Munchem Academy, Book 1 The Boy Who Knew Too Much by Commander S.T. Bolivar, III
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Closer to a 3.5.
I was actually pleasantly surprised by this book, more because of the subject/topic-matter for this age group than anything else. It's rare to find this topic in middle grade, so I was quite pleased.
At its core, Munchem Academy is just another reform school. But Carter quickly realizes that everything is a bit strange, teachers included, and he's going to get to the bottom of it. Doing so requires him to be a little more heroic than he's used to, and uncover a dastardly plan along the way.
I don't want to give away the big reveal, since it's such a major part of the charm of this, but the twist alone doesn't rescue this from being largely paint-by-numbers in many regards. The similarities to countless books in many ways keep this from being great, but also gooses the appeal to kids who might be more reluctant to branch out a bit. Overall, though, the end picks up better than the beginning, and that lifts it from being okay to being pretty good.
Good for kids looking for a fun creepy story, or who like more supernatural mysteries. Not a lot of adult appeal here.
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