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The Smashed Man of Dread End

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A chilling middle grade horror novel with an unforgettable basement-dwelling monster, perfect for fans of R.L. Stine and Holly Black alike. Noe Wiley couldn’t be more excited to move. After the slumber party sleepwalking incident of last year, she’s ready to make some new friends. But Noe didn’t expect the sullen, strange girls who live on her new street. And she certainly d A chilling middle grade horror novel with an unforgettable basement-dwelling monster, perfect for fans of R.L. Stine and Holly Black alike. Noe Wiley couldn’t be more excited to move. After the slumber party sleepwalking incident of last year, she’s ready to make some new friends. But Noe didn’t expect the sullen, strange girls who live on her new street. And she certainly didn’t expect the strange warning they give her—to stay out of the basement, no matter what. Noe’s not going to let these girls boss her around. She’ll go in her own basement whenever she wants. So she does. And there he is. And now there’s no going back.


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A chilling middle grade horror novel with an unforgettable basement-dwelling monster, perfect for fans of R.L. Stine and Holly Black alike. Noe Wiley couldn’t be more excited to move. After the slumber party sleepwalking incident of last year, she’s ready to make some new friends. But Noe didn’t expect the sullen, strange girls who live on her new street. And she certainly d A chilling middle grade horror novel with an unforgettable basement-dwelling monster, perfect for fans of R.L. Stine and Holly Black alike. Noe Wiley couldn’t be more excited to move. After the slumber party sleepwalking incident of last year, she’s ready to make some new friends. But Noe didn’t expect the sullen, strange girls who live on her new street. And she certainly didn’t expect the strange warning they give her—to stay out of the basement, no matter what. Noe’s not going to let these girls boss her around. She’ll go in her own basement whenever she wants. So she does. And there he is. And now there’s no going back.

30 review for The Smashed Man of Dread End

  1. 5 out of 5

    Rachel (TheShadesofOrange)

    4.0 Stars Finally, a horror novel with a teenager who is NOT moody and emo because her family moved to a new place!  I have really come to appreciate middle grade horror in this last year so I was incredibly excited for the opportunity to read this latest one.  Written by JW Ocker, who wrote one of my all time favourite adult horror novels, I went into the book with high expectations. Long story short, it did not disappoint!  This story blended together all the elements that make these children hor 4.0 Stars Finally, a horror novel with a teenager who is NOT moody and emo because her family moved to a new place!  I have really come to appreciate middle grade horror in this last year so I was incredibly excited for the opportunity to read this latest one.  Written by JW Ocker, who wrote one of my all time favourite adult horror novels, I went into the book with high expectations. Long story short, it did not disappoint!  This story blended together all the elements that make these children horror stories great. It has a strong protagonist, great family dynamics, a sunny group of friends, and a spooky setup which lead to a lot of entertaining moments.  While this book is targeted at a younger audience, I can completely attest that the story has all ages appeal. I was still able to fully enjoy the narrative in my thirties. The humor in the novel was on point, including a lot of jokes that would be more funny to adult readers and probably go over the heads of younger children.  Overall, I really enjoyed this one and would recommend this novel to kids as well as adults open to reading middle grade horror. It was a lot of fun! Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the publisher.

  2. 5 out of 5

    J.W. Ocker

    Author here. The Smashed Man of Dread End is for kids who want a scare but not a ghost story. For kids who believe their neighborhood can contain an entire universe. For kids who know that, in the end, the adults can’t help them. And for adults who want to share a scare with their kids.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Belles Middle Grade Library

    Wow what a CREEPY good time! Noe Wiley couldn’t be more excited to move. After the slumber party sleepwalking incident of last year, she’s ready to make some new friends. But Noe didn’t expect the sullen, strange girls who live on her new street. And she certainly didn’t expect the strange warning they give her—to stay out of the basement, no matter what. Noe’s not going to let these girls boss her around. She’ll go in her own basement whenever she wants. So she does. And there he is. And now th Wow what a CREEPY good time! Noe Wiley couldn’t be more excited to move. After the slumber party sleepwalking incident of last year, she’s ready to make some new friends. But Noe didn’t expect the sullen, strange girls who live on her new street. And she certainly didn’t expect the strange warning they give her—to stay out of the basement, no matter what. Noe’s not going to let these girls boss her around. She’ll go in her own basement whenever she wants. So she does. And there he is. And now there’s no going back. It’s not often I get really scared by a MG book-but this 1 definitely did the job. lol The whole story behind this neighborhood, the white house on the hill, & the smashed man himself were all so interesting. Such an engrossing, fast-paced read. Great characters too. Noe is incredible, & it was the 1st time I’ve read from a character who suffered from sleepwalking-which was also VERY interesting….& definitely NOT the best thing to do in THIS book that’s for sure lol. The other girls in the neighborhood were also amazing. Fern was quite a character too. I found myself actually enjoying her lol. The smashed man was terrifying. Perfectly written with vivid details that actually scared me because I could picture him so well. I also loved everything involved with the girls trying to get rid of him, & the whole “every monster has rules” thing-which is true if you thing about it. Was like a puzzle of sorts, & I loved the whole mystery of it. If you’re looking for a good creepy book that’s sure to spook you & give you goosebumps-here ya go! Lol Highly recommend. BEAUTIFUL cover by Jeannette Arroyo too!💜

  4. 5 out of 5

    Jordaline Vulva

    3.5 🌟

  5. 4 out of 5

    Mikayla JoAnn

    Let me tell you, I have not had a middle school book send chills up my spine like this one did since the Goosebumps series. It was haunting and mysterious that had my heart pounding and grabbed me by the edge of my seat. I would definitely pick it up if your looking for a good scare during spooky season! 🎃🎃

  6. 4 out of 5

    Ms. Yingling

    E ARC provided by Edelweiss Plus Noe (short for Noelle) is okay with her family moving. It's within the same town, but after a sleep walking incident that estranged her from her best friend, she's glad to get a fresh start. Her new neighborhood is situated in a dead end on a wooded ravine, but close to her new school. While unpacking with her parents and younger sister Nore (Lenore), she meets three girls from the neighborhood. Radiah, Crystal, and young Ruthy warn her not to go into the house's E ARC provided by Edelweiss Plus Noe (short for Noelle) is okay with her family moving. It's within the same town, but after a sleep walking incident that estranged her from her best friend, she's glad to get a fresh start. Her new neighborhood is situated in a dead end on a wooded ravine, but close to her new school. While unpacking with her parents and younger sister Nore (Lenore), she meets three girls from the neighborhood. Radiah, Crystal, and young Ruthy warn her not to go into the house's basement after dark-- so of course she does. There, she sees a shadowy figure trying to escape from a crack in the cement. She's scared, but also a bit confused about whether or not this is just part of the night terrors she has fought for years. She's also concerned because Nore seems to have started sleep walking as well. Noe hunts down the girls, and finds out that they are not only scared, but angry that Noe is in the house where Erica had lived. Erica had a run in with the figure, whom they call the Smashed Man, and is now in a coma, her family having moved to Texas. The adults won't believe that anything is wrong, and their eyes glow violet and the seem hypnotized when the Smashed Man is around. Radiah has taken to spending most of her time in the attic of her house, Crystal is home schooled in her basement, so lives in fear, and Ruthy is young enough that she isn't quite sure about what is going on, but Radiah is trying to protect her. The group decide to try to figure out what is going on and to dispatch the Smashed Man, and start by investigating a veiled house in the neighborhood, where they meet Fern. She's visiting from Alabama as part of a group called the Neighbors, who are working against the forces of evil. From her, they learn a lot about different realities and "places in between", but also gain some helpful knowledge about painting sigils on their houses with darkwash, and about tactics that might work to rid themselves of this scary menace. As the neighborhood bonfire approaches, it becomes more important to deal with this creature before he gains even more power, but will the girls be able to pool their resources to do this? Strengths: Remember the "killer clowns" that were on the loose a few years ago? A lot of my students were actually concerned and afraid. The Smashed Man has that sort of feel. Unlikely, absolutely, but Erica is in a coma still, so it's nothing to fool around with. Working in persistent sleepwalking and night terrors is a brilliant move,and having the younger sister be vulnerable adds some touching (and frightening!) moments. Sure, there's a #MGLit trope about moving and having your house be haunted, but this kicks it up a notch. Definitely purchasing. Weaknesses: The cover could be a lot scarier (the Smashed Man coming out of a basement crack), and I'm not sure how effective Fern's presence was. I either wanted more of her or less of her. What I really think: It is so great to finally see more horror books for middle grade readers. Currie's Scritch Scratch, Joel Sutherland, Lindsay Duga, and K.R. Alexander titles (as well as others) have really helped me expand offerings to students who want just the right amount of terror in their reading.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Richard K. Wilson

    Are you afraid of your dark basement? Well, you will be after confronting and meeting the 'Smashed Mad' in J.W. Ockers teen; middle grade horror book! Well, not as much horror as I thought there would be. Here is my video review here on my Youtube channel; "Nightmares, Tears, Anyone?" https://youtu.be/bY28zzunibI After reading this author's 'Twelve Nights at Rotter House' I was really expecting more of a a chilling and scary book; even though I knew it was a middle grade read, this was really kind Are you afraid of your dark basement? Well, you will be after confronting and meeting the 'Smashed Mad' in J.W. Ockers teen; middle grade horror book! Well, not as much horror as I thought there would be. Here is my video review here on my Youtube channel; "Nightmares, Tears, Anyone?" https://youtu.be/bY28zzunibI After reading this author's 'Twelve Nights at Rotter House' I was really expecting more of a a chilling and scary book; even though I knew it was a middle grade read, this was really kind of disappointing in the fact that the reveal and explanation of what and who the 'Smashed Man' is was not well done. Could have been close to a four star but this barely made it to 3 for me. There were some very dark and creepy scenes, but they were just really cut quickly before the jump scare came! Damn. Can't recommend it. Barely 🧟‍♂️🧟‍♂️🧟‍♂️

  8. 4 out of 5

    Nicole

    That was legitimately creepy for a middle grade story.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Hayden Gilbert

    Okay, I’m going to sound like a bit sourpus and that may turn some potential readers away. So right up front, I want to get the obvious out of the way: I am not the intended audience for this book. I’m not the biggest fan of YA fiction in general. But I do love monsters and was interested in seeing what kind of unique creature Ocker cooked up here. When I saw the title “Smashed Man” and read that he described the book as being about an entire neighborhood that’s haunted by an all new kind of mons Okay, I’m going to sound like a bit sourpus and that may turn some potential readers away. So right up front, I want to get the obvious out of the way: I am not the intended audience for this book. I’m not the biggest fan of YA fiction in general. But I do love monsters and was interested in seeing what kind of unique creature Ocker cooked up here. When I saw the title “Smashed Man” and read that he described the book as being about an entire neighborhood that’s haunted by an all new kind of monster, I was very intrigued. Unfortunately, I think I would’ve preferred the more straightforward thing that comes to your brain when you hear “The Smashed Man”. Rather than the ghost of some dude who walked under an anvil or some strange physical predator that seeks shelter in small spaces, the entity here is an inter-dimensional 2D…guy? And since this is YA, it’s preoccupied with rules. Oh boy, are there rules. And that’s fun as heck when you’re a kid. Figuring out new parameters in which to fight a monster is half the enjoyment from monster stories when you’re young. But as an adult I hate rules in horror, so I really felt like the Grinch, yelling about All the rules, rules, rules, rules! And, as always, YA fiction just has this really annoying convention of having to throw out really stupid names for everything: Darkwash, cell knowledge, stuck places, Elberexes, Nonatukes, Amberonks. All of the complaints that came before, completely disregard them if this is your genre. I fully admit I’m being too hard on something that was written for 8-12 year olds. However, something I feel is a legitimate criticism is that there were a few missed opportunities to use all these rules to the books advantage: adults can’t see the Smashed Man, and instead their eyes glow purple. So I was really looking forward to a moment in the climax where are teens were using the glowing eyes of adults as a signal to know the smashed man was closing in when they couldn’t see him. There are also two characters that are so traumatized by the ever-present threat of the SM that they draw him and make paper cut outs of him obsessively. I was absolutely positive that there would be a fakeout where Noe thought she was looking at a drawing or a cutout, and then it moved on its own to suddenly reveal that it was in fact our 2D monster. But you know, despite my own grumpiness, the characters are well drawn. I legitimately liked the relationship between the two sisters and their parents, and the other neighborhood girls eventually came into their own as well. I suspect any kids 7-13 would really get a kick out of this, so while this review was mostly dumping on this thing, I have to give it a recommend to the people it was really written for.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Remlee

    My 8-year-old and I both loved this book!! Devoured it, even. We don't usually love the same books, so this one's special. We originally won an early copy in the drawing from the author, but my daughter quickly protected it as her own, so I had to wait until the release date to read my copy. She finished the first half in one sitting, but then she started reading slowly to ration it so that it never ends... She now wants to explore every basement in every house she enters. :-) It's just scary eno My 8-year-old and I both loved this book!! Devoured it, even. We don't usually love the same books, so this one's special. We originally won an early copy in the drawing from the author, but my daughter quickly protected it as her own, so I had to wait until the release date to read my copy. She finished the first half in one sitting, but then she started reading slowly to ration it so that it never ends... She now wants to explore every basement in every house she enters. :-) It's just scary enough for her, but still feels super spooky to me. As an old-school horror movie fanatic, I loved the whole "Monsters have rules" concept. I'm a huge fan of Ocker, in all genres that he writes, and this one didn't disappoint. I don't usually read horror books marketed at middle-grades, but gave it a shot because I figured that if anyone could do it well, it's him. The fact that the whole thing takes place in this spooky little cul-de-sac in the summer makes it great. The way it's crafted makes you feel how trapped the the characters are, and it gives off kind of a Coraline vibe. (No spoilers, but maybe the eyes feed into that?) Loved the character development and how Ocker vividly paints each character through perfect little descriptive details. It's also lovely to read a book with strong female characters working together to solve a problem. Crossing fingers that there will be a sequel!

  11. 5 out of 5

    jess (bibliophilicjester)

    Ooooooo that ending though!! 😳🙌🏻 This was such a fun ride! It's weird how there's some imagery in here that's comforting to me or even pretty, but it still manages to be creepy. I'm an adult but I'm a bit of a wimp so I like creepy middle grade! There are so many tiny details that make this neighborhood seem like a real place with real people. I'm lucky in that I DO see pictures in my head when I read and ugh did I see Noe's creepy basement 😅 there's also a really wonderful line I won't spoil ab Ooooooo that ending though!! 😳🙌🏻 This was such a fun ride! It's weird how there's some imagery in here that's comforting to me or even pretty, but it still manages to be creepy. I'm an adult but I'm a bit of a wimp so I like creepy middle grade! There are so many tiny details that make this neighborhood seem like a real place with real people. I'm lucky in that I DO see pictures in my head when I read and ugh did I see Noe's creepy basement 😅 there's also a really wonderful line I won't spoil about different vs wrong and I took a screenshot bc I loved it. Also, I'm not sure of it's bc I had the ebook from the library, but the author photo at the back!! Serious attention to detail. Perfect. Fern was my favorite part of this book because grumpy old people are the contemporary version of the grizzled old warrior I always love in fantasy. And Len!! I think she's 3? But the fact that she has stuffed animals of all these "weird" and obscure animals made me love her instantly. I'm glad I forgot I'd borrowed this from the library (it was due back/to be taken away at noon tomorrow 😅) because it made me read almost all of it today, with some Halloween ambiance on in the background. As fast as possible is my preferred way to read this sort of book bc what is going on?! I need to know! Anyway. My reviews are useless. Fern and black holo paint. That is all.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Cindy :: leavemetomybooks ::

    Wowza. This book was scary AF. I am a grown-ass lady who has read and watched a zillion horror things, and I was freaked out by this story. If books like this had existed when I was 11 (SO long ago), I would have been so happy (and could have maybe held off on the Stephen King for a bit). There is something so alarming about the Smashed Man - the flatness? the oozing from the crack in the basement wall? the fact that no adults can see him? - aaagh. So good - he’s like a malevolent and terrifying Wowza. This book was scary AF. I am a grown-ass lady who has read and watched a zillion horror things, and I was freaked out by this story. If books like this had existed when I was 11 (SO long ago), I would have been so happy (and could have maybe held off on the Stephen King for a bit). There is something so alarming about the Smashed Man - the flatness? the oozing from the crack in the basement wall? the fact that no adults can see him? - aaagh. So good - he’s like a malevolent and terrifying version of Flat Stanley. *shudder* The kid characters were realistic and kind of jerky like kids can be - loved that they weren’t all sweetness and light. I would hesitate to recommend this to the older elementary kids at the school where I work, but I am all over this for middle school kids who like the scary stuff. I haven’t read any of J.W. Ocker’s other books, but that will be remedied ASAP. Release date: 8/17/21 * THANK YOU to NetGalley and HarperCollins Children’s Books for the eARC for review.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Elle

    The Smashed Man of Dread End was a unique middle grade horror novel. The atmosphere was creepy and the main character acted in a manner that was very believable. The premise involves a creepy flat being that comes out of cracks in basement walls, but only children can see it. Adults are blind to the monster. This being is pretty terrifying in that it can actually be harmful to children if it fully escapes the crack and if it touches the child. The neighborhood children get together to try to fig The Smashed Man of Dread End was a unique middle grade horror novel. The atmosphere was creepy and the main character acted in a manner that was very believable. The premise involves a creepy flat being that comes out of cracks in basement walls, but only children can see it. Adults are blind to the monster. This being is pretty terrifying in that it can actually be harmful to children if it fully escapes the crack and if it touches the child. The neighborhood children get together to try to figure out how to keep everyone safe, but how can they be safe when they don’t know what the rules are? Overall, this book was fun. I feel that middle grade students will enjoy reading this . . . even reluctant readers. The creature was genuinely creepy and the premise was different than any other book like this. There were also tidbits of information throughout the book concerning science. I highly recommend this to anyone who has a middle grade aged reader who enjoys a good scary story. It reminded me of reading RL Stine when I was younger.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Grace

    The Smashed Man of Dread End by J.W. Ocker ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5 • • • The very first day that Noe moves into her new house, she is met by the neighborhood kids…who say nothing to her other than an ominous warning about her basement…will she and her little sister be safe? What is going on in her house? • • This is an excellent upper junior/ middle grade horror novel 💖 Genuinely spooky, creepy monsters, cosmic horrors, brave kids, great setting. I loved it! I absolutely would recommend this for 4th-6th grade

  15. 4 out of 5

    April

    The Smashed Man was a unique villain and I enjoyed the thrills and surprises in this book. I would recommend it for older middle-schoolers and younger teens, as it does have some legitimately scary scenes and some sci-fi concepts that might be hard for younger kids to follow. However as an adult reader who loves middle-grade books this was an enjoyable read! *Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for the eARC*

  16. 4 out of 5

    Diana

    *Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for this ARC.* This was great! A solid middle grade horror story that I would've eaten up as a kid, alongside the R. L. Stine Goosebumps series. I think this is a great book for kids in the 4th-8th grade range, and really satisfies that need for the scary and macabre. Also, I think the cover of the book is really wonderful too - definitely a great, eye-catching illustration. *Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for this ARC.* This was great! A solid middle grade horror story that I would've eaten up as a kid, alongside the R. L. Stine Goosebumps series. I think this is a great book for kids in the 4th-8th grade range, and really satisfies that need for the scary and macabre. Also, I think the cover of the book is really wonderful too - definitely a great, eye-catching illustration.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Paul Sheckarski

    The novel hangs almost entirely on the strength of a single image: the initial emergence of the Smashed Man from the crack in the basement. The rest of the book is fine, but that first image? Wow. That first shock sustained through the rest of the read. Genuinely thrilling. I can't wait to recommend this. The novel hangs almost entirely on the strength of a single image: the initial emergence of the Smashed Man from the crack in the basement. The rest of the book is fine, but that first image? Wow. That first shock sustained through the rest of the read. Genuinely thrilling. I can't wait to recommend this.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Kelle Lloyd

    Smashing! I so enjoyed this latest offering from one of my favorite authors! A unique monster, a touch of magic and a smattering of sci-fi, but ultimately a story about sisters and the bonds of friendship overcoming all. A fun and engaging read for middle graders and adults alike.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Alandrea

    I was pleasantly surprised by this book. It is for middle school aged children, but I am an adult. The story is great for people of all ages. What I liked the most about this book was the pace at which the story was told. It pulls you in during the first chapter, instead of dragging on and on before getting to the plot. This was a wonderful book and I would be delighted to read more books from this author!

  20. 5 out of 5

    Becca_bookworm

    The book dragged a bit for me it could have been shorter to keep the suspenseful parts going. It had the book Darkdeep vibes. If there is a sequel I will not pick it up. The positive for me with this book was the descriptions pf the Smashed Man it gave me shivers. I also loved the resilience of our main character Noe. As well the girls supporting and lifting one another up.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Alise

    I loved this read! Middle grade horror with genuine creepiness. The descriptions of the smashed man had such good imagery. I usualy donate my middle grade reads after finishing but this one is staying on my shelf!

  22. 4 out of 5

    Mary Jo

    This was a fun, suspenseful read. It had friendship, horror, and mystery all wrapped up. At times I was scared to turn the page. I wish there were some light hearted moments. A little comic relief would have been nice. All in all, this story kept me intrigued till the end.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Jenelle Jones

    This was an excellent, delightful read. Imagine, a monster lives in your basement and it’s up to you and your friends to get rid of him? I enjoyed the premise and I think this would be perfect for a family read.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Krista

    I found this to be a very creepy book. As a grown woman I never truly shook off my fear of basements so this book took me on a scary ride. I enjoyed the uniqueness of the characters and the author's way of conveying how alone the girls were even though surrounded by adults I found this to be a very creepy book. As a grown woman I never truly shook off my fear of basements so this book took me on a scary ride. I enjoyed the uniqueness of the characters and the author's way of conveying how alone the girls were even though surrounded by adults

  25. 4 out of 5

    Rebecca Rossi

    This is the @youllreadtoobookclub pick for the month and I thoroughly enjoyed it! For a middle grade, it's quite scary. I loved the original concept and quirkiness to the story. Lots of fun! This is the @youllreadtoobookclub pick for the month and I thoroughly enjoyed it! For a middle grade, it's quite scary. I loved the original concept and quirkiness to the story. Lots of fun!

  26. 5 out of 5

    Mr. Salerno

    Reviewed from an ARC from @NetGalley. There are some legit scares in this story. The Smashed Man is a haunting figure and constant suspense keeps the reader on edge.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Jenifer Clemins

    Monster story was great not sure I loved the plot 🤔

  28. 4 out of 5

    Alex

    creepy, fun and new but it slowed down often. I think it should have been a bit shorter.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Bre

    Such a spooky and wholesome book. I could see myself reading this every October.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Audrey

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