Round Two: Skullduggery Pleasant

I didn’t put it down. Devoured in a matter of hours.

Recently, a colleague stopped me in the corridor.

His face was a mixture of concern and outrage.

Without knowing what was wrong or, indeed, what I had done wrong, I ploughed in with the question: “Is everything ok? Are you ok?”

“Well,” he replied, “I thought that you were an English teacher.”

“I am!”

“But someone’s just told me that you like Harry Potter – that you’re really into it.”

For the first time in my life, I actually felt a little shame in my love of Harry Potter. Don’t worry. I didn’t last long. Although I paused, I confessed my love of all things Harry Potter and the Harry Potter Multiverse.

“I thought you were discerning,” my colleague berated me playfully, “At least tell me that you don’t think it’s well written???”

“Rowling’s one of the best plot writers I’ve ever known but I wouldn’t say that she was the best wordsmith, no.”

Relief flooded his face.

“‘Skullduggery Pleasant’, that’s what you need.”

And so I’ve read it.

And I’ve loved it, I’ll confess.

Darker than the earlier Harry Potter books, it enjoys the gruesome and macabre. It relies on our morbid curiosity and, for that, I think it will gain a following of its own. Better written, though with a less complicated plot structure, it holds its own in contemporary YA fiction.

The central partnership of a teenage girl and a detective skeleton is just as deliciously awkward and hilarious as one would expect.

I, for one, can’t wait for more of the same. Derek Landy is definitely out there but also one to watch!

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