February 16, 2012

Review: Hickey of the Beast, by Isabel Kunkle

Author: Isabel Kunkle
Title: Hickey of the Beast
ISBN: 9781936460229
Publisher: Candlemark & Gleam (March 14th 2011)
Disclaimer: Copy received for review purposes.
Buy your copy: Kindle 

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
“Connie thought freshman year might suck. She never thought it'd be literal.

Bad dreams? No big deal. After all, Connie Perez is starting her first year in the prep school her mom runs. Anyone would be a little stressed, right? When she starts dreaming about strange creatures and places that don't make sense, she doesn't think much about it: there's other stuff on her mind. Then she starts noticing that the people she dreams about get sick right afterwards.   

Then everything gets weird.    

There's something bad on the campus of Springden Academy. Something that feeds on students and warps their minds. And, as Connie and her friends try to figure out what's going on, it starts to look like she's the only one who can stop it.    

Freshman year was hard enough without having to fight evil after class.    

Hickey of the Beast is a hilarious look at coming of age in a school where there are no secrets, but plenty of mysteries, and where supernatural studies take on a whole new meaning. It's a story about all the things that make growing up hell: boys, history class, annoying little brothers, and saving the world from evil. When the supernatural comes to school, it's no field day - and that's before you factor in homework” GoodReads’ blurb

I’d been looking forward to this ARC for a while, and when I got it in my e-mail I went positively crazy with excitement. Of course, I squeezed it in my TBR as soon as I could and... it was such fun!

There are two things that are very unique in this book. The one that will jump out at you first is the tone, the voice. The whole novel is written as a super long letter from Connie to a friend, and that’s exactly the way it felt when I read it.

The story follows a good pace, is well structured, tells us what we need to know when we need to know it and builds all twists and revelations upon previous remarks – can you say solid? And yet, Connie’s tone is colloquial, light, full of “youngster speech” that suit her age to a tee.

I think Hickey of the Beast might have been such a quick read because it truly felt like I was reading something from a friend, and that’s the kind of stuff you never put down until you’ve gleaned the last bit of juicy gossip, right?

More things I loved: it was not a romance. Don’t get me wrong: I love romances, I really do. Even when there are no obvious elements, I tend to find something to focus my inner squealing fangirl... But this wasn’t necessary with Hickey of the Beast. Connie is a really well developed character, and a refreshing one. I already said that. What does that mean, in the romance context? Well, there’s something about not finding the love of your life at fourteen that some of today’s YA writers (and readers) have forgotten, though. There’s something about reading a the thoughts of a girl with an appreciative eye for boys who just knows that there’s more stuff out there – like her friends, her family, and, oh, I don’t know, saving people.

Last but not least: an original take on myth and paranormal creatures. Can’t say much about this without destroying the whole mystery for you, but Isabel Kunkle has mixed up some very interesting stories from all around the world to shape an enemy that’s both familiar and unique.

Is this a recommended read? Yes, in capitals. For everyone, and specially for real YA readers, and specially for people who want a break from the same old story with different wrappings. There are so many things to like about Hickey!

I kind of hope that there’s a sequel to this one in the makings. The ending leaves the plot wrapped up, but there’s stuff I’d like to know more about. Possibilities I’d like to see further explored.

And oh, how I’d love to see Connie growing up. That’d be a real treat!

What do you think? How do you feel about the letter format? The lack of world-shattering romance in favour of family and friend relationships?


  1. sounds fun/ a demon??

    rad review ron

    1. Hehehe... yep, a certain kind! It's a great book, roro. Thanks for stopping by!