The Boy Who Swallows Flies
by Michael F. Stewart
February 15th 2018
Middle Grade Mystery / Superhero
Winner of the Claymore Award!
Warning – Rated Kids-Only for Bug Violence
Jarrod can view the memories of any bug. He just has to eat it. It’s not the tastiest of superpowers and, let’s face it, fly memories aren’t all unicorns and rainbows. Eating insects also doesn’t net him many friends, and Bug-boy is an unavoidable nickname. But Jarrod’s ready to prove that he and his bugs are worth more than ridicule.
When he swallows a fly while biking, he’s in for a shock. The bug saw a room stacked full of sick dogs and puppies in crates. It’s a puppy mill, and Jarrod needs to save the animals. But the flight range of the common housefly is five miles. Even if the police believed him, with no evidence, they can’t help. It’s up to Jarrod.
Trained cockroaches survey neighborhood basements. A fly taped to a window makes an excellent sentry. Every beetle, mosquito, caterpillar—don’t eat the fuzzy yellow ones—spider and centipede is his edible sidekick.
Will Jarrod save the dogs? Or is it all too much to swallow?
Filled with tons of bugs and a boy learning his place in the world, this is a fun adventure with a great message.
Jarrod loves his bugs, and he knows them inside and out. Too bad, that's the only subject he's a whiz at. . .the only thing in life. He doesn't have many friends, gets bad grades and, to top it all off, has to wear a helmet thanks to his unexplained seizures. When he discovers that the seizures have something to do with swallowing bugs, everything turns around. Now, he not only has to stomach eating his best friends, but needs to find away to solve a terrible crime and save the lives of puppies in the process.
The author definitely grabs at the heart-strings with Jarrod. The boy is a loser—at school, at home and at life. He wants to fit in but can't. He does have one best friend on his side, which offers a ray of hope, but otherwise, it's hard not to feel for him. His interest in bugs is something which will thrill especially boy readers. And it's not just a fleeting interest. Jarrod knows his bugs even from the science side, which adds a couple little interesting tidbits of information on the bug world along the way.
The story is relatively short and holds a great pace, making this one even reluctant readers won't be scared to pick up. The yucky, bug eating fun—along with a few gross moments—make it an humorous treat. Put all of this with a bit of mystery and puppies who need dire help, and it's entertaining until the last page. Of course, how Jarrod gets through this mess is full of all sorts of unexpected twists and hard to guess what the end will really be.
Everything is wrapped around a message of staying true and believing in oneself—a message which never grows old. Jarrod doesn't have to do this completely alone as he finds a bit of support and friendship along the way.
And here he is. . .
Michael F. Stewart is winner of both the 2015 Claymore Award and the 2014 inaugural Creation of Stories Award for best YA novel at the Toronto International Book Fair.
He likes to combine storytelling with technology and pioneered interactive storytelling with Scholastic Canada, Australia, and New Zealand’s, anti-cyberbullying program Bully For You. In addition to his award winning Assured Destruction series, he has authored four graphic novels with Oxford University Press Canada’s Boldprint series. Publications of nonfiction titles on Corruption and Children’s Rights are published by Scholastic and early readers are out with Pearson Education.
For adults, Michael has written THE SAND DRAGON a horror about a revenant prehistoric vampire set in the tar sands, HURAKAN a Mayan themed thriller which pits the Maya against the MS-13 with a New York family stuck in the middle, 24 BONES an urban fantasy which draws from Egyptian myth, and THE TERMINALS–a covert government unit which solves crimes in this realm by investigating them in the next.
Herder of four daughters, Michael lives to write in Ottawa where he was the Ottawa Public Library’s first Writer in Residence. To learn more about Michael and his next projects visit his website at www.michaelfstewart.com or connect via Twitter @MichaelFStewart.
Michael is represented by Talcott Notch.
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