By Karen Laven
Thirteen year-old Emily Lockhardt thought that having her older brother Bud always around bugging her was bad enough. Now though, she has to write a school report on creepy crawlers and Bud is actually trying to help. When he gives Emily a new book about bugs things really start to get out of hand.
With bugs on the brain as she falls asleep, Emily wakes up to the creepy sensation of millions of legs crawling all over her face and body. Thinking the millipedes to have been just a dream, Emily tries to put it out of her mind. The happenings of the next evening, however, makes her realize that something is very wrong and dangerous about the book her brother gave to her.
That night red fire ants attack, biting and leaving welts that surprisingly disappear when adults come near. The next night thousands of horseflies attack, again biting Emily wherever they can. When locust swarm Bud's room devouring everything in sight, he admits that he too was beginning to think something was very strange about the book. His friend, Peter, gave the book to him after telling him the spiders were after him. Bud thought he was teasing, but now that locusts were eating this prize possessions, he was having second thoughts. To make matters worse, Peter has gone missing.
Bud and Emily work together, trying everything they can think of in order to get rid of the book and hopefully the bugs along with it. But it is no use. Moths, killer bees, mosquitoes and cockroaches all continue their torment of the two siblings. When Bud, like Peter, disappears, Emily knows that somehow the book and its bugs are responsible.
Small clues began to surface making Emily realize that not only did the bugs carry Bud off, but that now he is actually inside their cursed book. Understanding that no one would believe this wild tale, it is up to Emily to try and save her brother.
Allowing herself to be carried off, Emily finds herself in a frightening living nightmare. Giant bugs roam free in a world where tarantulas rule and children have been lured or carried off to for centuries. It is up to Emily, armed with little but her spunk and ingenuity to find a way out of the book if she and Bud are to survive.
Karen Laven's new book, Quit Bugging Me, is one that children 8-12 years old will easily get caught up in. Narrated solely by a series of emails, Laven has created a unique and modern way to spin a story from different perspectives without disrupting the flow of the story.
Readers will feel the terror of Emily and the worry of her best friend Joel. While not wanting to admit to being creeped out they, like Joel, will never look at a book in the same manner again. They will be swift to put away any book with the potential to become hazardous. Who knows what book might come alive next!
This review was submitted by Kristin Pace. Kristin is a wife and mother and founder of The Book-Trotter. She wrote her first review 20 years ago and has been reading and loving books ever since.
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