{Blog Tour} Review + Giveaway: Ben Fox: Squirrel Zombie Specialist At Your Service by Daisy Whitney

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Ben Fox: Squirrel Zombie Specialist at Your Service
Title: Ben Fox: Squirrel Zombie Specialist At Your Service
Author: Daisy Whitney
Publisher: Spencer Hill Middle Grade
Date of Publication: October 14, 2014

Ten-year-old Ben Fox has good friends, a great dog, and a lightning-fast little sister who drives him a bit batty. The only thing in the fifth grader's life that's truly annoying--well, besides having to wear braces on his feet every day--is the family's wily Siamese cat, Percy.

Ben has always suspected something was off about Percy, who has never shown him or his beloved dog, Captain Sparkles, much affection. But now he's sure something is off--Percy has raised an army of squirrel zombies in the backyard and they're ready to take on the dog.

It'll be up to Ben to figure out how to stop the dastardly cat before the dog falls prey to the feline's nefarious plans, especially since Percy and his newly reanimated squirrel friends are gunning for nothing less than a full-scale Animal Zombie Apocalypse--when all the dogs start to behave like cats.

If only Ben could enlist his mom's help in the undead animal war. But his mom is petrified of things that go bump in the night, so Ben's only hope is to team up with his little sister. The battle won't be easy though, because squirrel zombies are the most dangerous of all...

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My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Thank you to Jennifer of Spencer Hill and NetGalley for the review copy! This in no way affected my views of the novel.

I initially identified myself as a YA-MG blogger then a YA-MG-NA blogger then I ultimately gave up and I'm now a YA-NA blogger. It's just that, I actually don't read middle grade novels that much. At all. Well, ever since I started blogging. But then, Daisy Whitney, who's absolutely one of my favorite authors, is releasing a middle grade book. I resisted at first because hello, it's MG! In the end, I succumbed to my love for Daisy and the need to read ALL HER BOOKS.

Oh, the trepidation I felt before starting this. But then, the first chapter was amazing that I couldn't help but read the next page and the next and the next. I highly enjoyed this novel, which was surprising because like I said, I'm not big on MG novels. Daisy actually told me about this novel long ago, about squirrel zombies, and that she plotted it with her son. I thought the idea was ingenious and cute but until then, that was just a presumption. And now that I've read it, I think those were correct.

Ben Fox is a ten year-old kid who witnessed their pet cat raising squirrel zombies in their yard. He also has cerebral palsy and so he's the slowest in gym and he always trips and falls. I loved how Daisy Whitney wrote a main character with a disability but didn't make it his ticket to playing the woe-is-me card. A kid named Rafael always teased him in school but he didn't stoop to that level. He also has an amazing best friend in Nathan, his battle-loving, ninja-costuming classmate. Ben was a sweet son, a smart kid and his CP was the least of his problems. It was Percy, their family feline who's the leader of a squirrel zombie pack and who's turning his dog, Captain Sparkles, into going cat-like.

I read this book in a breeze and I think middle-graders will too. It was fun and unique and so enjoyable. Ben was such a relatable character and kids will love the adventure and plotting he does throughout the novel. I'm not an expert in MG novels but I think Ben's voice fit a ten year-old's. However, there were some words that may not be in a middle-grader's vocabulary but maybe that's just me. I'm not American and English is not my first language.

Overall, Ben Fox just proved that Daisy Whitney can write anything and it will be amazing. This is her first foray into middle grade novels and I think she could absolutely write more and kids will enjoy them. With a sleazy and scheming cat and its squirrel zombie pack, Ben Fox was a joy to read, for both kids and adults alike. I just might start reading and reviewing middle grade books here in the blog again, all thanks to this book!

About Daisy Whitney

Daisy Whitney is also the author of the young adult novels THE MOCKINGBIRDS, THE RIVALS, WHEN YOU WERE HERE, and STARRY NIGHTS. Her books have received critical acclaim including NPR Best Teen Read, ABC New Voices Pick, ALA Best Fiction for Young Adults, an NCIBA Book of the Year Honorable Mention, a Romantic Times Best of YA, and a Chicago Public Library Best of the Best.


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