I was so excited when I received an early copy of Sticky Pines: The BigWoof Conspiracy as it has everything I would’ve loved as a quirky kid!
If you think a young reader would love The X-Files, Eerie Indiana, & Stranger Things this Sticky Pines tale of Lucy & Milo determined to prove there’s something out there delivers on so many levels.
Lucy is on a mission to prove there are UFOs in her small town of Sticky Pines, and one night hunting she is startled by a strange creature and bumps into young photographer Milo Fisher, an odd, smart & sheltered son of the Rich new owner of the town’s confectionery company that takes advantage of the super sweet tree sap native to that area.
But when residents start going missing and the suggestion of a doctored photograph there is increased tension that there is something behind the takeover and a horrific secret that just might spill over at the company sponsored Town carnival if Lucy and Milo cannot solve the mystery.
Nobody would ever believe her. Not without proof. Proof she still didn’t have
If this book had come out when I was little, purple haired, conspiracy theory hunting Lucy would have been my hero.
Back then I totally adored the supernatural themed imports constantly repeated on British children’s telly The Secret World of Alex Mack (Wears a Hat) Are you Afraid of the Dark, the Australian fantasy show Round the Twist (if you know it you are at least thinking the theme song) and Eerie Indiana… and of course, though reflecting I was far too young to watch it, I was pretty obsessed with The X-Files!
Sticky Pines brings together these nostalgic feelings for adult readers like me, but more importantly for the uninitiated young reader it captures the magic of what made those shows addictive and exciting and distils it into a thrilling book worthy of inspiring those who are desperate to watch but are just that bit too young or sensitive for the awesome Stranger Things. Or indeed those hungry for inspiration in between series.
Everything is an unsolvable mystery to you
Dashe Roberts has worked hard to get that balance of walking between the worlds of wonder and mundane within a terribly normal sleepy town setting but also with an Americana twist which give it an extra authenticity fitting in with the genre heritage such as hinting for me at the early series of Supernatural where the boys played classic rock in the Impala, maybe even a nod to Jensen Ackles with the Lucy’s father’s band rendition of ‘Eye of the Tiger’??
Sticky Pines has all the hallmarks of the best children’s adventures, misfit friends disappearing off in search of a Mystery, the witty banter before scaring your knickers off accompanied with heaps of humour that exhilarate the senses and leave you breathless, loving the characters and aching to discover the truth.
And once I know the truth, I’ll shout it from the treetops because the truth is the only thing that matters in this tricked out photoshopped world
Lucy is fantastic, she’s funny, witty and determined. She’s not perfect, she has purple hair 😍 she messes up and gets herself and her family into trouble in pursuit of the truth. She’s real in her frustrations and outbursts ( there’s a lot of flips and bunks but not actual ‘bad’ words in case thats important to know) and she tolerates no fools but is willing to break the rules where necessary for what is right.
I love that her parents Miranda and Silas aren’t useless or negligent, they are loving and supportive, they expect good of her and they punish her when appropriate even if to a child it seems unfair. But equally you shouldn’t mess with her mum who goes to bat for her, just making it clear she knows something is up but with wits instead of shouting like Lucy does. This is incredibly wonderful to see in a children’s book that parents can be warm and supportive whilst giving room for the story to develop without their presence or control. I also suspect there’s more to come from these two especially with a fascinating name like Silas Sladan.
It occurred to Lucy that it was probably she who should be walking him home through the woods that night.
Equally Milo Fisher is a great character to see that boys can be sensitive, smart and arty without being painfully geeky or odd- he is a Fish-er(ha!) out of water with his Katsu Curry Bento lunches, slightly prim mannerisms and impeccable yet preppy sartorial style and love of photography but he isn’t socially inept or silly, he’s just a posh and artistic boy in a backwater town. Lonely and isolated, Milo sees something special in Lucy that ignites his own curiosity to uncover the truth.
This partnership is an exciting one with these two seemingly chalk and cheese characters bonding over traipsing through the woods after BigWoof and running from clowns. Oh yes warning… bad clowns!
Something strange was happening in the town of Sticky Pines, and the only thing Lucy knew for certain was that no one could see it but her
Dashe Roberts has created a brilliantly fun world here yet glinting with enough darkness and danger to keep you hooked and with some AWESOME TWISTS and reveals I’m incredibly excited to learn that this is a series! Uncovering the supernatural underneath sleepy rural America but for kids is GENIUS, and especially will be incredibly fun for adults particularly to read aloud or along with children- this comes highly recommended for children who want a little bite with their adventure!
Sticky Pines:The BigWoof Conspiracy by Dashe Roberts is published by Nosy Crow
Thank you so much to Nosy Crow for my review copy 💜 Please note my banner image background is a zoom in on the Book Cover background by Bill Bragg.