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Attack of the 50 Foot Wallflower

Review

Attack of the 50 Foot Wallflower

Written by Christian McKay Heidicker with illustrations by Sam Bosma

Run, run for your lives!...or at least run to your nearest library to check out ATTACK OF THE FIFTY FOOT WALLFLOWER. Then get comfy for the next three hours because Christian McKay Heidicker’s doozy of a novel is not a spectacle you will want to tear your eyes from. After CURE FOR THE COMMON UNIVERSE, which explores gaming culture, Heidicker certainly rises to the occasion with his wit and unique perspective to expose both the good, the bad and the ugly aspects of society.

"ATTACK OF THE FIFTY FOOT WALLFLOWER is everything good about horror movies and more....Heidicker’s humor, relatable characters and imaginative solutions...make this novel addicting."

Phoebe Lane is sick of running from Shivers, the monsters that randomly appear, pillage and terrify humans. Why can’t a girl live an average, teenage life with her mom in New York or Paris, with friends (and maybe even a boyfriend?) However, Phoebe is caught in a cycle of moving, getting by and then running every time her father’s eyes in the sky warn them of the next attack. Phoebe is ready to take matters into her own hands…then suddenly, her mother disappears and she is faced with a deluge of questions and some foreboding answers. With the potential end of the world threatening, she is recruited by an underground research lab as the only person who can stop the ultimate disaster. But Phoebe feels small, insignificant against the evil out there --- monsters and humans alike. Not only that, Phoebe is starting to notice one growing problem…

Reminiscent of the classic, ‘50s-era monster movies, this novel is rich with various “Easter eggs,” words and culture, combining to make a realistic and vibrant setting. However, ATTACK OF THE FIFTY FOOT WALLFLOWER is more than black-and-white, and the real monsters are not always hairy with sharp teeth. With the unique setting of a TV-world, Heidicker satirizes modern culture’s addiction to TV, and through this, explores how societal values can be found reflected in popular culture. When Phoebe’s world is turned upside down, she is forced to reinvent her outlook. She sees people for who they truly are; Heidicker uses this perspective to highlight not only the abuse of power by government, but the way that society manipulates itself to follow the status quo. Phoebe herself tries to fit into the mold that society prescribes for her, attempting to “become a wallflower” in order to fly under the radar. However, when Phoebe opens herself up to people who love her more than her size, she is taught by the example of others to remain true to who she is, despite her insecurities and haunted past.

Heidicker does not shy away from identifying inequalities that have existed for ages, and does so in an equally comical and serious tone. Given the unique plot, these inequalities affect more than just freedom and respect; the judgements that people make of others can determine who lives and who dies. Stereotypes are pit against each other, exposing how a person can never truly judge a person by their appearance. As the stakes rise, pressure on Phoebe peaks as she grapples to overcome realize that she is indeed more powerful than she thinks --- and she does not have to be the monster everyone believes her to be. Like the protagonist, many characters hold some form of power in this novel --- and therefore, responsibility. So many characters in the novel claim that they have no choice but to sacrifice for “the greater good.” With help from those who care about her and her own determination, Phoebe struggles to alternate the rules of the devilish power struggle she has unwillingly become a part of. Through Phoebe, the reader begins to question perceptions and misperceptions, power struggles and the inevitable discrimination that occurs when individuals and groups decide to sacrifice for “the greater good.”

ATTACK OF THE FIFTY FOOT WALLFLOWER is everything good about horror movies and more. The plot is quick-paced action, and Heidicker’s humor, relatable characters and imaginative solutions are enough to make this novel addicting. The raw emotion and overall analysis about societal, perceptions, human perseverance and inner beauty makes this novel a must-read.

Reviewed by Lauren C., Teen Board Member on September 19, 2018

Attack of the 50 Foot Wallflower
Written by Christian McKay Heidicker with illustrations by Sam Bosma