I received this book for free from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Hellhole by Gina Damico
Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt on January 6th 2015
Genres: Comedy, Paranormal, YA
Source: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
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A devil is a bad influence . . .
There was a time when geeky, squeaky-clean Max Kilgore would never lie or steal or even think about murder. Then he accidentally unearths a devil, and Max’s choices are no longer his own. The big red guy has a penchant for couch surfing and junk food—and you should never underestimate evil on a sugar high.
With the help of Lore, a former goth girl who knows a thing or two about the dark side, Max is racing against the clock to get rid of the houseguest from hell before time, and all the Flamin’ Hot Cheetos this side of the fiery abyss, run out.
What a fun book!! For starters, the table of contents is a crossword puzzle. Yes, it has to do with the story, but besides that it’s super fun. (The answer is at the end of the book in case you need it.) I love dark humor and this book had that covered. With a serious storyline and humor combined, it was an entertaining read that also has you really feeling for the characters. The devil is hilarious, but keep in mind, he is a devil so he is very evil.
Max is kind of a nerd and doesn’t really have friends besides his next door neighbor. She of course is popular, pretty, and dating the star football player. He is like the third wheel. He also spends most of his time working and taking care of his mother, who has a bad heart. He’s a good kid who loves his mom, fossils, and crossword puzzles. One bad decision spurs a devil on him. Now, he has a devil living in his basement with crazy demands. But, if he gives the devil (Burg is his name) what he wants, he has agreed to cure his mother. Well, he learns the hard way to never trust a devil. Burg wants more and more, and Max does some really horrible things in order to please him. If not, he fears that Burg will kill his mother, or others in his life.
Lore is a girl who decides to help Max with his devil problem. He goes to her out of desperation, and rumors that she was into satanic shit before. The more he gets to know her, the more he understands about her… and begins to fall for her. She was a hard character to like. She is very abrasive, and very unstable. She would be helpful and friendly one minute, then be a huge bitch the next. As I got to know her though, I understood where a lot of it came from. I know this was really the story of Max, but I wanted to know more about Lore. Not just some things about her past, but how her life was in the present besides helping Max please his devil. In the end I did like her, but I felt I needed more out of her character.
There is of course a bit of romance, but it fits the story. Max has never has a girlfriend and isn’t really sure how to act around girls. He is awkward, and always says the wrong things. Lore is very moody, but it’s apparent that she likes him too. She just has some things going on inside that keep her from really letting herself fall for him. They do work well as a team, and mostly they are too busy worrying about what to do about Burg to act on any feelings they might have for each other. I was hoping that they would finally tell each other how they felt, but timing is everything. While fighting to keep your family alive and get rid of an intrusive devil living in your house, romance isn’t really at the top of the list.
While this book is essentially a comedy, it does have a really good, and sometimes sad story. There is death, illnesses, and of course the desperation of the situation. The dark is nicely blended with the humor to keep you from getting sucked into an emotional state with all that is going on. This author does a perfect job with it and I loved it. It was entertaining and engaging. A perfect start to the year with a fabulous read. I can’t wait to read what this author writes next. She is a must buy for me.
4 Hot Espressos