Early Book Review: Gnome-a-geddon by K.A. Holt

Gnome-a-geddon by K.A. Holt is currently scheduled for release on May 2 2017. Buck is a super fan of the book series, The Triumphant Gnome Syndicate. He knows all the trivia. The properties of the Troll Vanquishing Mace, and even what kind of snack Custard, the Gnome of the West, prefers. But when the book’s author disappears in a cloud of smoke at the release party for book three, and Buck’s little sister disappears into a bottomless dumpster, Buck realizes that the world of gnomes and trolls might really exist. What the heck? As it turns out, the real Custard (don’t call him that) needs Buck’s help to find the Troll Vanquishing Mace. And Buck needs to find his sister. So Buck and his best friend Lizzie set off on an adventure that would make any fan’s head spin. But not everything is as Buck expected—it seems the books did not tell the whole truth about this not-so-make-believe world. Buck soon discovers that real life doesn’t work like a story, and the heroes and villains might not be who they seem. Holy trolls! What’s a super fan to do? Buck is about to fulfill the ultimate fantasy: going on adventures with his favorite characters, and getting the chance to save the world. Assuming he can figure out whose side he’s really on.

Gnome-a-geddon is a book with a fairly unique concept. While there have been a few books that share a few characteristics, I really felt like this book took it in a slightly different direction. I liked that our main characters change and grow, both in self awareness and in ability to look at things differently. Buck is a good kid, who cares about those around him but with the natural craving to be special and a hero like his favorite book and game characters. He tries to be a good person, even while dealing with his craving to be more. Lizzie is a smart, strong, and independent girl with a good instinct about people and situations. They make a good team, especially when they listen to each others and those around them. I liked that the good guys and the "bad" guys are all ambiguous. No one character is all good or bad, and the idea of moving past prejudice and generalizations about any person is key in the entire story. I think the idea of unexpected heroes and strengths was very well done and just might have younger readers open to accepting help and seeing skills in others that they might otherwise dismiss. I am very interested in seeing more from the author, maybe in this same world, in the future.

Gnome-a-geddon is an entertaining and enjoyable read with a fun concept. I think there is a wide range of middle grade readers that will enjoy this read and be looking for more.
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