Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers
Release Date: January 6th, 2015
Genres: Fantasy, Humour, YA
Source: For tour
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A devil is a bad influence . . .
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.
Thank you Rockstar Book Tours for organising this blog tour!
Discussion Review by Celine and Mel
**This review is spoiler-free**
Max blinked. “You’re…Satan.”
“Well, I’m a Satan. There are six hundred and sixty-six of us not that anyone’s counting. But you people always seem to want to lump us together into one all-powerful, malevolent being, so I like to give my audience what it wants.” He started to sink into a deep bow, but he burped in the middle of it and the moment was ruined. “The name is Burgundy Cluttermuck, devil-at-large. I do bachelorette parties and retirement galas, but no more children’s birthdays.
Mel: Hellhole has got to be one of the funniest novels I’ve ever read. Gina Damica definitely has some kind of set style, which is equal parts humorous and deliciously dark.
Celine: Yes, Hellhole really is Damico’s typical style! She manages to write with such humor and snark, but at the same time she doesn’t shy away from darker topics or making her characters suffer. So while you’ll be laughing your ass off reading this, don’t think this is a fluffy book. It’s decidedly not.
I absolutely loved it. I just don’t think it’s possible to read a Damico book without snort/laughing the whole way through. Aside from her writing style, the characters really help make that happen. In Hellhole we’ve got awkward Max, and he accidentally uncovers the highly annoying but HILARIOUS Burg.
Mel:Yep, if you want funny, Gina Damico is like, the go-to author. She never disappoints! Like you said Celine, THERE IS SO MUCH DEPTH AND DAAAARKNESSSSS. This woman is well known for her books to be fantastically dark in terms of humour AS WELL AS the themes that she addresses.
Quick rundown on the book: Max steals this cat bobble head and accidently unearths one of the 666 devils, Burg. Basically, the only way for Max to ‘get rid of him’ is to find a house (with a hot tub ←that’s an incredibly necessary detail) for Burg to live in. But, finding a decent house that no one else is currently living in is PRETTY HARD to find in one day so Burg has to stay in Max’s basement until then. Amazing banter ensues between the two of them.
“Relax, kid, will ya? I’m not going to hurt you.” He reached for the Cheetos bag, then, remembering that it was empty, frowned. “You got anything else? Combos?”
“What?” Max shouted, horrified. “No!”
“Ugh,” the man groaned. “No one ever has meth.”
Celine: It was just hilarious. However, I also loved that Damico did manage to give some of the characters some awesome growth. Max is awkward and nerdy, but might he also have a dark side? Burg is obviously evil, but could he also be a bit good? I really liked that recurring theme, though obviously the big selling point of this book is its utter hilarity!
“Speaking of which…where are your pants?”
“I’m not a fan of pants.”
“Yeah, well, fourth rule: pants. Pants all the time.”
Mel: Yes Celine, I loved the exploration between good and evil in this book – it was probably one of the most predominant themes. Everyone has a dark and good side, but it’s really up to you to choose which side you embrace and bring out to this world. Speaking of this, Burg totally stole the spotlight here with his villainous and witty ways and spectacular, unforced, humour.
Celine: Oh, and guys? THERE ARE PUNS. Marvellous puns. I myself am a HUGE fan of puns and I just basically snickered every time I saw one. I know we keep mentioning it but this book is just frickin’ hilarious. If you don’t want to read this for the story at least read it for the laughs!
Mel: Yes there were a few puns! Oh, the hilarity. And Burg thought so too 😀
I think we should probably touch on the darker topics in this book, lol. At the start of the book we find out that Max’s mum has chronic heart failure and could die very soon. The reason why Max actually bothers to deal with Burg in the first place is in hopes that he could help save his mum by striking a deal with the devil…but we all know how bad of an idea that is. I personally loved Max and his mum’s relationship. It’s always nice to see mother-son relationships and I loved this one and how easy going it was.
“How was your day?”
“Oh, thrill-a-minute,” she said bitterly, helping herself to a slice and a ring, one in each hand. “What would you like to hear about, the newest Bowflex infomercial? Or the latest shipment of bimbos on The Price is Right? Or – funny story – the time I got up to brush my teeth but all of a sudden felt so weak I dropped my toothbrush in the toilet?”
“You dropped your toothbrush in the toilet?”
“Yeah. Which reminds me – I need you to get my toothbrush out of the toilet.”
Celine: Yes there was an excellent presence of a mother figure! Though it definitely did not dominate the story, there was also a bit of a romance. I didn’t have espcially strong feelings about it either way, but I’m curious how it went for you, Mel 🙂
Mel: The romance was kept quite small and I really appreciated that! I didn’t really find Max’s romance with Lore (the ex-goth girl who helps Max deal with Burg) all that swoon worthy but it was incredibly adorable and not instant love at all. BONUS POINTS RIGHT THERE.
Oooh how did you find Lore as a character?
Celine: Anyone who calls a crowbar Russel Crowebar is a friend of mine.
For real though, I really liked her! She wasn’t the most vivid character for me, but I liked her personality and snark. I also love how determined she was to help Max despite all the problems she had herself. I thought her ‘secret’ was pretty obvious, but the way she slowly opened up about it did show her character growth, I think.
Mel: Yes, I thought I was the only one for a minute! Her secret was wayyyy to obvious as I saw it coming a mile away. That was a shame, but like you, I quite liked Lore. I loved her attitude and her sarcasm! We needed some of that because of how awkward Max is.
Celine: We certainly did! They counteracted each other nicely and that’s exactly what they needed. That said, I really loved how different everyone was. Burg, Max, Lore, their parents… Everyone was so different and that made for really interesting dynamics.
Mel: Right? I loved how different all these characters were unique and refreshingly different from one and another, and that they weren’t simply just a representation of a stereotype (which happens a lot in when you have books set in high schools).
Speaking of characters, out of all of them, I think Audie disappointed me the most. I loved that she and Max had a platonic friendship but she didn’t feel all that necessary in this book, to be honest. I cared least about her, for sure.
Celine: I agree with you! I really liked that their friendship was platonic, but other than that I did not really care a lot for her.
I felt that at one point the plot got a little bit dragged out, though.
Mel: Yeah my other qualm would definitely be how at times the plot just draaaaaaged. It wasn’t too bad because Burg makes up for it with his shadiness and presence in general, hah.
Celine: Hellhole was mostly just funny as hell (sorry). It really was though. Everyone who loves snark, cats, humour or laughing in General will eat this up, I think!
Mel: Yep, THE CATS WERE THE BEST! They’re pure evil, and even Burg the devil knows it.
Celine: If you want to feel happy and laugh while also reading something dark Hellhole is really just the way to go.
Mel: GINA DAMICO is the way to go 😀
~Thank you HMH Books for Young Readers for providing us copies for review!~
Don’t forget Hellhole is also available on Audible! Here is an excerpt.
YA Midnight Reads is not responsible for any lost items.
This giveaway is INTERNATIONALLY OPEN
A Message from the Author
Hey there book fans! I’m running a Follow Frenzy giveaway over the course of this blog tour, and the prize is pretty neato: a signed copy of HELLHOLE wherein each chapter will have a little bit of trivia and/or a doodle handwritten by yours truly. (Gina) (Damico) To enter, all you have to do is follow me on one or more of my various social media outlets (Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, Instagram, Youtube), then fill out this adorable little form. That’s it! The more things you follow, the more chances you will earn to win. Good luck!
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