Slug Pie Story #3:
How to Destroy the New Girl’s Killer Robot Army
by Mick Bogerman
A B.R.A.G. Medallion Honoree
How to Destroy the New Girl’s Killer Robot Army is Mick Bogerman’s deceptively slim third volume (151 pages) in the Slug Pie Story series. If upon reading the title you think it sounds fun, you’d be on target; after all, this is the same author who gave us How to Navigate Zombie Cave and Defeat Pirate Pete and How to Rid Your Swimming Pool of a Bloodthirsty Mermaid. While I haven’t read the first two, I find the titles delightful, and can assure you the third is fully capable as a stand-alone. There is plenty of action packed into it, and some danger into the bargain. As Bogerman himself writes in his note to parents:
“So, if you’re looking for a wimpy, child-type book, turn away now. But if your kid is not a wimp, likes a heart-pounding scare and chasing down evil killer robots, then this, dear parents, is the story for your kid.”
Reading like a how-to or instruction manual, complete with chapter headings such as “Tell the New Girl to Go Away” (it’s always wise to start with the easiest option) and “Find the Lair,” this is the story of Mick and his efforts to extract Savannah Diamond, the new and very not quiet girl at school, from his life. He’d really like to Fed-Ex her back to Florida, but as this isn’t an option, he has to find some other way to overcome her interference. She isn’t just going to peacefully stand down. She’s not that kind of girl.
“Last week she outran me in gym class. I have a reputation to keep … Then afterward, she called me a gastropod … Why couldn’t she just say ‘snail’ like a normal person? … Last night was the last straw … I looked over at my brother and he was doodling in his notebook: Finley + Savannah. Inside a heart. Yuck … [S]he’s got to go.”
Mick tries his level best to oust Savannah once and for all, though his plan doesn’t exactly follow instructions—perhaps the reason he helpfully sets up the book as he does—and he soon finds first one, then an army of robots invading his house, and sees the writing on the wall. I mean, literally, writing on the wall—in blood:
FEAR US Mickey Bogerman OR ELSE
Mick isn’t afraid—at first. But when his dog is attacked, people go missing and the unstoppable army continues to advance, he knows he has to move on this in a serious way. Will he be able to recruit the troops to stand with him and save himself and all of Beachwood from total catastrophe?
Audiences may guess this is a rather fast read—and for me, an adult, it was. With all that, the amount of story in the book is generous and there is much more to the narrative than the robot element. So while a kiddo into robotics might be drawn to the tale, there are other components that broaden its appeal: wrangles between siblings, challenges at school and the follies of friendships. With a boy and girl going head to head, the novel positions itself as intended for both: girls will relate to Savannah and her responses, while boys will find their world, until recent years grossly underrepresented, given another valuable place in children’s literature.
More and more holes are burned through our walls. Five or six behind us in the kitchen, four in the entrance hall, one to the left of the doorknob. Robots spill out: spiders, scorpions, giant ants, beetles, roaches, and centipedes. Made out of parts and pieces of work tools, kitchen utensils, bike parts, and electronic toys. Pieces soldered together onto tiny motors, wires strung like veins, their legs and claws and teeth sharpened into knife points.
One way Bogerman achieves this—perhaps to mixed response—is the use of casual, and sometimes improper grammar, with gonna making a few appearances, along with dialogue such as, “You’re the one can’t talk right now[.]” It is a technique, however, used sparingly and not one that sounds out of place given the distinctly different manner in which people in any language speak versus how they write.
Bogerman also writes in a manner indicative of someone who loves words, matching particular experiences to distinct phrases, and I have a feeling we’re going to see a lot more of this even apart from the Slug Pie Stories. “As I trudge across the south parking lot, a dog howls loud and long like he’s just swallowed a bowlful of grief[,]” for example, caught my attention coming from a teenage boy, hinting at the deeper personality growing beneath the surface. It also reflects his own mood at the moment, given that he hadn’t had bus fare and is returning from an hour’s worth of walking to get home.
How to Destroy the New Girl’s Killer Robot Army is a super fun read with scary elements and distinct and realistic representations of how teens relate to others (parents, neighbors, siblings, teachers, friends), what they like, things that concern them and how they handle conflict. As a female, it was such a delight to get this glimpse into a boy’s world, and other readers, kid as well as adult, are also sure to love this delightful action-adventure tale.
About the author…
Author Mickey “Mick” Bogerman has lived in Beachwood, North Carolina all his life. Mostly he tries to stay out of trouble, but mostly trouble seems to find him anyway. He has a knack for antagonizing scary creatures and girls, not necessarily in that order. Mick’s favorite subjects in school are science (slime, rockets, bugs, and rocks—what’s not to like?), gym class (running, climbing, throwing—more stuff to like), and reading (yay Mr. Corcoran lets him read whatever he likes—like comic books). Speaking of comic books, Mick’s favorites are X-Men, Demon Knights, Spiderman and Batman.
You can follow and learn more about Mick Bogerman’s work at Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram and his website. How to Destroy the New Girl’s Killer Robot Army is available for purchase at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books a Million and Kobo.
Audio Book release of Slug Pie Story #1 How to Navigate Zombie Cave and
Defeat Pirate Pete (Audible/I-tunes/Overdrive): August 12th
E-book release of Slug Pie Story #4 How to Protect Your Neighborhood
from Circus Werewolves (Amazon, B&N, I-tunes, Kobo): September 21st
A complementary copy of How to Destroy the New Girl’s Killer Robot Army was provided to the blogger in exchange for an honest review.
Images courtesy Slug Pie Stories, LLC