Always October

Always October

4.6 9
by Bruce Coville

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From Bruce Coville, the master of tween comic suspense, comes a tale of monsters, the bond between brothers, and saving the world.

Jake's baby brother, LD, may be a monster (complete with fangs and fur!), but together with his best friend, Lily, Jake isn't going to let anything happen to that baby. Even if it turns out LD may be the key to saving the

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From Bruce Coville, the master of tween comic suspense, comes a tale of monsters, the bond between brothers, and saving the world.

Jake's baby brother, LD, may be a monster (complete with fangs and fur!), but together with his best friend, Lily, Jake isn't going to let anything happen to that baby. Even if it turns out LD may be the key to saving the world—or destroying it. Soon Jake and Lily are on a perilous quest through Always October, a land populated with monsters.

Perfect for fans of Bruce Coville's beloved books, such as Jeremy Thatcher, Dragon Hatcher, the Unicorn Chronicles series, and My Teacher Is an Alien series.

Editorial Reviews

School Library Journal - Audio
Gr 3–7—Two years ago, after his father went missing, Jake found a friend in his across-the-cemetery neighbor, Lily, who, it turned out, is no stranger to missing parents herself. Lily is a huge help when Jake is called on to help save a baby called Little Dumpling who's been left on Jake's doorstep. Little Dumpling transforms into the cutest baby monster you ever did see, and the friends are catapulted into an adventure when they learn that other monsters have plans for Little Dumpling as well. The full cast narration gives a distinct voice to each of the well-defined characters. The story (HarperCollins, 2012) is told alternating Jake and Lily's point of view and these two strong voice actors, Zac Fletcher and Nancy O'Connor, are well cast. Horror novel-loving Lily tends toward colorful analogies (the mausoleum was "as black as a coal bin at midnight" and old maps are "cooler than Frankenstein's pink pajamas") while Jake's ordered mind leads to his detail-oriented narration. Jake's obsessive compulsive tendencies are handled with care. Some of the sound effects can be cheezy, such as the lightning bolt the night Little Dumpling arrives, but they work well with Coville's purposefully campy B-movie writing style. This is a worthy addition to any youth services library. Give this to readers who don't like their horror too scary.—Susan Stumbaugh, Naperville Public Library, IL
Publishers Weekly
Sixth-grade best friends Jake and Lily (no relation to the headliners of Jerry Spinelli's recent Jake and Lily) narrate alternate chapters of this monster-filled adventure, chronicling their odyssey into a land they had mistakenly believed was a fictional creation of Jake's fantasy-writing grandfather. Sympathetic to each other's quirks—Jake's obsessive-compulsive tapping and "problem with bridges," Lily's love of macabre songs ("Cannibal Bunnies Go to the Fair")—they find refuge reading in their cemetery mausoleum hangout. When a baby appears on Jake's doorstep, and later transforms into a monster, the children, Lily's Grampa Gnarly, and others are forced to engage larger mysteries. Together they embark on a full-throttle race to save both the baby and the "Woven Worlds" from the Unravelers, who wish to sever ties between Humana and Always October, a place created from human imagination to "manifest and hold the fears that come with being alive." Coville (the My Teacher Is an Alien books) offers an entertaining, spine-tingling rollick as the group uncovers long-hidden secrets and discovers unknown strengths. Ages 8–12. (Sept.)
The Bulletin for the Center for Children's Books
“Highly entertaining.” (Recommended)
Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
"Highly entertaining." (Recommended)
Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books
“Highly entertaining.” (Recommended)
Children's Literature - Natalie Gurr
Little brothers can be annoying, but Jake's brother is literally a monster. Little Dumpling, affectionately known as LD, sprouts thick fur, pointy ears and sharp fangs at the full moon. Jake and his quirky friend Lily are not the only ones that know about LD; other monsters are after him for their own nefarious purposes. LD's fate could either save or destroy the world. Jake and Lily follow the monsters to a land known as Always October, a world populated by terrifying, and sometimes ridiculous, creatures. Jake will do anything to save LD and Lily is a loyal friend and partner. Together they face danger and heartbreak to escape Always October and save the world. Coville is a master storyteller. He seamlessly weaves fantasy into reality with just the right amount of scariness to create a spooky story without it being terrifying. Lily and Jake alternate the storytelling with two unique voices. They are realistic sixth-graders that middle school students will easily relate to. There are plenty of humorous moments balanced against the serious moments. Readers, across genres, would find something enjoyable. This novel would be an appropriate read aloud for grades second through sixth. Reviewer: Natalie Gurr
School Library Journal
Gr 4–7—Sixth-grader Jacob Doolittle and his best friend, Lily, are torn between fascination and terror in this comedic horror tale. When Jacob discovers a baby on his doorstep, his mother decides to keep it-even when the newborn sprouts pointy ears, bushy fur, and fangs. Adjusting to the new life of monster-sitting, Jacob and Lily next discover a secret room in the attic that holds the clues to the earlier disappearance of Jacob's father and grandfather. The boy's grandfather, Arthur Doolittle, once wrote a book called A World of Midnight in which he first described the monster world known as "Always October." One night when a magical portal appears in Jacob's room, he and his baby monster, Little Dumpling, must flee from the evil monster Mazrak and his herd of Unravelers. Entering the world of Always October, Jacob and his friends encounter a giant spider called Octavia, the Tunnel of Tears, Forest of the Lost, Black Bridge of Doom, and the Library of Nightmares, while protecting LD. Upon his shoulders rests the fate of Always October and Humana. The story alternates between Jacob's and Lily's points of view. With the right combination of horror and humor, this book will hold readers in its grip and have them asking for more. Fans of Coville's "Magic Shop" series (Harcourt) will find this new story cooler than a goblin's heinie!—Krista Welz, The North Bergen Public Library, NJ
Kirkus Reviews
From the very first line ("We've only got two weeks before Jake has to turn into a monster for the first time") to the riveting ending, this fantasy will have readers turning pages recklessly. Jake, son and grandson of men who disappeared without explanation, becomes enmeshed in the family mysteries when his (informally) adopted baby brother turns into a charming, fuzzy green monster. Jake and his sidekick "Weird Lily" Cawker leave our Earth and land in the world of Always October, where it is ever autumn, the landscape holds many dangers, and monsters reign over all. Their quest: Save both Earth and Almost October from a deranged monster. Documented in alternate chapters by Lily and Jake--which allows each one to end in a cliffhanger--the journey is exciting and moves along at a fine pace. Bursting with enticing characters and building tension, this book has everything a reader could want--breathtaking suspense, monstrously entertaining worldbuilding and lots of "punny" and burp-and-fart humor. Surprises abound: Most threads are wrapped up, but there is room left for other books with these diverting characters. (Fantasy. 9-12)

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Product Details

Full Cast Audio
Publication date:
Age Range:
9 - 12 Years

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