I mean, that book title alone is a pretty good reason to have a read – unless you’re already neighbours with The Addams Family and you’re like, ‘Nope, got enough weirdness for my lifetime, thanks.’ It also won the Text Prize in 2017, which is pretty cool. But let me set the scene for you…
School friends Kipp Kindle, Cymphany Chan and Tobias Treachery live in Huggabie Falls, the weirdest town on Earth. There you can find witches, vampire bats, trolls and a house built onto a roller coaster, but all of these weird things pale in comparison to the extremely weird thing that’s happening in town. The kids don’t know what it is yet, but they’re determined to find out.
What’s really fun about this book is that the narrator has such a big presence throughout.
There’s lots of wry asides from Adam as he tells the story, talking about the weird mechanics of the town and its residents, and often getting comically sidetracked with concerns about what the kids get up to. I also appreciated that the narrator had quirks of his own, like this section where Kipp and Tobias were tasked with carrying a baby hippopotamus:
“Now, if you have ever tried to run from a witch while carrying a baby hippopotamus, as I myself have had to do on a number of occasions, you will appreciate how difficult it is.” (page 74)
I loved that the three kids were great friends who always looked out for one another. They all had moments in the past where they felt like outcasts, so they’ve formed a really strong bond together. Which is quite fortunate as they find themselves in a lot of precarious life and death situations, much to the narrator’s unease.
Cymphany, Tobias and Kipp all get a chance to showcase what superstars they are under pressure, using their wits and unique strengths to save the day. And I’m not jealous at all that nearly everyone in Huggabie Falls has an awesome alliteration name, either. (Carly Cooldude has a nice subtle ring to it, no?).
The third reason why I enjoyed the book so much was that the antagonists really didn’t hold back on being dastardly! The trio not only have to deal with a spell-happy witch in the form of their teacher, Mrs Turgan, who delights in permanently turning her students into all sorts of nasty things. But there’s also a menacing new guy in town called Mr Felonious Dark (ooh, no alliteration) who runs an agency the kids need to investigate, but he appears to despise children just as much as Miss Trunchbull from Matilda. I feel like those two would be BFFs for sure.
This book is a lot of fun, and since I’m not actually Carly Cooldude but more like Carly Can’tBelieveItTookMeThisLongToReadIt, the second book – ‘The Unbelievably Scary Thing That Happened in Huggabie Falls’ – is already out this month!
As the spooky Halloween version of the Play School theme goes, “There’s a creepy-looking bear in there! And ghosts as well!” Bring it on, Huggabie Falls. Bring it on.