Game over by S. Carey
Eerie Series. Penguin, 2013. ISBN 9780143306689. Paperback, 72
(Age: 8+) Highly recommended for readers with a taste for the macabre. Cast your mind back to some of those great series like Deadly and Wicked (Jennings/Gleitzman) and After Dark (Gary Crew et al) and think about how popular they were with readers, particularly boys, of about Year 4/5 level. Quick to read, ghoulish enough to be creepy but not graphic and written in a quality style - interesting vocabulary that just stretches the newly independent reader.
The Eeries series promises to deliver just such a successful formula. Game Over takes the reader on quite a retro trip back to the 80s and readers may be slightly baffled at first by the described desirables - an Atari 2600 for example. However, they will be familiar (or dare I say, should be!) with others like MAD magazine, Doritos, Oreos and other American delights which were just beginning to creep into our collective consciousness back in the decade of big hair and bigger shoulder pads.
John's new classmate, Samuel, is an unappealing American kid with a very appealing mother and houseful of goodies - all too tempting for an average suburban 80s Aussie kid. Lurking beneath this seeming haven of tempting treats is a sinister fate for those who succumb (think Lotus Eaters and you're on the right track). Is Samuel really as indolent and unemotional as he seems? Is his rather glamorous mother as kind and beautiful as she appears? Hang around, eat enough goodies and play enough arcade games and you will find out. In fact, you may find yourself in a very unpleasant situation!