The Season of Styx Malone by Kekla Magoon | SLJ Review

Gr 4-7 –Summertime in small-town Indiana only heightens 10-year-old Caleb’s frustrations with feeling ordinary.

redstarMAGOON, Kekla. The Season of Styx Malone. 304p. Random/Wendy Lamb Bks. Oct. 2018. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9781524715953.

Gr 4-7 –Summertime in small-town Indiana only heightens 10-year-old Caleb’s frustrations with feeling ordinary. When he and his older brother, Bobby Gene, meet smooth-talking 16-year-old Styx Malone, a whole new world of excitement, and its frequent companion trouble, opens up. Enthralled by cool kid Styx, Caleb and Bobby Gene are roped into an “escalator trade,” whereby the boys attempt to trade small things for increasingly more valuable items in the hopes of eventually trading up to a shiny moped. The characters are magnetic; Styx in particular unfolds into a touchingly human young man withstanding the buffets of foster care. The themes of friendship, trust, rebellion, and safety strongly flavor the book without overpowering the easy fun. VERDICT A summertime romp filled with trouble-making, camaraderie, and substance. A solid purchase, especially for collections where realism circulates well.–Erin Reilly-Sanders, University of Wisconsin-Madison

This review was published in the School Library Journal June 2018 issue.

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