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Book review: Middle grade novel ‘Prosper Redding’ is full of twists despite slow pace

SHARE Book review: Middle grade novel ‘Prosper Redding’ is full of twists despite slow pace

"THE DREADFUL TALE OF PROSPER REDDING," by Alexandra Bracken, Disney-Hyperion, $16.99, 368 pages (f) (ages 9-12)

Prosper Redding is a bit of an outsider in his family in "The Dreadful Tale of Prosper Redding." First, there’s the fact that, at 12 years old, he’s the only failure the Redding family has ever had. In a family of exceptional people, Prosper is the one exception. While his twin sister succeeds in everything from sports to academics, Prosper struggles to stay awake in class and is beating his school record for the number of times he’s visited the principal’s office.

But then there’s also his recent discovery that he’s the host for the newly awakened demon Alastor, who cursed his family about 300 years ago. Alastor’s only purpose in life is to once and for all destroy the family he once blessed with immeasurable success. All at once, it’s Prosper’s duty to protect himself from his own bloodthirsty family — and protect his family from the bloodthirsty demon within himself.

To do that, Prosper will have to rely on the help of the uncle and the witch cousin he never knew he had. And he’ll have to go to a new school where his classmates are different and he has an 800-year-old demon shouting insults in his head all day. Prosper needs to hurry, though. Little does he know that Alastor is gaining more and more control over Prosper’s body every day and that his family doesn’t have much time to lose.

Young adult author Alexandra Bracken’s first middle grade book may at times move a little slowly, but it’s otherwise a solid match for kids and parents who like a little humor with their scary stories. “The Dreadful Tale of Prosper Redding” is full of twists that will engage older kids, and it ends with a conclusion that will leave readers waiting for more.

"The Dreadful Tale of Prosper Redding" doesn't contain any violence, sexual content or objectionable language.

If you go …

What: Authors Alexandra Bracken, Tamara Ireland Stone, Elizabeth Eulberg in conversation with Ally Condie

When: Wednesday, Sept. 13, 6:30 p.m.

Where: The King's English Bookshop, 1511 S. 1500 East, Salt Lake City

Web: kingsenglish.com

Note: The signing line is for those who buy a copy of the featured book from The King’s English.