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The Smashed Man of Dread End

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A chilling middle grade horror novel with an unforgettable basement-dwelling monster, perfect for fans of R.L. Stine and Holly Black alike. Noe Wiley couldn’t be more excited to move. After the slumber party sleepwalking incident of last year, she’s ready to make some new friends. But Noe didn’t expect the sullen, strange girls who live on her new street. And she certainly d A chilling middle grade horror novel with an unforgettable basement-dwelling monster, perfect for fans of R.L. Stine and Holly Black alike. Noe Wiley couldn’t be more excited to move. After the slumber party sleepwalking incident of last year, she’s ready to make some new friends. But Noe didn’t expect the sullen, strange girls who live on her new street. And she certainly didn’t expect the strange warning they give her—to stay out of the basement, no matter what. Noe’s not going to let these girls boss her around. She’ll go in her own basement whenever she wants. So she does. And there he is. And now there’s no going back.


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A chilling middle grade horror novel with an unforgettable basement-dwelling monster, perfect for fans of R.L. Stine and Holly Black alike. Noe Wiley couldn’t be more excited to move. After the slumber party sleepwalking incident of last year, she’s ready to make some new friends. But Noe didn’t expect the sullen, strange girls who live on her new street. And she certainly d A chilling middle grade horror novel with an unforgettable basement-dwelling monster, perfect for fans of R.L. Stine and Holly Black alike. Noe Wiley couldn’t be more excited to move. After the slumber party sleepwalking incident of last year, she’s ready to make some new friends. But Noe didn’t expect the sullen, strange girls who live on her new street. And she certainly didn’t expect the strange warning they give her—to stay out of the basement, no matter what. Noe’s not going to let these girls boss her around. She’ll go in her own basement whenever she wants. So she does. And there he is. And now there’s no going back.

30 review for The Smashed Man of Dread End

  1. 5 out of 5

    Rachel (TheShadesofOrange)

    4.0 Stars Finally, a horror novel with a teenager who is NOT moody and emo because her family moved to a new place!  I have really come to appreciate middle grade horror in this last year so I was incredibly excited for the opportunity to read this latest one.  Written by JW Ocker, who wrote one of my all time favourite adult horror novels, I went into the book with high expectations. Long story short, it did not disappoint!  This story blended together all the elements that make these children hor 4.0 Stars Finally, a horror novel with a teenager who is NOT moody and emo because her family moved to a new place!  I have really come to appreciate middle grade horror in this last year so I was incredibly excited for the opportunity to read this latest one.  Written by JW Ocker, who wrote one of my all time favourite adult horror novels, I went into the book with high expectations. Long story short, it did not disappoint!  This story blended together all the elements that make these children horror stories great. It has a strong protagonist, great family dynamics, a sunny group of friends, and a spooky setup which lead to a lot of entertaining moments.  While this book is targeted at a younger audience, I can completely attest that the story has all ages appeal. I was still able to fully enjoy the narrative in my thirties. The humor in the novel was on point, including a lot of jokes that would be more funny to adult readers and probably go over the heads of younger children.  Overall, I really enjoyed this one and would recommend this novel to kids as well as adults open to reading middle grade horror. It was a lot of fun! Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the publisher.

  2. 5 out of 5

    J.W. Ocker

    Author here. The Smashed Man of Dread End is for kids who want a scare but not a ghost story. For kids who believe their neighborhood can contain an entire universe. For kids who know that, in the end, the adults can’t help them. And for adults who want to share a scare with their kids.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Ms. Yingling

    E ARC provided by Edelweiss Plus Noe (short for Noelle) is okay with her family moving. It's within the same town, but after a sleep walking incident that estranged her from her best friend, she's glad to get a fresh start. Her new neighborhood is situated in a dead end on a wooded ravine, but close to her new school. While unpacking with her parents and younger sister Nore (Lenore), she meets three girls from the neighborhood. Radiah, Crystal, and young Ruthy warn her not to go into the house's E ARC provided by Edelweiss Plus Noe (short for Noelle) is okay with her family moving. It's within the same town, but after a sleep walking incident that estranged her from her best friend, she's glad to get a fresh start. Her new neighborhood is situated in a dead end on a wooded ravine, but close to her new school. While unpacking with her parents and younger sister Nore (Lenore), she meets three girls from the neighborhood. Radiah, Crystal, and young Ruthy warn her not to go into the house's basement after dark-- so of course she does. There, she sees a shadowy figure trying to escape from a crack in the cement. She's scared, but also a bit confused about whether or not this is just part of the night terrors she has fought for years. She's also concerned because Nore seems to have started sleep walking as well. Noe hunts down the girls, and finds out that they are not only scared, but angry that Noe is in the house where Erica had lived. Erica had a run in with the figure, whom they call the Smashed Man, and is now in a coma, her family having moved to Texas. The adults won't believe that anything is wrong, and their eyes glow violet and the seem hypnotized when the Smashed Man is around. Radiah has taken to spending most of her time in the attic of her house, Crystal is home schooled in her basement, so lives in fear, and Ruthy is young enough that she isn't quite sure about what is going on, but Radiah is trying to protect her. The group decide to try to figure out what is going on and to dispatch the Smashed Man, and start by investigating a veiled house in the neighborhood, where they meet Fern. She's visiting from Alabama as part of a group called the Neighbors, who are working against the forces of evil. From her, they learn a lot about different realities and "places in between", but also gain some helpful knowledge about painting sigils on their houses with darkwash, and about tactics that might work to rid themselves of this scary menace. As the neighborhood bonfire approaches, it becomes more important to deal with this creature before he gains even more power, but will the girls be able to pool their resources to do this? Strengths: Remember the "killer clowns" that were on the loose a few years ago? A lot of my students were actually concerned and afraid. The Smashed Man has that sort of feel. Unlikely, absolutely, but Erica is in a coma still, so it's nothing to fool around with. Working in persistent sleepwalking and night terrors is a brilliant move,and having the younger sister be vulnerable adds some touching (and frightening!) moments. Sure, there's a #MGLit trope about moving and having your house be haunted, but this kicks it up a notch. Definitely purchasing. Weaknesses: The cover could be a lot scarier (the Smashed Man coming out of a basement crack), and I'm not sure how effective Fern's presence was. I either wanted more of her or less of her. What I really think: It is so great to finally see more horror books for middle grade readers. Currie's Scritch Scratch, Joel Sutherland, Lindsay Duga, and K.R. Alexander titles (as well as others) have really helped me expand offerings to students who want just the right amount of terror in their reading.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Remlee

    My 8-year-old and I both loved this book!! Devoured it, even. We don't usually love the same books, so this one's special. We originally won an early copy in the drawing from the author, but my daughter quickly protected it as her own, so I had to wait until the release date to read my copy. She finished the first half in one sitting, but then she started reading slowly to ration it so that it never ends... She now wants to explore every basement in every house she enters. :-) It's just scary eno My 8-year-old and I both loved this book!! Devoured it, even. We don't usually love the same books, so this one's special. We originally won an early copy in the drawing from the author, but my daughter quickly protected it as her own, so I had to wait until the release date to read my copy. She finished the first half in one sitting, but then she started reading slowly to ration it so that it never ends... She now wants to explore every basement in every house she enters. :-) It's just scary enough for her, but still feels super spooky to me. As an old-school horror movie fanatic, I loved the whole "Monsters have rules" concept. I'm a huge fan of Ocker, in all genres that he writes, and this one didn't disappoint. I don't usually read horror books marketed at middle-grades, but gave it a shot because I figured that if anyone could do it well, it's him. The fact that the whole thing takes place in this spooky little cul-de-sac in the summer makes it great. The way it's crafted makes you feel how trapped the the characters are, and it gives off kind of a Coraline vibe. (No spoilers, but maybe the eyes feed into that?) Loved the character development and how Ocker vividly paints each character through perfect little descriptive details. It's also lovely to read a book with strong female characters working together to solve a problem. Crossing fingers that there will be a sequel!

  5. 4 out of 5

    Cindy • leavemetomybooks•

    Wowza. This book was scary AF. I am a grown-ass lady who has read and watched a zillion horror things, and I was freaked out by this story. If books like this had existed when I was 11 (SO long ago), I would have been so happy (and could have maybe held off on the Stephen King for a bit). There is something so alarming about the Smashed Man - the flatness? the oozing from the crack in the basement wall? the fact that no adults can see him? - aaagh. So good - he’s like a malevolent and terrifying Wowza. This book was scary AF. I am a grown-ass lady who has read and watched a zillion horror things, and I was freaked out by this story. If books like this had existed when I was 11 (SO long ago), I would have been so happy (and could have maybe held off on the Stephen King for a bit). There is something so alarming about the Smashed Man - the flatness? the oozing from the crack in the basement wall? the fact that no adults can see him? - aaagh. So good - he’s like a malevolent and terrifying version of Flat Stanley. *shudder* The kid characters were realistic and kind of jerky like kids can be - loved that they weren’t all sweetness and light. I would hesitate to recommend this to the older elementary kids at the school where I work, but I am all over this for middle school kids who like the scary stuff. I haven’t read any of J.W. Ocker’s other books, but that will be remedied ASAP. Release date: 8/17/21 * THANK YOU to NetGalley and HarperCollins Children’s Books for the eARC for review.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Elle

    The Smashed Man of Dread End was a unique middle grade horror novel. The atmosphere was creepy and the main character acted in a manner that was very believable. The premise involves a creepy flat being that comes out of cracks in basement walls, but only children can see it. Adults are blind to the monster. This being is pretty terrifying in that it can actually be harmful to children if it fully escapes the crack and if it touches the child. The neighborhood children get together to try to fig The Smashed Man of Dread End was a unique middle grade horror novel. The atmosphere was creepy and the main character acted in a manner that was very believable. The premise involves a creepy flat being that comes out of cracks in basement walls, but only children can see it. Adults are blind to the monster. This being is pretty terrifying in that it can actually be harmful to children if it fully escapes the crack and if it touches the child. The neighborhood children get together to try to figure out how to keep everyone safe, but how can they be safe when they don’t know what the rules are? Overall, this book was fun. I feel that middle grade students will enjoy reading this . . . even reluctant readers. The creature was genuinely creepy and the premise was different than any other book like this. There were also tidbits of information throughout the book concerning science. I highly recommend this to anyone who has a middle grade aged reader who enjoys a good scary story. It reminded me of reading RL Stine when I was younger.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Grace

    The Smashed Man of Dread End by J.W. Ocker ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5 • • • The very first day that Noe moves into her new house, she is met by the neighborhood kids…who say nothing to her other than an ominous warning about her basement…will she and her little sister be safe? What is going on in her house? • • This is an excellent upper junior/ middle grade horror novel 💖 Genuinely spooky, creepy monsters, cosmic horrors, brave kids, great setting. I loved it! I absolutely would recommend this for 4th-6th grade

  8. 4 out of 5

    April

    The Smashed Man was a unique villain and I enjoyed the thrills and surprises in this book. I would recommend it for older middle-schoolers and younger teens, as it does have some legitimately scary scenes and some sci-fi concepts that might be hard for younger kids to follow. However as an adult reader who loves middle-grade books this was an enjoyable read! *Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for the eARC*

  9. 4 out of 5

    Diana

    *Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for this ARC.* This was great! A solid middle grade horror story that I would've eaten up as a kid, alongside the R. L. Stine Goosebumps series. I think this is a great book for kids in the 4th-8th grade range, and really satisfies that need for the scary and macabre. Also, I think the cover of the book is really wonderful too - definitely a great, eye-catching illustration. *Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for this ARC.* This was great! A solid middle grade horror story that I would've eaten up as a kid, alongside the R. L. Stine Goosebumps series. I think this is a great book for kids in the 4th-8th grade range, and really satisfies that need for the scary and macabre. Also, I think the cover of the book is really wonderful too - definitely a great, eye-catching illustration.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Kelle Lloyd

    Smashing! I so enjoyed this latest offering from one of my favorite authors! A unique monster, a touch of magic and a smattering of sci-fi, but ultimately a story about sisters and the bonds of friendship overcoming all. A fun and engaging read for middle graders and adults alike.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Alandrea

    I was pleasantly surprised by this book. It is for middle school aged children, but I am an adult. The story is great for people of all ages. What I liked the most about this book was the pace at which the story was told. It pulls you in during the first chapter, instead of dragging on and on before getting to the plot. This was a wonderful book and I would be delighted to read more books from this author!

  12. 4 out of 5

    Jenelle Jones

    This was an excellent, delightful read. Imagine, a monster lives in your basement and it’s up to you and your friends to get rid of him? I enjoyed the premise and I think this would be perfect for a family read.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Krista

    I found this to be a very creepy book. As a grown woman I never truly shook off my fear of basements so this book took me on a scary ride. I enjoyed the uniqueness of the characters and the author's way of conveying how alone the girls were even though surrounded by adults I found this to be a very creepy book. As a grown woman I never truly shook off my fear of basements so this book took me on a scary ride. I enjoyed the uniqueness of the characters and the author's way of conveying how alone the girls were even though surrounded by adults

  14. 5 out of 5

    Rebecca Rossi

    This is the @youllreadtoobookclub pick for the month and I thoroughly enjoyed it! For a middle grade, it's quite scary. I loved the original concept and quirkiness to the story. Lots of fun! This is the @youllreadtoobookclub pick for the month and I thoroughly enjoyed it! For a middle grade, it's quite scary. I loved the original concept and quirkiness to the story. Lots of fun!

  15. 5 out of 5

    Nicole

    That was legitimately creepy for a middle grade story.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Mr. Salerno

    Reviewed from an ARC from @NetGalley. There are some legit scares in this story. The Smashed Man is a haunting figure and constant suspense keeps the reader on edge.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Audrey

  18. 5 out of 5

    Martha

  19. 5 out of 5

    Liz

  20. 4 out of 5

    TJL

  21. 4 out of 5

    Cassie

  22. 4 out of 5

    Books Around the Corner

  23. 4 out of 5

    Ann Sellers

  24. 4 out of 5

    Maria Wang

  25. 5 out of 5

    Samantha Shaw

  26. 5 out of 5

    Amanda

  27. 5 out of 5

    Troy Menke

  28. 4 out of 5

    Marisa

  29. 5 out of 5

    Casie Blevins

  30. 4 out of 5

    Sue

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