Book Review – Homerooms & Hall Passes

Homerooms & Hall Passes
by Tom O’Donnell
(Balzer + Bray, 2019)

At a Glance

Category/Genre(s):

Middle grade fantasy

Age Range:

8-12

Plot Summary:

“In the mystical realm of Bríandalör, every day the brave and the bold delve into hidden temples or forgotten dungeons, battling vile monsters and evil wizards to loot their treasure hoards for sweet, sweet magic items.

But in their free time, our heroes—Thromdurr the mighty barbarian, Devis the shifty thief, Vela the noble paladin, Sorrowshade the Gloom Elf assassin, and Albiorix the (good!) wizard—need to relax and unwind.

That’s why they meet up once a week to play Homerooms & Hall Passes: a role-playing game where they assume the characters of average American eighth graders.

But when the five young adventurers are magically transported into their H&H game by an ancient curse, they must band together to survive their toughest challenge yet: middle school.

Who knew that battling ogres would be easier than passing algebra or navigating the cafeteria social scene? They must use what they’ve learned from playing Homerooms & Hall Passes to figure out how to save their game world (which might actually be real…)” (source).

Strengths:

  • Amazing premise
  • Laugh out loud funny
  • D&D anyone??
  • Fast paced

Full Review

Oh my goodness is this an amazing book! Let me start off by saying that I am a huge Dungeons & Dragons fan. I started playing it when I was around 10 so I’ve got 25 years or so under by belt. And with shows like Stranger Things, D&D has definitely come into mainstream popularity. (yay!)

I think that the author did a fantastic job of making D&D an intergral part of the story without making it necessary for the reader to have played the game before. It is rooted in fantasy so I feel like a reader would not need prior D&D knowledge to enjoy this book.

First and foremost I enjoyed this book for the unique twist of a common fantasy type–the portal fantasy. But instead of kids getting pulled into a D&D world filled with orcs and elves, it is the fantasy D&D characters pulled into a real-world middle school. It was just so much fun and I think that the author pulled it off with flying colors.

I also enjoyed how fun the characters were. They truly felt like they were D&D characters pulled right off the page. I loved Thromdurr the barbarian, who was big and strong, but whose big task was to tackle middle school math. And Sorrowshade, the gloom elf assassin and how she was able to blend right in with all the awkwardness of middle school.

The book was action packed. The pace moved quickly and was full of humor. I found myself laughing out loud on multiple occasions. I am very much looking forward to the sequel, which comes out this October, 2020.

Final Verdict

If you are a fan of D&D, or just fantasy in general, I would definitely recommend Homerooms & Hall Passes.


Shop the book above and support me and local Indies:

Homerooms and Hall Passes by Tom O’Donnell

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