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The Dead Boys Hardcover – September 2, 2010

4.4 out of 5 stars 46 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Gr 5-8–In this tightly plotted suspense novel, Teddy meets several other 12-year-old boys in his new town, but there's something eerie about each one. Eventually he realizes that every kid died years ago under mysterious circumstances and that he may be the next target. The evil force behind their demise is a sentient sycamore tree with powers derived from nuclear waste, a kind of wild premise that actually makes for an appropriately creepy villain. Some readers will spot the hints about the dead boys' situation, uncovering bits of the truth along with or just ahead of the protagonist, as the well-paced tale moves deftly from mystery into high action. Ultimately he must endure each of the gruesome dangers that killed the ghostly kids, including rattlesnakes, scorpions, and the thorny, twisting tree that's behind it all. There's a nice mixture of cliff-hanger escapes, mystery exposition, and lighter moments provided by Teddy's narration. Though the hero's personality is not especially complex, the empathy he shows for the boys and his resourcefulness in defying the killer tree make him someone to root for. The climactic battle is appropriately suspenseful, leading to a satisfying and surprising conclusion.–Steven Engelfried, Wilsonville Public Library, ORα(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Review

The Dead Boy's Haiku

You'll never look at
arboriculture the same
way again. Creepy!
--emilyreads.com

"..positively delivers a frightening tale with good ambiance and lots of creepy moments, mysterious shadows, creaky windows and menacing elements that make this a successfully atmospheric read." - bookwormygirl.blogspot.com/

--All About {n}

"CREEPY! The Dead Boys is just that, CREEPY!...a perfect read for ages 10 and up who also enjoy a, 'quick-turn-the-page-to-see-what-happens-next kind of story. My only suggestion is to read this book indoors with all the lights on, and not under the big shady sycamore tree."
- Kathleen Hunter, Keen Readers
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 10 and up
  • Grade Level: 5 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 850L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 208 pages
  • Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers (September 2, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0399252223
  • ISBN-13: 978-0399252228
  • Product Dimensions: 5.7 x 0.8 x 8.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (46 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #732,730 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition
I don't understand the glowing reviews for this novel. For one thing, Buckingham's other two novels are genius--they're funny and clever and original. I thought I was witnessing the rise of another Tom Robbins, Christopher Moore or A. Lee Martinez. But, no. This new one reads like early Stephen King: predictable, repetitive and flat. I was so disappointed that it was horror to begin with, but I loved Buckingham's other novels so much, I had to give this new one a try.

I found myself skimming by the second chapter, knew immediately what the problem was going to be and how it would end, and I was right.

It isn't the usual Buckingham experience, so if you really want to read something fun and well-done, have a look at his earlier books and hope that he's writing more of that type rather than this horror stuff. Meanwhile, I'll just keep rereading Goblins and Demonkeeper.
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Format: Hardcover
When Teddy Matthews moves with his mother to the desert town of Richland, Washington, he is not overly thrilled. He's left his friends and school behind and has moved into a new home where he'll have to start anew.

Upon his mother's bickering that he cannot remain indoors and must venture out to make new friends - he finds himself drawn to the giant sycamore tree in the yard of the abandoned house next door. A tree that has been mutated by nuclear waste - which in turn has taken a life of its own. This tree is like no other, for it feeds on the life energy of boys that it ensnares with its living roots. Teddy, at first, doesn't understand why he is drawn to the tree or why every time he meets a new boy in the neighborhood they somehow disappear - right before his eyes. Something is terribly wrong with Richland and he quickly learns that what's wrong is the tree - a tree that has its sights on its next victim.

This book was so deliciously creepy. I actually started reading it right before bedtime and ended up having to put it down and wait till the following morning to pick it back up. I found myself caught up in the mystery of the tree, the dead boys, and Teddy's fight for his life. He was a great character - brave, strong, one who respected his mother, and although there is a slight altercation of breaking and entering, an all around good boy. When Teddy crosses over into a dream-like world where the tree is supreme and above all - I was literally sitting at the edge of my seat. I felt his anxiety, his dread and his fears.

Mr. Buckingham positively delivers a frightening tale with good ambiance and lots of creepy moments, mysterious shadows, creaky windows and menacing elements that make this a successfully atmospheric read. It will definitely appeal to reluctant readers with its fast pace and chill factor. This is a great read for young and old alike that like a good spook before bedtime.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book was special because I live in the TriCities area of Washington...the setting for this book. It was fun to read about familiar places!! The plot was very unique in that the antagonist is a mutant sycamore tree. And I was especially creeped out while reading about the spider. YUCK!...but very cool. The author did a fantastic job with descriptive language...it felt like I was there!
I have recommended this book to all of the 4th and 5th graders in my school (I'm a teacher-librarian), plus the book is one of the Sasquatch nominees for the state of Washington this year.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The suspense in this book made me feel like falling out of my seat. The action as nonstop and I couldn't stop riding it! I was also a little disturbed by the carnivorous tree and the scene with Albert in the river at the alternate universe that the tree created. Truly genius. I would not recommend this to children though. XD
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is my favorite book written by Roice Buckingham (But they are all great!) It is an action packed thriller that is impossible to put down! When a boy from Washington starts hanging out with dead boys from the past, he gets himself into some trouble with a nuclear radiated tree trying to suck out his energy! I read this book nonstop for two days and think it was Fantastic! Lots of action and fighting with a creepy element to make it totally awesome! I recommend this book and hope you will love it like I did!
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Format: Hardcover
Teddy Matthews has to move to a small town in the Washington desert when his mother gets a job at the local plant. But next door a creepy sycamore tree is growing, mutated by nuclear waste. The tree has lured boys in to feed from for decades. And the tree wants Teddy is next.

Teddy catches on right away that something is wrong in town. Every boy he meets ends up disappearing. And the landscape keeps changing from new to old. With a little detective work, Teddy soon discovers what's going on. And while the reader knows a little about what's going on, the build-up of suspense is intense.

This is a short, quick read for middle readers on up. The ambiance is spooky and dark, yet never over the top for younger readers. A highly enjoyable tale of mystery and non-stop creepy fun, I found myself caught up at once. The story was gripping from the beginning to its climactic ending.
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Format: Hardcover
Years ago, the government dumped their nuclear waste into water and streams. They know better now, but in the small town of Richland, it bore consequence.

A sycamore tree drew it's energy from the waste in the earth, it's branches creeping and digging deeper and further. Then, when it could not survive on that energy alone, it found that it could live on the life force of humans, namely twelve year old boys. It didn't kill the boys, but kept them in a space between the living and the dead.

When Teddy Mathews moves to Richland, he wants to make new friends. His mom has a new job at the nuclear power plant and spends her time there. Teddy would rather stay inside and spend his days surfing the internet, but his mom wants him to make some friends, so he wonders and explores his new town.

He meets several boys, but whenever he goes back to see them, his surroundings change, develop, and it isn't long before he realizes that these boys are dead. They disappeared and were declared missing. Then there is the branches of the huge sycamore tree scratching at Teddy's window every night trying to get in. Teddy is determined to solve the riddle and free the boys, until he realizes that he is next. The tree wants Teddy and will stop at nothing to get him, even using Teddy's darkest fears to achieve it's goal.

The Dead Boys is a unique, yet chilling novel for young adults. The premise is logical, but the terror of the tree will leave you with goose bumps. A page-turning heart-thumping adventure for all ages!
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