Book Review – Home Invasion by Monique Polak

Title: Home Invasion
Author: Monique Polak
Format: Paperback
Written: 2005
Published: 2005

I’ll give you the tagline that they gave the book:  While a home invasion terrorizes the city, Josh finds himself breaking in to other people’s houses.  There you go.  Obviously, it’s not Josh.

So, the book is set somewhere.  While they named the city, the details they gave of it (mainly none) could have set this story anywhere.  And Josh is 16, pissed off because he hates his step-father for the sheer fact that the guy exists, and is the type of kid who’s “just there” judging by the list of friends and hobbies they give this kid (mainly none).

And while some creep is busy terrorizing the city to the point that everyone’s still leaving their windows open and keys in their front doors, Josh is using the opportunity to sneak into people’s houses while they’re home and observe them. Cause that’s not creepy at all.

Really, I question the publisher.  There are a few grammar things that go through the whole story that are minor but drive me nuts because I do the editing thing.  (I’ll concede that the average reader probably wouldn’t notice.)

But more than that, there are a few story issues that are annoying.  First of all, the book is classified YA.  But there are two types of YA – the stories that get the designation because the writer is convinced they’re not children’s books (when I was a kid, they *were* children’s books – YA is a relatively new genre designation), and the stories that are YA because they deal with stuff that teens really deal with, and the characters, situations, etc., all fit that.  This was the former.  The stuff that fit the genre in the early days when nobody wanted to really look at YA, but we sorta did sometimes anyway… the stuff that I was sure went away with the 90s.   (If you’re fairly new to YA, that doesn’t make sense to you, I’m sure.)

So I question certain story points – do we really need to know that the kid can hear his mother and step-father having sex through the walls?  There was no plot point there, just another device to show the kid’s annoyance at the guy, and really, without there being a plot going from there, it was just a creepy detail. (Incidentally, I can name books that used something like that *as* actual plot – creepy, sick, twisted, etc. – but plot nonetheless.)  Then, the step-father was an artist, so he signed Josh up for basketball camp to get him out of the house so he could paint blobs. Seriously.

Back to the guy breaking in.  So while some terrible horrible creepy guy is breaking in, tying people up, and stealing from them… this kid thinks it’s a great plan to break in and watch people.  Um.

I’ll let you figure out the rest of the story on your own.

Bottom line.  It’s a short novella, and appears to be the author’s first published project,  so if you’re bored and it’s around, go ahead and read it.  The writing is mediocre, but it’s amusing enough, and you’ll probably have it read in an hour.  Way over priced, so don’t buy it unless you find it at a yard sale for a quarter.

Three out of five pages.

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