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The Daredevils

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Unfortunately, The Daredevils by Rob Buyea did not resonate with me. The story premise about a set of twins befriending a new kid is great, but Buyea's characterizations left me disappointed. Loretta spoke like a child from the 80's. The interactions with the P.E. teacher made me uncomfortable and seemed unrealistic. The campfire dances and Loretta needing to touch Louie's mom also made me question Buyea's purpose and sent up a red flags. I've been a fan of Buyea for years, and am sad that this book wasn't what it could have been. This is a book I won't purchase or recommend. Thank you NetGalley, for an e-ARC of this title.
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*Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for this ARC. All opinions expressed are my own.*

Verdict: A summer adventure story you won’t forget.

Twins Loretta and Waylon face the summer before middle school with different plans in mind. Loretta knows she won’t be able to protect her brother in middle school; they might not even see each other during the day. She plans to toughen her brother up so he can survive middle school. While Loretta uses her fists to solve problems, Waylon prefers to ignore kids who pick on him. His summer plan is to show his sister that he can take care of himself.

The book alternates between Loretta and Waylon’s POV and they occasionally “talk” to the reader. The story is funny, adventurous, and heartwarming. Loretta and Waylon get into some trouble, make new friends, and complete a quest. They hold fire ceremonies, build a fortress, summon the Forest Spirits, and face down a bobcat. By the end of the summer, they learn things about themselves and each other. This is a fabulous book. It’s a definite must-buy for libraries and classrooms that support middle grade students. Students familiar with the Mr. Terupt series will jump at the chance to read this one.
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It's the summer before middle school and Loretta is on a mission to toughen up her twin brother, Waylon. They'll spend the summer in the woods behind their house exploring. One of their trips leads them to a new friend, Louie. Louie is homeschooled and knows no one, so he agrees to continue to sneak out at night into the woods with the twins. The three find a mysterious box that sends them on a life-changing quest that helps them to learn about themself and each other.

This is a great adventure story for the daredevils in your life!
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Disclaimer: I received this e-arc from the publisher. Thanks! All opinions are my own.

Book: The Daredevils

Author: Rob Buyea

Book Series: Standalone

Rating: 3/5

Recommended For...: middle grade readers, contemporary, 80s movie fans, those who made secret forts in the woods and had summer adventures among the trees.

Publication Date: August 9, 2022

Genre: MG Contemporary

Age Relevance: 13+ (violence, anger issues, bullying, pregnancy talk, HP references, fatphobia, harassment, gore, depression, death, war)

Explanation of Above: There is some physical violence shown in this book along with blood and vomit gore. The book talks about anger issues and bullying and harassment, especially done by a teacher to a child. There is some slight pregnancy talk and where babies come from. There are 2 HP references. There is one instance of fatphobic comments made about a character. There is some depression shown and death and war are also mentioned.

Publisher: Delacorte Press

Pages: 240

Synopsis: Loretta and her twin brother, Waylon, are headed to middle school. Loretta has always been quick with her fists and her wits. Since Waylon is on the small side, Loretta doesn't let anyone mess with him. But now she worries he won't survive without her by his side. Her secret plan: bulk him up with muscle over the summer. Little does she know that Waylon has a plan of his own. He'll show his sister he can take care of himself.

As each puts their strategy in motion, Loretta and Waylon spend the summer going into the woods behind their house, even sneaking there in the dead of night. That's where they first encounter Louie, who is about their age but noticeably bigger. Louie is homeschooled, he explains when Loretta gives him the third degree. Loretta, Waylon, and Louie soon fall into a comfortable friendship and continue their nightly forest adventures. When they unearth a mysterious box, the past collides with the present, propelling the trio on a quest that will forever change their lives.

Rob Buyea's spirited dual narrative drives this funny, touching brother-sister story, where even the best-laid plans sometimes backfire and feelings may get bruised, but family and friends always count. Letting go of childhood means boldly taking risks to face the future while learning from the past.

Review: For the most part this is an ok book. The book is very reminiscent of older 80s tween/teen movies. It has a Bridge to Terabithia feel to it and it’s a good book about growing up and branching out into your own things, but set against the backdrop of solving some real life issues. The book is definitely a nostalgia feel book and would be awesome for older adults who would appreciate the many older movie references, but it might also appeal to kids who are also into those movies. The book had great character development and the world building was amazing. 

However, I believe that the book tries too hard to appeal to younger audiences and it’s a bit confusing in that regard. It’s awkward when it calls adults boomers, but the rest of the lingo of the children are that of children of a bygone era. The book also has 2 HP references, which is really confusing because it doesn’t match the era of the other movie references made in this book. I think it plays into the “adult trying to write kids of today” thing, but it again falls short in that regard. The references are not only out of place but also potentially hurtful to children who have been targets of JKR’s hatred. I also didn’t like the fatphobic comments made about a character. While the character is a bully and goes out of his way to hate on children, villainizing him by making him fat feeds into the “fat people are horrible” mentality. I believe his physical features could have been described in a less harmful manner than “I wonder how he fits into his sports car with a belly like his”. 

Verdict: It was ok, but there’s some kinks to work out.
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A great middle grade novel! I couldn’t put it down, I felt very attached to the characters and invested in the story. My full review is available on the blog.
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Thank you so much @netgalley and @tbrbeyondtours for the advanced copy in exchange of honest opinion 😊❤️

The story is told through the perspectives of Waylon and Loretta, fraternal twins who couldn't be more different from each other! Waylon is physically on the weaker side, an outdoorsy, intellectual person whereas Loretta is a force to reckon with, witty and extremely protective of her brother, so much that she isn't afraid to beat up anyone who dares to bully him. It was super easy to get into the book and I love how much they care about each other. I enjoyed their adventures, noting the differences in their personalities because like their father, I am also a huge fan of psychology. There are mentions of dark topics such as grief, depression, teacher acting as a bully which were well-done. I liked the music and movie references too. Overall, a good book.
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A fun read about siblings, twins, and mental health help.   Mr. Buyea knows kids and realizes how smart they are.  I'm glad Louie will be okay.
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"Readers on the cusp of adolescence will find much to love in this middle grade novel from the author of the beloved MR. TERUPT series that follows three kids who come to realize that letting go of childhood means boldly taking risks to face the future while learning from the past."

As an adult, and a parent, reading this novel, it both takes me back to my childhood and simultaneously give me glimpses of my future when my kids are older. This story will give you all the feels as you read about the kids trying to find their way in the world amidst the challenges of growing up.
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The DareDevils is a middle grade book told from the perspectives of twins Loretta and Waylon. Loretta who is a child who prefers to act before asking and is fiercely protective of her 'little' brother and Waylon, who is quiet and creative and all too used to Loretta fighting his battles for him (even if he may not want her too) and isn't quite as helpless as his sister thinks, even if he doesn't have a lot of muscle! 

The story takes place during the summer holidays before they prepare to attend Middle school and face a prospect of time apart as their new school is bigger and there's more children than they're both used to. Something that neither twin has ever experienced before.

The DareDevils is a tale of the magic of summer of discovery and a sense of magic found in imagination.

I love that the twins are so different in their personalities and viewpoints of so much of their lives but have a fierce loyalty and love for one another. It's evident that no-one can come between them; even if Loretta especially fears that when her quiet brother starts to come out of his shell. (Or her shadow..)

With forest spirits and the Force guiding the two of them and their new friend, Louie in their adventures? The trio have to overcome fears they never knew they had, discover secrets from the past and take on an adult who acts more like he's also in middle-grade (think Biff Tannen in Back to the Future, something Loretta the cinemaphile would agree on). 

The DareDevils is a wonderfully engaging book that draws you in, no matter your age, the characters are relatable and Rob Buyea's successfully incorporated the childish wonder of adventure, their need to grow and become their own self alongside more serious subject matters like grief, depression and the loss of a parent and sibling. All the more serious subjects are still seen through the eyes of the children primarily but it is done with such care that it isn't overwhelming for a young reader and can successfully enable conversation with an adult to take place. 

I loved every moment of reading The DareDevils and was hooked on wanting to see if Loretta, Waylon and Louis would succeed in their adventures and self discovery. This I think, will also be a really good read-along book in schools as well as wonderful audio book for children to listen to as you're drawn into the twins unplanned moments of chaos from the first chapter to the last. There isn't a wasted moment or perspective which will ensure a good read for midldegrade are children who will no doubt relate to the sudden change to being surrounded by lots of children as they grow.
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I loved the story line of this book! It is broken in to chapters about and from the perspectives of our two main characters, Loretta and Waylon. This book was a lot of fun to read. The characters were very relatable. I thought it was well done and a perfect chapter book for middle grade age kids. I was excited for the outcome of the story and was actually excited to keep finding out more. 
I think this would be an excellent addition to a classroom library. 

Huge thanks to @tbrbeyondtours & @rob_buyea for the #gifted copy for review and for having me on the tour. 
You can follow the tour for more reviews by visiting

👉🏻 This book is also available from @prhaudio. The narration was amazing.
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I was first drawn to the cover I know I am at it again but when I read the synopsis and realised who the author was an that he wrote the Mr Terupt series which I have not read but this will get rectified I  knew I just had to read The Daredevils.

Omg the story and the characters were 3D even the parents who were visible were certainly hilarious naming their kids after country and western singers Waylon and Loretta who were twins.  My favourite character was Loretta her chapters sounded like she was having a chat with you.  When she started talking about Mr Miyagi in my head I was going wax on wax off.  I loved all the pop culture related to films and it has made me want to re-watch.     I loved how Waylon loved books and there was a lot of referencing to Hatchet and My Side of the Mountain which I have not read but have added them to my TBR.    The story worked well having each chapter told by either Loretta or Waylon and that helped with the flow I found it a very quick and enjoyable read.  I finished this book Monday (8th) at 2am and for a good part of that I was moved to tears not any tears I mean the ugly type.  So I had to give this wonderful book 5 stars
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This is one of the best MG Contemporary books I’ve read in a very long time. I loved the cult classic movie and classic country music references throughout the book. It provided a sense of nostalgia for me at times. I also love that young people today will get to discover them all because of this book.

Twins Loretta and Waylon are complete opposites. Loretta is the tough jock while Waylon is seen as the weak brainiac. Their bond has always been close but now that they’re getting ready to go into Jr. High where they’ll be separated by classes and friends this last summer is all about teaching them how to survive without the other.

When they find a mysterious box in the woods they’ve explored a hundred times they are lead down a path to finding themselves. They also find a boy named Louie whose home life is just as mysterious as the items in the box.

These three friends go through a journey of self discovery together and don’t just find their individual strengths but the strengths they have together. This is the perfect book about family and friendship. I definitely recommend it to anyone looking for their next coming of age MG contemporary.

I picked up the audiobook and definitely recommend it in audio format!
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Thank you to Delacorte Press and NetGalley for this e-ARC in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.
Twelve-year old twins Loretta and Waylon are spending the summer preparing for middle school. Loretta is “act first, question later” type of person and has spent most of elementary school defending and protecting Waylon. She has decided to “toughen” him up since she won’t always be around to protect him. Waylon also has a secret plan to show Loretta that he doesn’t need her help. The twins sneak off into the woods to their secret fort where they meet Louie, another 12-year-old who is home-schooled with issues of his own. They find a mysterious box that leads them to challenges and inner strength they didn’t know they had.
This coming-of-age middle grade book is a great read with alternating POV of the twins. As an adult reading this, I chuckled at Loretta’s constant references to “old” movies (80’s & 90’s). It was a bit slow to get going but definitely picked up in pace as the story progressed. The target audience probably wouldn’t even notice that, though. I would definitely recommend this book for readers in grades 4 and up.
#TheDaredevils #NetGalley
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Even though THE DAREDEVILS is not a fantasy, it is still a magical story of summer and growing up.

Although not a fantasy, "The Daredevils" is a story filled with magic. Told from the dual points of view of Loretta and Waylon, readers are privy to the thoughts and feelings of these two precocious and adorable pre-teens. Loretta is a bright, savvy, strong, capable “older” sister who loves her brother and wants to do the best for him. Her chapters are witty while revealing she’s still young and vulnerable herself. Waylon is beyond smart and very creative, and he loves his sister. He’s quirky but not as helpless as his sister seems to want to think. 

Their summer of adventure is one of achieving their personal goals and accomplishing their quest while avoiding people that make their lives difficult. The story is an entertaining and engaging one that both boys and girls will enjoy. Many smile-inducing moments and a couple of heart-wrenching turns of events will keep readers turning the pages to see what happens next.

With its likable and relatable characters and inventive storyline, THE DAREDEVILS is tremendous fun and a worthwhile chapter book for upper elementary and middle-grade readers. It would work well as a read-aloud book as well.

I voluntarily reviewed this after receiving an Advanced Review Copy from the author or publisher through NetGalley and "TBR and Beyond Book Blog Tours."
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Loretta and Waylon are fraternal twins and the storytellers of this new middle grade fiction story.  They are starting the summer before they enter middle school and could not be more different.  Waylon likes robots and computers and reading books and Loretta likes sports and being outside.  Loretta feels strongly protective of Waylon and plans to spend the summer building him up so he won't get bullied in middle school.  As they begin some of the character and body building plans they both have, they meet their new neighbor, a boy named Louie who has a kind of scary looking mom.  As the story progresses, each of the kids grows in ways none of them could expect but culminates in a wonderfully surprising way.  I think kids are going to love this one.
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The Daredevils is a great middle-grade novel for any kid who loves adventure! Waylon and Loretta's brother-sister bond made for an engaging read and their familial drama only added to the plot. Sneaking out at midnight to perform daring tasks, creating a fortress in the woods, and friendships between kids who don't traditionally fit in make for an excellent coming-of-age story for any middle school reader. I only wish the ending had been more drawn out. But, seriously, I can't wait to put this on my classroom bookshelf and share it with my kiddos!
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Loretta has always seen herself as her twin brother Waylon’s protector. During the summer before they enter middle school, Loretta plans to “toughen him up” and help him build some muscle to prevent bullies from taking advantage of his small size and non confrontational manner. Their parents have other plans for them, and as they try to mesh plans together, they meet a new friend, Louie, who is about their age and is homeschooled. The three of them set off on a quest that will require them to be brave and look out for one another as they try to achieve their goals. I think kids are going to love this one, as they have with this author’s other books.
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I wasn’t sure about this book at first. I felt it started off slow and used a lot of stereotypes, such as the kids calling the adults they didn’t like “Boomer,” or introducing the one mean teacher who of course has it out for the main characters.  I admit I had a hard time getting into this book, and actually enjoyed the second half of so much more. At this point the storyline began to flow a little better, the pace picked up a little, and it became  more fun as the twins began to add more partners in crime to their many adventures.
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The Daredevils is a middle grade contemporary book by Rob Buyea. In this book, we follow twins Loretta and Waylon as they begin their last summer break before starting middle school. After spending all their time together growing up, this next school year will be the first time they are taking different classes. Loretta is tough as nails and fiercely protective of her brother. She doesn’t want to see him bullied when she won’t be there to protect him. So her goal this summer is to toughen Waylon up. Waylon usually has his nose in a book about nature and adventure. He wants to prove to his sister that he doesn’t need her constantly watching over him. 

This book was so cute. It reminded me of the  small adventure books I read growing up. The author has a note at the beginning about how “My Side of the Mountain” was his favorite book growing up and I think you can see that influence in this book. The kids spend a lot of time on their own exploring the woods so for me, it brought back a lot of memories of my childhood. The kids really learn about each other and themselves throughout the course of the novel in a truly heart warming way. I found myself almost tearing up at the end due to the way everything comes together. 

This book tackles a lot of hard subjects like grief and depression but from an older child’s point of view. I think any adult reading this book would pick up on that stuff early but the kids unravel it slowly throughout the entire story in a way that felt very natural for children their age. 

One thing that is always hard for me when a middle grade story is told from more than one point of view is that the characters usually feel the same. This author really took the time to make sure each twin had a very distinct voice. I think you could be dropped into a chapter and not know which twin’s pov you are in and you would be able to figure it out easily. Loretta uses a lot more slang and repeats a lot of phrases whereas Waylon’s chapters are much more to the point. 

All in all I really enjoyed this story. I can see some people seeing the gym teacher as being a bully to be a bit overboard, but I think kids reading this book will relate. A lot of kids deal with teachers that they don’t like so even if it was a little too much at some points, kids will enjoy the way it works itself out. I don’t have anything negative to say about this and I will be buying a physical copy for my children when this releases.
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With thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for an early copy in return for an honest review.

3.5 stars for this book. I know a lot of middle grade books have a bully, and I'm okay with that because the truth is that's the reality for many kids. And so, I think it's good for kids to be able to see themselves in the books they read. But it just doesn't sit well with me that the biggest bully of the twins, was one of their teachers. And that it's not really resolved.
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