builds momentum as events spin out of control. Bad things are happening at Lovecraft Middle School and our trio of adventurous students--Robert, Glenn, and Karina (along with Pip and Squeak, Robert's two-headed pet rat)--are back to save the day.
I enjoyed this book and though it's targeted at the middle grade audience, I believe Substitute Creature will appeal to both young and adult readers. This is a fun, little adventure inside the walls of Lovecraft Middle School.
Recommended to reluctant readers, young readers, and fans of spooky, quirky stories. Readers who enjoyed the Goosebumps books by R.L. Stine may enjoy this series.
Rating: 3.75 Shadows
Genre: Middle Grade, Fantasy, Paranormal
Warnings: Creepy holographic cover
Books in this series: Professor Gargoyle, The Slither Sisters, Teacher's Pest.
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Have you read the Tales from Lovecraft Middle School? Let us know in the comments!