- File Size: 2485 KB
- Print Length: 199 pages
- Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1532003447
- Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
- Publisher: iUniverse (August 26, 2016)
- Publication Date: August 26, 2016
- Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
- Language: English
- ASIN: B01L4JBAO0
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Lending: Enabled
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #103,274 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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The Bug Boys Kindle Edition
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"Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress"
Is the world really falling apart? Is the ideal of progress obsolete? Cognitive scientist and public intellectual Steven Pinker urges us to step back from the gory headlines and prophecies of doom, and instead, follow the data: In seventy-five jaw-dropping graphs, Pinker shows that life, health, prosperity, safety, peace, knowledge, and happiness are on the rise. Learn more
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Stewart Hoffman has written a novel that will appeal to young adult reader as well as adults looking for a fun and quick read. The Bug Boys takes place in the small coal mining town of Rossolington. The mine is owned by the sketchy business man Donald Brock who only cares about profits and considers the safety of the workers to be an annoyance to his schedule. While digging the mine to a record depth the miners unknowingly awake a group of aliens called nanobots.
The concept of an alien robot being able to turn humans into bugs is entertaining on it's own and is brought to the next level by Stewart Hoffmans writing. The challenges that Alex and Ian face, a bully that tries to steal their lunch money, is a relatable problem that is creatively solved in The Bug Boys. So often in super hero stories does the character go stomping around indiscriminately destroying things. Which is why I was happy to see a different approach taken by the author to throw a twist into the end of the story that will show how, despite having super human powers, the power of compassion and humanity will win. The novel expertly highlights the struggle to do what is right vs getting revenge. Stewart Hoffman has the ability to entertain while also showing that being good isn’t always easy or fun.
Overall The Bug Boys is an entertaining read that will appeal to young readers, especially boys looking for something fun and a bit on the gross side. It is an easy read and not too long so it will hold their interest. I felt that the book left open the possibility of more novels to come, and I look forward to it.
Stewart Hoffman's first novel is imaginative, well-thought through, and FUNNY. Long story short: a couple of English schoolboys discover themselves able to transform into human/bug symbionts, attaining the physical powers of the insects while maintaining their human brains. They decide to apply their new-found powers to righting a few wrongs and become BB, the Bug Boys superheroes.
Hoffman easily weaves very human complexities into a simple plot. Our heroes discover that what appears black and white to them as developing boys becomes very sludgy shades of gray when their new powers give them new insights (the problem with bullies). A couple of the adults are a little static and stereotyped, but no good superhero story can stand up without these types (the bad guys). The rest of the adults are rather delightfully revealed as decent human beings with realistically complex motivations (Sharon crossing numbers off in her notebook). And it never hurts, of course, to have a few intragalactic visitors show up to teach you a little more about being human.
It seems like I hardly turned a page without noting something that made me laugh. I started right on the first page:
It was Monday, and Alex awoke to the sound of his dad peeing. It was 6:30 a.m. exactly. Alex didn't have to look at his alarm clock, or even turn it off. His father was that reliable, and loud.
Kids notice that stuff! Yes, they hear you peeing, even when you close the bathroom door and run the fan. Never mind the farting. Hoffman has so many ways to describe farts, I'm in awe. ". . . [T]he fart afterward was epic! Sounded like molten lava landing on bubble wrap." I can hear that fart. And if you're going to make farts a big part of your book, you'd better be able to make your readers hear (and smell) them. Hoffman delivers.
Even the things that have sent countless writers into poetic ecstasy in every language: Hoffman makes them brand-new again, for kids. Try this:
The Milky Way is a spiral galaxy because from the top (relatively speaking), it looks like a spiral. Like someone or something had unplugged the cosmic bathtub and all the stars and planets were slowly being sucked down the galactic drain . . . .
I could go on and on: the "Inside-Outs," "Infected Yellow," "Upchuck with a game plan": they just keep coming. This was one of the most memorable, to me:
At this level, this deep, the mine felt like the loneliest place on Earth. The black walls seemed to swallow the light coming from their headlamps. The seam crackled and popped as the weight of over 1,600 meters of rock and dirt pressed down on the new rooms dug out of the coal. At this level, at these pressures, the walls were like radiators and the two men immediately started to sweat, causing the fine coal powder in the air to stick to their faces.
I've read descriptions of coal mines in countless books, seen them depicted in dozens of movies. Yet the direct simplicity of Hoffman's description made me not only see it, but feel it for myself.
So enjoy the great imagery, the fart jokes, the sci-fi/superhero stuff, the believable kids, the fun plot. And don't skip the footnotes! I got some of my best laughs from what, in academic tomes, is often the most boring part of a book.
Kudos to Mr. Hoffman. I'm looking forward to The Bug Boys sequel.
Hoffman's brilliant premise for the novel is that Alex and Ian, two intrepid young Brits, unearth some ancient nanobots from another planet that bestow superpowers upon them. They obtain these powers whenever they swallow a live bug whole; the variety of the bug determines the exact powers they get. These powers are only temporary, though, so in order for the boys to continue to serve as the superheroes of their dreams, they have to keep eating fresh bugs. Yuck! By trial and error, the two boys figure out how it all works. But then, they must wrestle with how to best take advantage of the situation, and also how to deal with the consequences whenever they err.
The Bug Boys is simultaneously poignant and hilarious. A rich cast of supporting characters, some of whom make surprising turns, help to bring this fantasy to life. (Hoffman's colorfully imaginative bathroom humor even had me rolling on the floor, and that's a genre I don't normally enjoy.)
Like The Iron Giant by Ted Hughes, The Bug Boys is a tale for kids of all ages. A copy of this book will be under my 9-year-old nephew's Christmas tree, with instructions to allow (nay, insist that) my brother read it over his shoulder. I can hardly wait to discuss it with them afterwards. They live 3,000 miles away, so The Bug Boys will be a rare shared experience that spans the Jones boys' spacetime continuum.