If you found yourself in another world with giant creatures and gooey facades, what would you do? Would you run and fight or hope that someone else would come along to explain why the world is a creepy mess? Whatever your choice is, just stay away from fast food, especially if it starts to move. Written by graphic novelist Nathan Hale (well known for his history series Nathan Hale’s Hazardous Tales), Apocalypse Taco takes readers on a ride through a hellish, dangerous world with strange creatures, determined teenagers, and one crazy graduate student, a.k.a. the worst roommate ever.

On the night before the school’s first performance of “Brigadoon”, high school student Sid takes middle school twins Axl and Ivan for a ride to grab some much-needed fast food for the production team. However, after receiving their taco meals, the gang discovers that there is something weird about their food. It starts to growl, grow teeth and legs, and attack everything and everyone in their way. Not only that, the sky looks strange, the ground is trying to swallow them, there are blob-like clones of everyone in town, and weird insect-like creatures attacking. If things could not get any weirder, they soon discover that this copy of their lives all started with a college student’s experiment going haywire, and he is nowhere in sight.

It seems that the premise for Apocalypse Taco was taken straight out of a science fiction/horror movie or television show. Does Stranger Things ring a bell? Or maybe John Carpenter’s The Thing? Even if children may not be aware of these references, the action panels and terrifying creatures will draw them into the book. The horrific images of everyone and everything create a creepy picture that will delight horror fanatics. Hale takes his readers on a really strange journey, as his characters are sent down a rabbit hole with honeycombed walls and mutated insects hoovering over stolen cars, making copies of everything. Even the flashbacks centered on the experiment become strange when people and objects replicate and blend together, visually swirling from one panel to the next. Similar to his other works, Hale chooses a grey scale color pallet with different shades of oranges placed in different areas. His young cast of characters add humor to the story, especially the twins, and the villain becomes stranger and stranger with each action he takes.

Upper elementary (grades 4th-6th) and middle school readers who enjoy a little horror with their science fiction will greatly enjoy Apocalypse Taco. Hale’s notable style and imaginative storyline provides them with a graphic novel that will not fail to entertain. And with its ending straight out of a H.P. Lovecraft story, they will be left wondering if there will be more to come.

Apocalypse Taco
By Nathan Hale
ISBN: 9781419733734
Abrams, 2019
Publisher Age Rating: 8-12 years

  • Gloria

    | She/Her Children's Librarian, Elmont Memorial Library

    Gloria is a full-time children’s librarian at the Elmont Memorial Library in Long Island, New York where she runs a monthly STEAM program, a graphic novel book club, and storytime for preschoolers. During her free time, she is found reading anything and everything from the classics, to poetry, to the newest best seller. Her other interests include writing, online games, exploring new areas in her home state, and spending time with friends, family, and colleagues. She has also written articles and reviews for the website Cosplay, Comics, and Geek Culture in Libraries and on her personal Goodreads page.

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