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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Holden + Harriet = Haplin
Dark Days reminded me of reading Three Investigators books when I was a kid... those were my poison, not the Hardy Boys (which are oft alluded too in DDoHH). It has all the spills and thrills of any mystery a kid reads by night under the covers with a flashlight because it's just not possible to stop reading until you're done, but it's a contemporary story at the same...
Published on February 9, 2010 by Kurtis Scaletta

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars Good read
It wasn't a terrible book but it wasn't amazing either! The biggest problem with the book is the like-abilty of the main character. He was not like-able or endearing to me in any way. Too angsty by far! I hate forcing myself to read a book but this was a book club donation so I muddled through.
Published 17 months ago by K. April Holgate


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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Holden + Harriet = Haplin, February 9, 2010
By 
Kurtis Scaletta (Minneapolis, MN USA) - See all my reviews
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Dark Days reminded me of reading Three Investigators books when I was a kid... those were my poison, not the Hardy Boys (which are oft alluded too in DDoHH). It has all the spills and thrills of any mystery a kid reads by night under the covers with a flashlight because it's just not possible to stop reading until you're done, but it's a contemporary story at the same time, and it transcends a formulaic mystery with characters and quirkiness and subplots that make it feel more classic.

The hero, Will Halpin (Hamburger is his IM name) is the hearing-impaired, round-bellied progeny of Holden Caulfield and Harriet Welsch. Well, he doesn't match Holden's cynicism, but he has his all-seeing critical eye and (like Harriet) records much of what he sees (and lip-reads) to his notebook. What Will has that Holden lacks is an essential need to belong, a desire to be liked even by kids he knows aren't worth the trouble. That makes him likable and completely human.

When he leaves deaf school for public school (mostly for political reasons), he quickly concedes that his only pal will be a mutual outcast, the goofy Devon Smiley who sports a pony-tail and talks like somebody out of The Great Gatsby. He also realizes soon after that Devon is a much better friend than anyone in the complex social hierarchy at Coaler High School, with the gorgeous Leigha Pennington and the self-assured and obnoxious Pat Chambers at the apex. Those two break up, Pat meets with an "accident," and as Will's ex-girlfriend from the deaf school signs, "the game is afoot." Devon, Will, and Ebony (the ex) are on the case.

There are plenty of LOLs and LOL2BIFTLOLISs along the way, but there's a good caper here, too, with an excellent ending. Don't let the deaf hero fool you -- this is no "problem novel" about a kid with disabilities. Will would absolutely hate that.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Witty Must-Read!, February 13, 2010
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I really enjoyed TDDOHH. The characters, from the stars and stand-outs, to the peripheral characters are extremely well developed. Berk obviously remembers the nuances of high school. This is a clever whodunit for a new generation of mystery lovers.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Dark Days of Hamburger Halpin, February 27, 2010
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This is a wonderful book. The main character is engaging and the plot and twists of the story are clever. After reading the book, we went to Amazon and bought three more books for our grandsons and nephews. Teenagers will definitely love and relate to it, but as an adult and an avid reader of all types of books, including mysteries we found it extremely enjoyable. Do not hesitate go out and buy this book today. Hope it becomes a series, because you will definitely care about the characters, especially Will, and you will want to know what he is up to now. Jay and Marilyn W.
Plantation, Fl.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book!, February 25, 2010
As a high school teacher, I thought the characters were pretty realistic in this book. I could see some of my students in the characters of the story. The plot was suspenseful enough to keep an adult's interest, but was written so that even a young teen could read it easily. I loved the ending--didn't see it coming, but it made sense. I really enjoyed this book and plan to pass it along to my nieces and nephews (as long as they give it back to me!)
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Couldn't put it down ...., February 25, 2010
By 
Toby's mom (Palm Desert, CA) - See all my reviews
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Dark Days is a funny, riveting whodunit mystery with a cast of characters that are believable and really grow on you. Will Halpin, our hero, is an overweight, deaf kid trying to mainstream into a new high school. But he is no loser. He's bright, irreverent, witty, and has the kind of sweetness that made me love the detective, Columbo. I am an avid mystery reader and am glad to see that young adults have a worthwhile novel here, one they won't be able to put down. Oh, and Halpin has his own "Watson," a nerd that readers will come to adore, and there is even a quote from the master Sherlock Holmes, himself, and later used in the new Star Trek movie, which warmed my heart. The author, Josh Berk, does a great job of introducing plausible suspects, throws in some action and danger, then ends with a satisfying and dramatic solution to the crime. Berk also paints an accurate picture of the trials and torments of high school life, especially if you're not one of the in-crowd. I would recommend it to all young adults. And parents, if you don't mind your children reading irreverent humor, I would go so far as to say that any child that can read 8th grade level and up would enjoy it immensely.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A New Young Author to Watch--and Read, February 25, 2010
By 
Karl Helicher (King of Prussia, PA) - See all my reviews
Hamburger Halpin, despite being a special needs young man, is a little bit of all of us, or at least all of us when we were in high school. He is a bright kid who because of being deaf and overweight receives the typically warm welcome that outsiders receive. Josh Berk has done a great job creating a character with whom we can sympathize.

Although I have a few years on HH, he is definitely the kind of guy I would like for a friend. He has a good sense of humor and he cares about people. Berk keeps the action moving, especially by using the clever, but realistic, technique of having the Burger communicate very nicely with his nerdy best friend by texting.

In addition to capturing the angst-ridden state of adolescence, Berk has written a corking good mystery. I am not a fan of mysteries, but I couldn't put this one down. I look forward to Josh Berk's future stories of Hamburger Halpin and so will many adults and a whole mess of young adults who read this engaging book.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sarcasm is a beautiful thing!, March 1, 2010
Will Halpin is the most interesting and outrageously funny character to be introduced into the young adult world in a long time.

Will is overweight and sarcastic. In fact, he refers to himself as a "sedentary manatee." However, these are not Will's only characteristics. He is also deaf. Will left his "special school" to be a part of the mainstream "normal" high school scene. The Superintendant of the school resembles a "skeleton in a Beatles wig who smells like beef." And, from there, we are introduced to a cast of characters that are absolutely hysterical. We have the popular girl who everyone loves because she's beautiful. She is, of course, the ex of the quarterback. We have the incredibly rich girl, who likes to show off her money, and scream at her underlings, and we also have the inevitable geeks and nerds who, like Will, tend to stand on the sidelines and look out at the popular landscape with both amusement and envy in their eyes.

Will doesn't like hearing aids, so he attempts to lip-read all the teachers and students; even jotting down notes in his notebook regarding each and every person he runs into. (examples: the principal of the school who is rumored to have thrown a student out the window for chewing gum; a bus driver with toenails the length of a T-Rex; and, the jocks who seem to be outsmarted when trying to open a milk container in the lunch room).

Soon Will meets up with a boy named Devon Smiley. Devon is another outsider that gets picked on a lot by Pat Chambers - the football hero. Pat is one of those boys who have the world and everyone in it at their feet. His father is an extremely rich casino developer who is popping up in the news as being investigated by the government for illegal activity. But Pat's dad is also putting together a party for his son. There are exactly 52 invitations to the "must attend" party of the year, and everyone wants to be on the VIP list.

As the story unfolds, the class goes on a field trip into an old, abandoned mine; the lights are turned off and when they come back on, the coolest boy in the world - Pat Chambers - is at the bottom of a mine shaft. Who committed the crime? Was it the math teacher who seemed to be flirting with the classic jock? Was it the principal who had a history of tossing students like horseshoes? Was it the one envious student who didn't score an invite to the biggest party of the year? Or, perhaps it was the ghost of a miner who perished in the mine in 1902 and happens to have the same name as Will?

Will and Smiley get together to solve the crime with the help of Ebony (a great character who's Will's ex-girlfriend from his "special school"). Together the trio become Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys to uncover the culprit.

Great mystery, great characters, great writing, but, above all, the sarcasm (which is my absolute favorite thing in the whole world) fills this book with perfect, laugh-out-loud lines. Enjoy!

Until Next Time,
Amy Lignor, [..] Reviewer
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable for all ages!, February 25, 2010
By 
L. Henderson (LATHAM, NY, US) - See all my reviews
I enjoy reading books for people of all ages. As I am currently pursuing a career in English education for youth in grades 7-12, I particularly enjoy reading books that teenagers may read. One issue that I have found in some books written for that age group is the condescending nature that the author takes toward their protagonists. Teenage characters are often written in a stereotypical way, which frustrates me as an adult.

In The Dark Days of Hamburger Halpin, I was thrilled that not only were the characters not stereotypical teenagers, but they had many different layers that wanted me to get to know them better. I truly loved Will "Hamburger" Halpin's wit and charm. He is precocious and smart, and his take on his classmates and the world around him was simultaneously astute and laced with a sarcasm that I truly enjoyed. Devon made the perfect sidekick for Will, and together they find themselves mired in an adventure that kept me on the edge of my seat

Adults and youth would do well to read this book. It's smartly written and funny. I look forward to reading more books from Josh Berk.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved "The Dark Days of Hamburger Halpin", February 24, 2010
I always try to read books that my kids may read.

"The Dark Days of Hamburger Halpin" made me laugh. It also kept me thinking. I never figured out who did it until I was told in the book. I guess I'm glad I never wanted to be Nancy Drew. ;-)

I truly believe that Josh Berk captured our youth as they truly are today. He covered many areas of how most teens are and even ventured out of that box on a few things.

A great book and a great writer!! I look forward to reading more of Josh Berk's books!!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Derring Do in the Classroom, February 15, 2010
By 
Bob F. (Bethlehem, PA USA) - See all my reviews
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This is certainly the most satisfying Young Adult novel I've read in a very long time ... and one of the most enjoyable books of any genre!

"I try to figure out my connection to this world, but, ... I barely know my place in this classroom" is Will Halpin's reverie, but it's pretty much how many of us felt sitting in a classroom envying and resenting those students who seemed to have it all; however, as Josh Berk makes clear, everyone struggles in his own way. Halpin starts out angrily uprooting a Deaf Child Area sign and carrying it off as if it were Excalibur, but his real confrontation and healing come in his class trip to a coal mine and his lone travels through a hidden tunnel, where he not only advances his skills as a sleuth but gains some important self-knowledge.

At one point, Will Halpin brings home a dog and hides it from his parents, and each word, each thought is so genuine and unaffected that I challenge anyone to find a better depiction of this event that seems to form a part of just about every child's life--unless they are allergic to fur-bearing animals and bring home, say, a chameleon.

All this is not to say that there aren't many hilarious incidents that come about through Halpin's encounters with other students and his back and forth texting with loyal Devon Smiley--there are even love interests--but I most appreciated being taken back to the classroom when life was waiting to be discovered.
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The Dark Days of Hamburger Halpin
The Dark Days of Hamburger Halpin by Josh Berk (Paperback - June 14, 2011)
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