From the very first page of this debut novel from David Elliot, readers are in for a quirky and mysterious ride. Ten-year-old Roscoe Wizzle lives in a pink house with his father, who works in a cymbal factory and whose his nerves are shot, and his mother, who has made a career out of being an orphan and who serves her family tuna casserole and mashed potatoes every single day. No wonder Roscoe is excited when a new burger joint called Gussy's opens up in town.
Soon Roscoe is eating at Gussy's every night while he and his best friend, Kinchy (who happens to be a genius), start to nose around a series of strange abductions in the area. But in the midst of their investigation they notice that something funny is happening to Roscoe: He's beginning to turn into a bug -- just like all the other abductees. Elliot uses a cast of eccentric, flawed, and oddball characters to tell an irresistibly appealing, and somewhat gross, story sure to appeal to preteens. (Amy Barkat)