Middle School (includes implied swear words)
Steven “Slim” Pickings is on the edge of a breakdown. But then, it always feels like Slim is teetering on the edge of something. The difference this time is that something’s caused Slim’s worries to come alive!He’s set loose a bunch of annoying, pesky, outrageously contagious creatures—and they’re infecting everyone they meet and massing to take over the town!
Slim’s problems began when he and his sister, Lucy, visited their dad’s work and Slim was hit in in the face with an experimental medicine, a previously not-yet-human-tested anti-anxiety spray called Personal Vexation Zoners, PVZ. No one knew the side effects before, but certainly none of the experts imagined that the spray would cause anyone infected to literally sneeze out their biggest peeves.
Now Slim and the rest of the town are trailed by the things that annoy them most. Noisy Peeve, Lazy Peeve, Asking Peeve—they all stick with Slim at all times and left untreated, they’re quickly getting worse and way, way more destructive.To stop them, Slim will have to do more than just team up with his family and friends—he’ll have to face his fears, literally.
If you don’t suffer from high anxiety and frequent panic attacks, read this book and you’ll get a spot-on look into the mind of someone who does. The author of this story lives with anxiety and depression, so everything in this story comes from a reliable source. As someone who suffers from overwhelming feeling of anxiousness on a regular basis, I can confirm that everything Slim talks about and feels is realistic and relatable.
The story summary left out one important thing: Only the people who have been infected by peeves can see the peeves. Everyone who hasn’t been infected just see them reacting over nothing. Being infected by peeves mirrors what it’s like to have high anxiety; unless you have it, you don’t truly understand what it’s like.
The Peeves sort of reminded me of the Smurfs or the Dwarfs from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, like how each one has a different personality and trait. It was interesting how many different things can get on someone’s nerves. Some of my peeves would include: Interrupting, Indecision, Crowding, Burping, Noisy, Deadline, and Look at That.
What I liked most about this story is that everyone finally gets an understanding of what Slim goes through every day. To quote Slim it’s “a relentless barrage of clashing, crashing, irrational feelings, irritation, and anxieties that never leave me alone.” Yep. Pretty much sums it up.
I agree with Ernest Cline’s endorsement quote on the front cover says: “Gremlins meets Inside Out in this sneaky parable about courage and self-control. Fun, funny, and surprisingly heartfelt.”This story basically is Gremlins meets Inside Out. So much so that the subject of the movie Gremlinsis brought up multiple times throughout the story.
This is one of the few stories I’ve read where the parents are involved in the adventure, but since Slim’s parents have recently divorced, they tended to get a little sidetracked from the life or death situation and would argue and make snide comments about the other.
Ironically, writing this review caused me a great deal of anxiety. I don’t think I’m capable of getting the message of this story across any better than the story itself. Besides if I try to write anymore I’ll just keep making it all about me and my anxiety issues.
The story concludes with a Goosebumps-like ending that hints at a sequel.
I leave you with this rewrite of a quote said by Slim. I can’t share the real quote because it doesn’t make sense out of context.
“I live with anxiety every day, but no one can see what I deal with, so no one gets what’s going on with me. And most people don’t acknowledge what they can’t see, let alone know what to do about it.”
This quote speaks volumes with me.
This weeks’ Weird but True about Stress
Stress can change what you smell like.