Bug Boys: Who would have thought that eating a peanut butter sandwich and an apple would change your life? Let alone get you mixed up with an old alien research project, and transform you into the superheroes your village never needed.
For two young South Yorkshire lads, Alex Adams and Ian Harris, it was a geeky comic book dream come true, but it wasn’t everything it was cracked up to be in the real world. They discover there are many layers between good and evil, and with great power, comes an embarrassing amount of gas!- Goodreads
The Bug Boys Review
The Bug Boys is a super-powered romp with some super-smelly side effects. Alex and Ian are two average twelve-year-olds that discover they can suddenly do something awesome. But with great power comes in limited bursts and a piper to pay at the end of the line. Thankfully young boys and disgusting sounds and smells go together like PB & J, so these kids make it work. And Hoffman gets points for finding so many unique ways to describe butt blasts.
I liked that Stewart Hoffman quickly instituted a set of rules that the boys’ powers were governed by. Alex and Ian, the Bug Boys, didn’t receive a ticket to godhood when they developed their abilities. There were limits, there were consequences, and the method of powering up was disgusting. I also like that he introduces some basic philosophical questions to young readers. Such as: What would have to change for a people to find peace. There’s something to be said for respecting your young reader’s intellect enough to bluntly state something like:
“When the Secti were no longer worried about where their next meal was coming from, they had a lot more time to be constructive and creative.”- Stewart Hoffman, The Bug Boys
Ultimately, The Bug Boys wasn’t a hit in our household. There was one chapter shoved into the book that just does not work well. It’s tossed it in there for no apparent reason and only serves to confuse the reader. It’s never mentioned again, either. It could be taken out and nothing would be changed in the book other than that chapter being missing. The first fifty percent of it is a rather bland read. The author struggles to pull the threads smoothly together.
So why did I give The Bug Boys four stars? Partially because the last half picked up and got my interest going finally. But mainly because I always appreciate it when I come across an author who treats his readers like mini-adults. It’s not the perfect combination of humor, insights, and action, but he gave it an admirable try.
Overall, The Bug Boys is a book worth taking for a drive, but your mileage may vary.