If you are A) a boy, B) a fan of superheroes C) an Anglophile, D) a bugophile, E) a laughophile or F) you super appreciate good imagery, The Bug Boys is for you.
Not a book I would normally read because of its sci-fi nature but I was pleasantly surprised because I did enjoy it and it was really funny.
The Bug Boys is a fun book to read. As an adult I was able to enjoy it, but I wish I'd had the chance to read it when I was younger. This is Young Adult done right; it respects the audience. The fun, superhero sci-fi story gets a healthy dose of humour. Good humour at that. A wry, mature approach to comedy that I would've craved as a young teen. Yeah, this is a book for those kids who raced ahead of the class and were forced to choose between books they'd outgrown and adult books that, whilst they could enjoy and appreciate, sometimes wanted something a little lighter to enjoy. Hoffman delivers something that can be enjoyed young and old, but more than anything fills that niche well.
I've called it a sci-fi comedy type book because that's the easy description, in truth it's more a wry superhero comic story. Two schoolboys go on a trip and develop buglike superpowers. I think that alone qualifies it as a warm and affectionate parody of many origin stories. Throw in some nice touches of rural Britain and you end up with a pair of very British superheroes. I have the obvious benefit of some familiarity with the world but the footnotes would undoubtedly make it more accessible to readers of other backgrounds.
The book offers more than just fun though. Touching on some pretty intense topics this book doesn't shy away from confronting some of society's less pleasant aspects. It could be uncomfortable reading for some but I believe it handles the delicate issues well. It takes a certain courage to consider including them, and Hoffman displays a lot of skill in negotiating them the way he does.
A great read, and an impressive debut from this author. Definitely someone to watch.