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The Daredevils by Rob Buyea 

Even though THE DAREDEVILS is not a fantasy, it is still a magical story of summer and growing up. 

The summer between sixth and seventh grades was a critical one for the twins, Loretta and Waylon. Seventh grade meant moving from elementary to middle school, and the twins who had always been together in classes would most certainly be separated among the larger crowd of students. 

Loretta was worried. She had always been Waylon’s protector. How would he make it at the bigger school without her around to scare off trouble? (Of the two, Waylon was the smaller and enjoyed nature and science rather than sports, and he seemed to attract bullies like a magnet.) This summer, she was determined to toughen her brother up and prepare him to fight his own battles.

Waylon had plans for the summer as well. He knew Loretta felt it was her responsibility to keep him safe, and it wasn’t that he didn’t appreciate his twin’s concern, but he knew it was time for them to have separate lives. It was time for him to prove to Loretta he could take care of himself, help her learn to reel in her temper, and let go. 

Only a few days into their summer, Loretta and Waylon had already built a fort in the woods behind their home and met a new friend. Louie lived on the other side of the woods with his odd mother in an old house rumored to be haunted. While in the woods one afternoon, the three friends discover a hidden, old cigar box containing mementos from someone named “RON.” Inspired to complete a quest described in a message found in the box, they begin a challenging summer of fun, excitement, and self-discovery. 

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 TBR and Beyond Book Blog Tours.

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