This book is hysterical. Let’s talk about what “hysterical” means.
hys·ter·i·cal – h??ster?k(?)l/ – adjective
1. deriving from or affected by uncontrolled extreme emotion.
synonyms: overwrought, overemotional, out of control, frenzied, frantic, wild, feverish, crazed
Yes, all of that very much describes this book. Max Kilgore inadvertently makes a contract with a Devil, and it gets him into a lot of trouble. There is a lot of emotion, very frenzied people, crazed adventures and feverish debates. Things get out of control quite often, and the writing itself is quite overwrought, in a very entertaining way.
The Devil: Burgundy Cluttermuck is a hilarious antagonist. His jokes are always funny, his pop culture references are unexpectedly goofy, and his sense of style is just plain weird. Burg says things like, “Oh my stars and garters!” and calls people “homeslice.” He’s gross, he’s loud, he’s obsessed with Call of Duty, and also addicted to junk food, but only if it’s stolen. Burg is actually quite a complicated character as well. He has a lot of surprising depth and even goes through some character development.
The Protagonist: Max is not a good criminal. In fact, he feels guilty as sin just for stealing a grotesque, pink, glittery, plastic cat for his sick mother’s bedside table. Max is definitely a mess. His jokes are lame and his haircut is worse. He has to try very hard to not talk about veal when around girls, especially Lore Nedry, his newest friend and ally in his quest to rid his life of a devil. Max makes a whole crap-ton of mistakes that actually cost people their lives. But you know what? I really liked him. He has a serious obsession with dinosaurs, which I can totally relate too. I am very jealous that Max is hardcore enough to keep that plastic Jurassic Park watch and wear it every single day and I am impressed with Max’s self-taught paleontology skills.
The Verdict: HELLHOLE is a great book. It’s funny, weird, and wholly original. Gina Damico delivers another of her slightly raunchy, always entertaining, and incredibly fun stories that teens looking for a humorous book will love. It’s also a great recommendation for nerdy teens – they’ll appreciate Max’s awkwardness and fall head over heels for the relationship between Max and Lore.
Pair it up with Adam Selzer’s PLAY ME BACKWARDS for a whole weekend of delightful #SatanicYA fun times.