Scooby-Doo meets H.P. Lovecraft. With an absolutely fantastic cover.
If you want to read someone singing praises of this story it's not hard to find (NPR: In 'Meddling Kids,' The Scooby Gang Grows Up — Hard, USA Today: 'Scooby-Doo' fans will dig Cantero's 'Meddling Kids').
My reactions are a bit muddled, and probably more in line with the Kirkus review.
Is the book fun? Undoubtedly. Familiar enough to evoke Scooby-Doo, but different enough to skirt violation of intellectual property. Even better, Cantero has injected some actual diversity and complexity to the characters. In true Scooby-Doo fashion, even as they encounter horrors from the gates beyond, the story holds fast as an adventure rather than a horror or thriller.
My copy was a pre-publication galley, so I'm not sure how much has changed in the final publication, but as I still lack access to the final piece, I have to go forward with the above caveat. Cantero has chosen to drop in and out of narrative voice and style, with parts of the book written as a script instead of as a novel. Other parts the narrative includes run on sentences masquerading as paragraphs that make my eyes cross. I truly hope those parts received excessive editorial attention.
The whole story has a fun, tongue-in-cheek aspect in regards to action movies, particularly those it appears to be a script for. It definitely gives some fun moments.
My biggest response to this novel is "how can I turn this into a Call of C'thulhu scenario?" This would be loads of fun to play as a game, and only require minimal juggling to make it work (the biggest issue is probably how to balance attention to players with Peter's ghost, and possibly to consider Nate "mythos hardened" against certain things).
So, overall, the book was fun, but when I sit back it lacks something. Elements of fun, but I felt I was promised something with more substance and creeping horror.
I still absolutely adore the cover though.
Advanced Reader Copy courtesy of Doubleday; differences may exist between uncorrected galley text and the final edition.