I really enjoyed my first trip to Sticky Pines in The Valley of the Strange and was hooked from the outset. It’s a great fast-paced story, which I thoroughly enjoyed, and is perfectly pitched at the 9 - 12 year old bracket - I have been enthusiastically recommending it to my Year 5 and 6 pupils.
Although I hadn’t read the first two books in the series, the snippets of back story dropped in mean you can read this as a stand-alone but I think reading them in order would allow you to appreciate the story and characters fully. I’m now going back to start at the beginning…
Another brilliant episode in the series. Funny and weird sci-fi that moves at pace and has twist aplenty.
Weird, wacky, wonderful paranormal adventure that's driven by brilliant characters & wild imagination.
This is the third instalment in the awesome Sticky Pines series. I thought this was going to be the final book but I am SO happy it's not!
Essential for yr 6 libraries (imo)
It was great to return to Sticky Pines for another mystery. Again Lucy makes a huge discovery but the residents of Sticky Pines don’t believe her, even her best friend Milo. Alone in her investigations, Lucy must beat Mr Fisher to uncover what his big plans are for Sticky Pines and it’s famous sap.
This book had me turning pages frantically into the night.
It's back and it's brilliant! It's been a bit of a wait for the third instalment of the Sticky Pines saga but, for me, it's been totally worth the wait...
Following Lucy Sladan's discovery of the Pretenders, still no one in Sticky Pines is willing to believe her. But the ruthless Mr. Fisher knows she is on to something and poor Milo is torn between his father and his friend. As Mr. Fisher becomes obsessed with finding the source of the sticky-pine sap and destroying the Pretenders, Lucy must race to find the secrets first. But can she protect the Pretenders and will Milo agree to help?
This is cult sci-fi at its best; funny, creepy and full of teenagers trying to navigate life. It's perfect for fans of Jennifer Killick and, as it states on the Nosy Crow website:
"Perfect for the younger siblings of Stranger Things fans.'
I agree whole-heartedly with this statement. Dashe Roberts' writing, especially her characters' snappy banter, is as addictive as a tray of sugary doughtnuts and you just can't help bingeing on it. The plot is compelling and highly original, giving us a whole new take on alien life, and there's a whole 80's vibe running through the story, making it both comparable but very different to Stranger Things. If you're fans of both then you're in for a double treat!
In this instalment you can expect high stakes and lots of drama all infused with an hilarious touch. It's serious yet spoofy, it's dramatic but goofy. Milo has designs on Lucy, Gus is adorable and Lucy is on a mission! Yet beneath it all lies the familiar but hard-hitting message about the destructive and ignorant nature of the human race. Lucy's determined to be the difference, however, and despite her bulldozing behaviour equalling Mr. Fisher's at times, you have to admire her spunky, out-spoken, go-getting attitude - at least she's on the right side... or is she? Milo's certainly not sure and he's about to get caught in the crossfire!
So could there be even better news than the third book being available to buy from 1st September? Yes, there can! Because, despite us being used things coming in threes, it appears that Sticky Pines is going to go beyond being a trilogy, meaning there's more to come. And you just know it's going to be GOOD!
A huge thank you to NetGalley and Nosy Crow for allowing me a review copy. The Valley of the Strange is released this Thursday 1st September 2022.
Things seem to have quieten down in Sticky Pines after the destruction of Mr Fisher's Nu Co facilities and the disappearance of the shapeshifters that Lucy Sladan knows as the Pretenders..
But could the Pretenders still be nearby? Mr Fisher would certainly like to know. Mr Fisher has one wish only, getting rid of the Pretenders once and for all and being able to exploit the Nucralose - a Sticky Pines resource that nourrishes the valley - to his greatest profit.
Lucy also wants to find the Pretenders, for different reasons. As ever, she's curious about different lives, were they supernatural, mythical or alien. She wants to know and she wants to show everyone that there is more to discover about the world than what the humans have made of it.
But, as Mr Fisher pushes his employee and Lucy's own father - Silas Sladan - to dig deeper and deeper into the Earth for Nucralose, Silas seems to go through curious effects of a gas released during their explorations. Suddenly he wants to abandon his life in Sticky Pines, move the family to California and live for his music. And his fellow Nu Co employees and band members feel the same. Stranger still they share each others very thoughts.
This, and the help of a young Pretender, Gus, is going to be what saves Silas when one of the Nu Co tunnels collapses, trapping Silas and three others underground.
As Lucy learns more about the Pretenders, she becomes more determined to protect them but her friend Milo Fisher feels otherwise. Is he going to be on Lucy's side or his father's? And what secret new weapon does his father have against the Pretenders?
I thought that the last installment of the Sticky Pines series was as much excitement and adventure as we could get but The Valley of the Strange still manages to crank up the tension and suprises! Readers are taken on a wild ride as more and more is revealed about the strange shapeshifters who live in Sticky Pines, their place and role in the balance of natural forces, and what the human beings are doing to this balance. Although fictional, the events of the Sticky Pines series feel very timely and judiciously thought-provoking in view of the current climate crisis.
The only thing that didn't work - for me - in Sticky Pines: The Valley of the Strange is that the story didn't feel 100% like a standalone, complete story in its own right. But I think it's very personnal and I still thoughlly enjoyed that latest installment. And I will certainly be waiting for the next book in the series with bated breath as The Valley of Strange finsishes on the most tantalizing cliffhanger!!
How do I love the Sticky Pines series? Let me count the ways;
dynamic friendships with top notch dialogue
spooky, twists and turns - think Stranger Things vibe for MG readers.
The final in the trilogy sees Lucy and her friends continue their investigations in Sticky Pines, trying not to be distracted by her dad's sudden new found love for Rock n Roll. But. Not just listening to it... he wants to be IN a band, and move the whole entire family to pursue his dream. How... strange!?!
Meanwhile, Mr Fisher's determination to literally dig deeper and deeper in the ultimate search puts lives in danger. Real danger. It seems he'll stop at nothing to get what he wants.
With shapeshifters, mind control, a race against time and spine-tingling revelations Dashe Robert's Sticky Pines trilogy is ending on a mighty high. Get reading!