Feb 5, 2010

Nostalgic Friday: Something Wicked This Way Comes

Welcome back to Nostalgic Friday! Since I love all things historical (culturally, physically, and personally) I do a post on Fridays honoring some awesome book that is a bit older. Many of them are books I enjoyed in my teens and others are books that I discovered as an adult that I think are relevant to YA readers.

This week's selection is Ray Bradbury's classic novel Something Wicked This Way Comes. I read this my freshman year of high school and it really stuck with me as one of the best books (other than To Kill A Mockingbird) that I read that year.

The story begins on October 23rd in a sleepy little town. Young Jim Nightshade and Will Halloway are excited to hear that Cooger & Dark's Pandemonium Shadow Show will beginning the next day, despite the town's ominous feelings about this late-in-the-year carnival. After seeing the tents for the show magically take shape, the boys solidify their plans to attend the carnival the next day. The boys sense an adventure on the horizon and are determined to take hold of the opportunity.

Their excitement turns to terror when the carnival turns out to be more sinister than they could possibly have imagined. People are starting to disappear and the heads of the carnival, Mr. Dark (the Illustrated Man) & Mr. Cooger, aren't nearly as friendly as they once appeared. Now the boys find themselves in a race against time to save themselves and their town.

This book was a wild ride! I had never read anything by Bradbury before this and it certainly wasn't the last. He weaves stories with incredible finesse and intrigue. Even though it was a school book, I found that I couldn't put it down. The main characters, Jim and Will, were so real it was almost uncanny. They acted like I expected bored boys their age to behave. They were inquisitive and entertaining while serious and poignant. This is a great introduction to the world of sci-fi/fantasy realm for middle grades, but it can continue to carry meaning for high schoolers. Enjoy!


April said...

I have a copy of Something Wicked This Way Comes (got as part of a library book sale), have yet to read it though. Perhaps I'll pick it up over Halloween. Either way, great review!

Jo said...

This is one of my favorite books! I really love the way that Bradbury crafts his sentences -- there are some places in the book that I just like to savor because I think they're written so well. Plus, I like the story overall of the scary carnival. Disney's movie adaptation of the book isn't bad (it has Jonathan Pryce plating Mr. Dark). :)