A school trip brings 13-year-old, quip-spewing monster-hunter Max Helsing into the middle of a new hunt.
Max’s first-ever vacation is his class camping trip. After a stop at the small New Hampshire town’s general store (a Bigfoot-themed tourist trap where a hermit gives them a campy, B-movie–style warning), Max encounters some more mundane issues—he’s sharing the smallest room in the hilariously run-down lodge with a classmate, the principal (out to get him), and a pee bucket. Once the activities get started, Max keeps encountering nonaggressive supernatural creatures from around the globe (interspersed illustrated field-guide pages inform) at an area identified as spiritually and culturally important to the Pequawket. Max learns the reason for this—the efforts of one of his more-peaceful ancestors—but not before two friendly campers go missing with clues pointing toward Bigfoot, triggering a plague of hunters, including British supernatural-hunting rival Abel Archer. Max must solve the monster mystery before it’s too late. White Max’s primary supportive cast is diverse—Latina Syd Perez, Asian-American Wing Liu, and African-American Jed—but, aside from the red-haired bully, racial markers are left out for minor characters. The ending further teases the existence of Max’s powerful nemesis.
Combines gleefully immature (“buttmunch,” “Crapsacks!”) humor with witty one-liners and a fast, active pace—easy to enjoy. (Horror. 9-13)