By: Gina Damico
Publisher: HMH Books
Release Date: January 6, 2015
Genre: Mature YA
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.
Max has a rough life right now. His mom is in desperate need of a heart transplant and thus, Max is the one running the house. It’s just him and his mom so there aren’t a lot of things to deal with except for juggling high school and his job, as well as trying (unsuccessfully) to pay the bills. He’s in over his head, but he will never admit that to his bed-ridden mother. Which is how he ends up with Satan in his house. Max sees this hideous glitter cat figurine at his work and steals it knowing the monstrosity will cheer up his mom. However, what he doesn’t know is that in committing this bad deed, he has opened a portal for a demon to come through. Soon Max finds himself in deep water when the demon starts making demands.
Let me start out by saying that this book is for MATURE young adults. There is a lot of swearing in here. A lot. So keep that in mind if you are going to be gifting this book to someone.
I LOVE Damico’s Croak trilogy. The characters in that were so sarcastically funny but kick-ass at the same time. I ate the series up as quick as I could. So imagine my delight when I saw that she was coming out with another book that revolves around Satan, who is a bit of a slob, coming to earth. My excitement wasn’t fulfilled though and here’s why.
Max is the “hero” of the story… only he isn’t a hero at all. He isn’t someone who stands up for anything. He gives Burg (Satan) rules for living with him and I thought, “Yes! This kid has some balls”… but they were just words. Burg broke his rules time and time again and nothing came of it. Max would just cower and agree to whatever Burg said. Max was also greedy. Instead of getting rid of the problem (Burg) he kept pushing Burg for what he wanted. Now granted he wanted Burg to heal his mother, but everyone knows you don’t make a deal with the devil. Yet, every time Burg changed the rules, Max would bend to his will in the hopes that if he pleased Burg, Burg would heal his mother. I just wish Max had a backbone. He was too wimpy of a main character for me.
Burg stole the show for me. Sure, he was the bad guy but he played it so well. He was enjoying life on the surface and knew that he had a spineless kid for a minion. So he used Max. He basically made Max his bitch. “I want hot pockets! I want a house! I want a hot tub! I want.. I want… I want…!”, and Max made sure that Burg was happy no matter what he asked for. So, if you have someone like that at your beck and call, why not keep asking? Why not push the envelope? Surely, if the kid is in this for his own reasons, he can do better than a tent for a “house”. He can get you a mansion. By “get” I mean “steal”, because Burg cannot accept anything, be it food or material items, unless it’s stolen. So pretty much you just snap your fingers and your little human will steal whatever you want. Yeah… Burg had it made. So, throughout the whole book he was having a blast in Max’s basement eating stolen junk food, watching stolen cable, while ordering Max to get things for him.
Obviously, the moral of the story is to not make a deal with the devil. In the end, Max’s “deal” caused more pain and suffering which didn’t end well for everyone. So, was it really worth it? In all honesty, I’d have been totally on board if the author killed off Max. I was not a fan of his character at all. I don’t even know if he learned anything in the end. I will still continue to read Damico’s work but sadly this one just didn’t do it for me. I am someone who likes strong main characters, I like them to stand up for what they want, take charge if need be, and Max is not that kind of character. He is the polar opposite and that really didn’t work for me.
“Thus far in life, Max had had limited experienced with the opposite gender, but he was almost positive that your hair looks like either a volcano or one of those circular curtains in a hospital room was now one of the things girls likes to hear.”