Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Review: Scary School by Derek the Ghost

Scary School (Scary School #1)
Released: 26 June 2012
Genre: Paranormal, Middle Grade, Humor
Publisher: HarperCollins
At the Other End:
You think your school's scary?

Get a load of these teachers:

Ms. Fang, an 850-year-old vampire
Dr. Dragonbreath, who just might eat you before recess
Mr. Snakeskin—science class is so much more fun when it's taught by someone who's half zombie
Mrs. T—break the rules and spend your detention with a hungryTyrannosaurus rex!


Gargoyles, goblins, and Frankenstein's monster on the loose
The world's most frighteningly delicious school lunch


The narrator's an eleven-year-old ghost!

Join Charles "New Kid" Nukid as he makes some very Scary friends—including Petunia, Johnny, and Peter the Wolf—and figures out that Scary School can be just as funny as it is spooky!

Sum Up:
Scary School is absolutely genius! A great paranormal for middle graders.

Behind the 272 Pages
“Ms. Fang is the nicest, sweetest teacher at Scary School. She only ate twelve kids last year.” 

This book was absolute genius! I wasn't sure what to expect from this book, as it is obviously a middle grade novel. I've only had a few experiences with these kind of novels, and I had mixed feelings about them because it didn't feel right to read it. But with this book, it was funny and I liked reading this! I can easily pass this onto my younger cousins for a read that I know they will enjoy and will want to keep on reading.

I was surprised at how good this book was, to me. I was even a little disappointed when this book finished! It has a brilliant story line that middle graders (and some of you) will love.

Even though I didn't laugh out loud at this novel, I did find it a little funny and was chuckling to myself. But to middle graders, this book would be hilarious and thrilling all at the same time! I love how this book can get through to so many audiences, even though it's meant for younger readers. No matter what review I've already seen about this book, I don't think I've seen a bad review. Scary School appeals to everyone in some small way, and to some more than others as well.

With each new chapter, we see a new character's story presented. We feel so many different things with new chapter and character, yet it is so easy to transition to each character and to meet them all that we don't have trouble going back to characters. In each chapter, we get an inside look on each character in Scary School as well as what they like to do and even some of their troubles. Some things that happen are just freaky, and one (Petunia) just left me stunned thinking W.T.F!!! I was staring at the book for about 5 minutes after I finished reading her story. I'm not too sure how some younger readers will react to her story, but.... it's hard to describe.

No matter what kind of books that you read, this book has something for everyone in it! So... what are you waiting for? GET READING!!

Also, a big thanks to Derek Taylor Kent (the Ghost Whisperer for Derek the Ghost) for sending me this copy for review. See disclaimer at end of post.

What's Next:
13015324Monsters on the March (Scary School #2)
Behind 272 Pages
Released: 1 January 2013
Genre: Paranormal, Middle Grade, Humor
Publisher: HarperCollins
At the Other End: 
As winners of last year's Ghoul Games, the students of Scary School are off to Monster Forest. School may be scary, but the forest has a few frights of its own, including:

Bearodactyls—so terrifying we can't even show you pictures of them
Princess Zogette, the Monster King's toad-faced daughter, who falls for Charles Nukid . . . hard
Captain Pigbeard, fearsome leader of the Monster-Pirates and Princess Zogette's fiancÉ (well, former fiancÉ, thanks to Charles)
And when Zogette follows Charles to Scary School, the Monster King and Captain Pigbeard raise their armies and chase after her. But the monsters have no idea who—or what—they're dealing with.

In this clever, funny sequel to the frighteningly hilarious Scary School, Charles, Penny Possum, Dr. Dragonbreath, and all the students and teachers prove that scary monsters are no match for Scary School!

16065581The Northern Frights (Scary School #3)
Behind 242 Pages
Released: 1 July 2013
Genre: Paranormal, Middle Grade, Humor
Publisher: HarperCollins
At the Other End:
Charles “New Kid” Nukid and his friends, including Lattie, a girl ninja, must fight an epic battle with an ice dragon to save their school. But first they must survive going to Scream Academy as exchange students. And that may be hard, because the Academy has an abominable snowman for a principal, a Headless Horseman as one of the teachers, and the students are yetis, trolls, and ogres!

Will Charles survive to make an ancient prophecy come to pass and save everyone? The illustrated Scary School trilogy by Derek the Ghost, with its mix of humor, scares, and adventure, is a perfect pick for middle-grade readers of the Wayside School series and the Zach Files books.
Derek The GhostAuthor Bio:
Derek is an eleven-year-old ghost who haunts the classrooms and hallways of Scary School, writing down all the spine-tingling often hilarious things that go on there. Despite his ghostly state, Derek still enjoys reading comic books and hopes to one day become a master ninja. If that doesn’t work out, he will continue to share the fun of this very special, very secret school, so all kids can experience the scariest school on earth. Derek the Ghost communicates through the first-time ghost whisperer Derek Taylor Kent, who is a writer and performer in Los Angeles, California.

Find Derek:

Goodreads  |  Website
An interview with the Ghost Whisperer, Derek Taylor Kent
1. Where have we seen you before? (previous projects/works)
The Scary School series was my first published books. Before that I was a little bit know for my one-man show – Michael Jordan’s Magic Shoes, which toured around the country. I also wrote directed musicals and started my own production company – Sad Ninja Comedy.

2. What goes through your mind after your novel has been on sale for the first week?
When a book has been on sale for a week, I’m usually hustling doing promotions, so the work has just begun. I’m going to launch events, school visits, storytime visits, and also handling all of the viral marketing. It’s a very busy time so I’m usually on overdrive trying to get the word out and making new fans.

3. What inspired you to write this novel?
The first novel I ever wrote was originally called SCARY SCHOOL: BOOK 1 - MY HOMEWORK ATE MY DOG!  - it's a middle-grade fantasy series very similar to Harry Potter. The only problem was, it didn't have a whole lot to do with a "scary school". I just thought of that title and wanted to use it before someone else did. So my editor at HarperCollins read the book, and almost acquired it, but in the end, they ended up passing on it, but gave me the recommendation to write a book series called SCARY SCHOOL that was lighter, funnier, and more school-centric. I took their advice, which became the Scary School series we know today.  It was also great because for inspiration I got to use all of my favorite characters from the horror movies I loved, like Jason, and Freddy, and even the dinosaurs from Jurassic Park! I wanted to imagine what it would be like if they had all gone to school together when they were kids, and in my silly head, the reality of that would be pretty dang funny .By the way, the original book ended up becoming RUDY AND THE BEAST: BOOK 1 - MY HOMEWORK ATE MY DOG! which is available exclusively through my website at  - and you can get it on Kindle (just $2.99!) or paperback! For those who like dark fantasies like Harry Potter, I've gotten many responses that young readers enjoy it even more than Scary School!

4. What do you think about when getting/seeing negative reviews?
Well, luckily the reviews for Scary School have been extremely positive. If it were a movie on Rotten Tomatoes, I think we'd be polling at 99%, so I can chalk up the 1% to being out-of-touch elitists :)   But, if they have good, constructive criticism, I love hearing that. Those helped me make improvements in Book 2 of Scary School after seeing the same couple criticisms pop up a bit too often.

5. How long was the writing/planning process?
I usually take about a month or two of serious pre-planning. I make lists of things I want in the book (that can happen all year when I think of something). And then I spend a good amount of time outlining. I make a general outline and then flesh it out into a very detailed outline that’s like a beat sheet.

6. What was your reaction to the cover art when you saw it for the first time? Did you have any ideas from the days of writing/inspiration?
I loved the cover art when I first saw it, but I had one idea for a change that they actually ended up using. The first mock-up of the cover had a werewolf kid riding a skateboard. I suggested they might want to try a zombie instead, and they ended up going with that.

7. Any plans for future writing projects? Any being worked on now?
Yes! Lots of stuff! Of course you can expect Scary School #2: Monsters on the March due out June 26, and then Book 3 June of 2013. I also have a very funny new book called Principal Mikey that we're currently shopping, plus I'm starting up a couple new projects - one is an older YA book that will be kind of an adventure story through great cinema, and also a new middle-grade series about the wackiest town in the world.

8. Top 5 books

  • Maus 1 and 2 – Art Spiegelman
  • Welcome to the Monkeyhouse – Kurt Vonnegut collection of short stories
  • Harry Potter 7 – I forget the author
  • If I Ran the Circus – Dr. Seuss
  • Sideways Stories from Wayside School – Louise Sachar

9. What book/s from other authors do you wish you had written?
Ready Player One by Ernest Cline, Save as Draft by Cavanaugh Lee, Shark Wars series by EJ Altbacker, A Weapon to End War by Jonathan Ross, anything by Cormac McCarthy or Stephen King, The Beyonders series by Brandon Mull, 52 Reasons to Hate my Father by Jessica Brody

10. Why read your novel? 

If you buy the book for your kid, I guarantee that it will turn them into a well-adjusted, ivy league-bound, world-beater dynamo. You can actually read all about why this is true in an article I wrote right here   But seriously, Book 1 of Scary School just won the award as the "Funniest Middle-Grade Book of 2011" from Children's Literature Network, so you know there will be a lot of laughs. Since Scary School is aimed at kids just starting to get into chapter books it's important for them to read books that will create a positive connotation in their brains about how fun reading can be, which will instil a life-long love of it. And that of course will make them smarter, happier, and more creative in the long run. So why not?? Plus, it's a whole series, so it will hopefully bring enjoyment for years to come :)  

If you’re still not sure, please check out my website - it’s lot’s of fun. You can tour the school, meet the students and faculty, unlock secret chapters, and even play a videogame. If you beat the game, you will win the weirdest trophy ever!

This novel was received for review via the author. This review is entirely my own, no bribery or any deals have been made to sway this review or change my personal opinion of the novel

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thanks for leaving a comment, I love hearing what you have to say and talking to you all!