Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite
The Bug Boys is a science fiction and fantasy novel for children and preteens written by Stewart Hoffman. Alex and Ian’s big problem was personified in the form of the local bully, Darren, who was also twelve years old as they were, but had somehow been morphed into the body of a bigger, stronger teen. Darren liked to grab ears and press his thumbnails into the cartilage, and to watch the faces of his victims as he continued applying pressure. Darren seemed to think that Alex and Ian owed him pocket money and, to stop him from continuing his torment, Alex told Darren that, yes, they did owe him money and would be getting it for him tomorrow. His quick thinking did get them out of being tortured anymore, and giving him the money that afternoon was out of the question since Alex and Ian were going on a field trip. That at least gave them a breathing space and the chance to figure out just how they would come up with twenty pounds by the following afternoon.
Alex wasn’t all that keen about the school field trip. His class was going to the Rossollington Colliery, the mine where most of the kids’ parents worked and where many kids would be working themselves once they finished school. Alex’s dad was a Geo-tech Engineer there, and his responsibility was to make sure that the mine workings conformed to safety guidelines. When the kids arrived for their tour, Alex was sure his dad would embarrass him. And Frank, Alex’s dad, did just that. Alex and Ian were pleased, however, when Frank offered them his lunch as they needed to save their money to pay off Darren. Those apples looked incredibly good and that peanut butter sandwich even more so. Little did they know that their lives would change, and change quite drastically, when they took their first bites.
Stewart Hoffman’s fantasy and science fiction novel for children and preteens, The Bug Boys, is a fast-paced and funny story that features aliens, nanobots and bugs -- lots of bugs. Who doesn’t think it would be kind of cool to have superpowers and be a superhero? But what if it meant you had to eat a bug and then pass some pretty deadly gas after the bug’s power wore off? Alex and Ian find themselves faced with just those questions, and their responses to what happens after that had me thinking that, bugs or no, these kids are superheroes just as they are. I had a grand time reading this humorous action and adventure story. It’s got just enough high tech to keep the brain challenged and a generous helping of good silly fun. Hoffman’s plot is first rate, and his bug boys are grand characters well worthy of their own superhero comic series. The Bug Boys is most highly recommended.