By Keith Graves
Chronicle Books, $16.99, 350 pages
The town of Awkward Falls is known only for two things: its tasty sauerkraut and its spooky insane asylum. When thirteen-year-old Josephine moves into town, she sees boredom in her future. But when some super snooping uncovers a dilapidated mansion next door, her future looks brighter. Inside she finds a boy genius named Thaddeus Hibble and his robot butler, Norman. Unbeknownst to the town, cannibal Fetid Stenchley has escaped from the Asylum for the Dangerously Insane. He is on the loose, searching for his next meaty meal…and revenge. What secrets hide in Thaddeus’ mysterious past? How is Fetid Stenchley tied into the boys’ history? What is waiting to be discovered in the mansion’s secret lab? The Orphan of Awkward Falls, by Kevin Graves, is a thrilling adventure full of hilarious details and surprising twists. Some scenes with madman Stenchley are quite scary for younger readers. Graves’ black and white graphic novel style illustrations add crucial details to the story. Both boys and girls will identify with Josephine and Thaddeus, two kids with outrageous personalities, looking to fit in while maintaining their unique qualities. Hopefully Graves will write another book about Awkward Falls.
Reviewed by Kathryn Franklin