NetGalley Devours: Creeps by Darren Hynes
Throughout March, NetGalley Devours teen and YA books! We’ve already reviewed the paranormal, and now it’s time for some realism. Have you read and reviewed Creeps too? Let us know via Facebook or Twitter! #NGDevours
Fifteen-year-old Wayne Pumphrey wishes he were courageous enough to actually send the heartfelt letters he writes to friends and family. He also wishes his father would drive on the right side of the street, his mother would stop packing her suitcase to leave, and his sister would stop listening to Nickelback. But most of all, he wishes that Pete “The Meat” would let him walk to school in peace. After all, how many times can one person eat yellow snow?
Then one morning, while facing Pete and his posse, Wayne is rescued by Marjorie, the girl with a dead father and a mother who might as well be. Together, the two of them escape Pete’s relentless bullying by rehearsing for the school play, and an unlikely friendship is formed. As they grow ever closer to one another, they begin to dream of escape from their small town and restricted lives. But Pete now has plans for both of them—and after a moment of sudden violence, nothing will ever be the same again for Wayne, Marjorie, or Pete himself. [From the Publisher]
I’ll be honest and admit to having read a lot of young adult and teen books ranging from paranormal, to summer love, to more sensitive topics such as sexual identity, suicide, and acceptance. When I saw Creeps in our public catalog I knew I had to read it because once you get past the escapism that vampires, witches, and werewolves (oh my!) provide in this genre you’re left with real life problems that can shape a person’s life, and that is exactly what Creeps demonstrates.
At the heart of it, this book is about bullying and the secret life it fosters for the victim(s) and the bullies themselves. When the book began you’re introduced to Wayne and the school bullies who force him to eat yellow snow, amongst other humiliating tasks. As the book progressed I started to feel more and more worried for Wayne, since the terrorizing never seems to end, and only gets worse. Darren Hynes has created such sympathetic characters and a situation that most everyone can relate to that the story makes you think about your own teenage years, and your siblings and friends and the quiet kid who used to sit alone at lunch and it makes you reflect and worry about what was happening on their walks to school, or in the locker room after gym class, or anywhere else they could have been found vulnerable. It makes you think about the bullies you encountered and that question that is always in the front of your mind “why are you doing this to me?”
Beyond the bullying aspect, which is forefront, the story is also about relationships. One line that I kept coming back to and best describes the feeling of impermanence is: “it’s like we’re always waiting for the person sitting beside us at supper to be gone at breakfast.”
Darren Hynes sets the scene in a small coal mining town in Canada, and as you’re reading you can feel the large, grey coal cloud that always seems to be hovering over the town, and especially over Wayne Pumphrey. The symbolism of this greyness that just won’t go away is demonstrated throughout the novel as Wayne and the other supporting characters reveal their strained relationships with their families and each other.
Fans of John Green and Laurie Halse Anderson will be engulfed by the relatable, yet heavy issues that arise in Creeps, as well as the down-to-earth characters that could be a placeholder for anyone in your life.
I requested this title from the NetGalley catalog and read it on my Nexus 7 tablet using the Aldiko Reader app.
*At this time the publisher is only granting access to long-lead media, reviewers, and booksellers in Canada.
-Review written by Tarah Theoret, Community Manager