- The Washington Times - Saturday, February 2, 2008

By David Donnelly, age 11

Central Middle School, Edgewater, Md.

Do you want an exciting book that is filled with action and close-call adventures? Do you want a frightening book that will scare your socks off and yet provide you with great entertainment? Well, put this book at the top of your list.

“Nightmare Academy,” by Dean Lorey, has a great mixture of friendship, adventure and mysterious happenings. Thirteen-year-old Charlie Benjamin is the focus of Mr. Lorey’s strange but fun book that introduces you to characters and places you have never dreamed of before. It is for all of these reasons I award it an excellent four stars.

However, I do have one warning about the book: It should not be read by anyone in fourth grade or lower. As I said, this is a very scary book, from its terrifying creatures to its gruesome scenes. Very young readers, no matter how advanced, may not be able to get to sleep without having to leave all the lights on and checking under the bed.

If you are old enough, this book is well-written and enjoyably scary. Once you’ve been introduced to this strange, new world, the story won’t let you go. All the action and suspense keep you on the edge of your seat and wanting even more.

Charlie Benjamin has always been considered a freak. Ever since preschool, when he had a nightmare that seemed to make things come alive, Charlie has not seemed normal. He is marked as an obsessive-compulsive, attention-deficit-disorder mental meltdown. He is sent to school after school until his mother finally can take no more and decides to home-school him.

All through his life, Charlie has had terrible nightmares, and after a huge ordeal, he meets Rex, Tabitha and Pinch. They try to help him, and they bring him to an Academy that will teach him to use these powers to fight evil.

I have given you all the information I want to. The rest is for you to read — and trust me, you will enjoy it. Mr. Lorey is a great writer and is bound to have a great sequel.

Yes, readers, it does have a sequel, but it will be worth waiting for. Charlie Benjamin has much more excitement in his life and a lot to take on, but the second or even third book will probably be as good as the first because Mr. Lorey is going to finish off just as he started — in a great way.

The last way I am going to convince you to read this book is to say that this is the best book I have read in all of 2007. This book is being compared with some of the greatest novels for children and young adults, such as Cynthia Voigt’s “Homecoming” and Mildred D. Taylor’s “Roll of Thunder, Hear my Cry.” This is a book worth your time.

BOOK: “Nightmare Academy”

AUTHOR: Dean Lorey

PUBLISHER: HarperCollins Publishers (August 2007), hardcover, 312 pages

READING LEVEL: Ages 12 and up

PRICE: $16.99

INFORMATION: harpercollins.com

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