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HOAX FOR HIRE by Laura Martin


by Laura Martin

Pub Date: Aug. 27th, 2019
ISBN: 978-0-06-280380-1
Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Can Grayson extricate himself from the family’s monster-making business?

Twelve-year-old Grayson McNeil loves his camera, which is never allowed on hoaxes, the family business. For generations the McNeil family has orchestrated elaborate scams for pay, bringing “to life” the Chupacabra, Bigfoot, Mothman, and various sea monsters. Grayson has secretly applied to prestigious Culver Academy for a scholarship in hopes of escaping a life as a hoaxer. When his dad is arrested in Scotland and Gramps vanishes, Grayson and his 16-year-old brother, Curtis, must complete the hoax their family’s been hired to pull, but a rival hoaxing family plans to steal this hoax and eliminate the competition all at once. Can the boys beat the baddies and complete their dad’s contract? Martin’s cryptid caper joins a flooded field of similar tales, but it holds its own. Grayson is an engaging, Everyboy narrator, and the cryptozoological factoids are legion. As with many others of the subgenre, readers must check their credulity at the door whether they believe in crop circles or not; it’s the mundane events of the story that can cause the head-scratching. The cast is largely white.

The combination of adventure and light humor makes for a pleasant diversion—best where there is strong interest in imaginary zoology.

(Fantasy. 8-12)