Thank you to PTA Reviewer Rewards for sending me this book to read and review! It was much appreciated!
In the desert town of Richland, Washington, there stands a giant sycamore tree. Horribly mutated by nuclear waste, it feeds on the life energy of boys that it snags with its living roots. And when Teddy Matthews moves to town, the tree trains its sights on its next victim. From the start, Teddy knows something is very wrong with Richland–every kid he meets disappears before his eyes. A trip to the cemetery confirms that these boys are actually dead and trying to lure him to the tree. But that knowledge is no help when Teddy is swept into the tree’s world, a dark version of Richland from which there is no escape . (Taken from Chapters Indigo).
I could feel the goosebumps while reading this book. Remember those moments as a child where you look out the window and the tree nearby looks eerie and even human-like? The Dead Boys takes this fear and adds a dream-like world on top of that. The horror elements in this book are supremely well done. The fear is real enough to feel, and the mystery is heightened as Teddy gets closer to solving the secret of the dead boys. These are important to enjoy a horror novel and I think the author does a good job in heightening those senses. It’s a quick read, as the book isn’t very long, but you’ll find the story does capture your attention and you’ll want to read this from start to finish in one sitting.
What I thought was really neat was the illustration at each chapter featuring the tree and its’ arm like branches reaching out towards the child. As the story progresses, you notice the branches getting longer (or shorter) depending on the plot. I thought that was a nice add on to the story and it was a subtle hint as to what is to come in the following chapter you’re reading. I really liked that part of the novel it’s certainly something you don’t see in just any regular book.
The ending was good although I expected a more ‘horror-like’’ ending. I think this is because perhaps the book is catered towards a younger age group. This book could be considered for middle grade children or young adults nevertheless I think it’s a wonderful creepy story (a perfect read for those rainy windy days!) and regardless of age, everyone should give this one a try. Just make sure there’s no tree near your window.
I give it a 9 out of 10.