- Age Range: 9 - 12 years
- Grade Level: 4 - 7
- Lexile Measure: 700L (What's this?)
- Series: Joshua Dread (Book 1)
- Hardcover: 272 pages
- Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers (September 25, 2012)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0385741855
- ISBN-13: 978-0385741859
- Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 0.8 x 8.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 13.4 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 47 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #847,012 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Joshua Dread Hardcover – September 25, 2012
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About the Author
LEE BACON grew up in Texas with parents who never once tried to destroy the world (at least not that he knew of). He currently lives in Brooklyn. This is his first novel.
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I try to read the first book in as many series of YA books as I can so that I can speak knowledgeably about the book with my seventh graders. With the huge growth in the YA category, this means I very seldom have time to read anything else and this makes me feel like I'm missing out on a lot.
Then, I come across something like the Lightning Thief, The Extraordinary Adventures of Alfred Kropp, Powerless, etc., and I realize that you can only have this kind of fun with kids' books. Now, I can add Joshua Dread to that list, and I can assure you I would not have chosen to read it if I were not a middle school reading teacher trying to do his job. And you know what? My life would have had less adventure and fun in it.
As the book started, I was afraid the reading level was going to be too low for me to enjoy it (the book garners only 7 AR points). But things changed fast, and I soon found myself so engrossed in the building adventure that before I knew it, I was reading the last page.
This is a debut novel? No way! But it's true; and in my opinion it ranks right up there with Rick Riordan's The Lightning Thief (as a debut). As a native Texan, I am proud that Lee Bacon can join Kaleb Nation in proving that Texas produces steers and great YA authors (and bulls, too).
The basic premise of the plot is that the first person narrator, sixth grader Joshua Dread, is the son of supervillian parents. As the book opens, his parents are engaged in a plot to destroy the world through weather control. Fortunately, the plot is derailed by the super hero Captain Justice. It is very difficult to write much more about the book's plot, because after that first scene, almost everything is supposed to be a surprise.
The pace of the plot is very, very quick. There are no slow sections, although the speed lessens for a few pages after the climax. Then it closes with a rush (no cliff-hanger, though). The narration is well-done and believable of a sixth grader, its deadpan humor at times had me laughing out loud. I really liked Captain Justice's inability to speak in almost anything but stock catch-phrase herospeak; often, it was very funny. The humor is not directed just at kids; there are some appropriate things in there that probably only adults will get. (For example, a handbook for kids with super powers reads, "You may notice your body undergoing many strange and surprising developments . . . growth spurts, your voice changes, you begin noticing superpowers where there weren't any superpowers before.")
The character development is superb. Josh is joined in his adventures by his incredibly loyal friend, Milton, and a mysterious girl named Sophie, a newcomer to their town. Ah, Sophie. She is one of the best surprises in the book, and I believe I got the hint of a budding romance with Josh.
I recommend this book for kids and adults alike; anyone who wants a rousing adventure full of humor and surprises will enjoy it.
All in all, a wonderful, enjoyable read, full of action and much subtlety.