Reviewed by First Mate Keira

Title: Heck: Where the Bad Kids Go (The Nine Circles of Heck, Book 1)
Author: Dale E. Basye
Format: Hardback
Page Count: 304 pages
Grade Reading Level: Ages 9-12

Summary: The afterlife isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be. A bureaucratic error sends Milton down to Heck with his sister Marlo. There’s no way he deserves to be here – just look at his file – one measly little Post-It note saying he was duped by his kleptomaniac sister into stealing right before they died. But as Milton learns, it’s not your first impression that counts the most in the afterlife but your last.

Why I started this book:

They die in a marshmallow explosion! The humor of this book drew me in and I checked it out from the library.


  • There is a lot of humor in the story from the infamous marshmallow explosion to acronym fun to a toad like principal named Bea Elsa Bubb and her three headed tiny canine.
  • Milton and Marlo’s sibling relationship – are they fighting each other or for each other? It’s typical but loving.
  • I like how it ends. I like that some characters were willing to sacrifice a chance of escape to ensure one got away. Surely that means they’re redeemable and/or redeemed right?
  • The bully reminds me a lot of Draco Malfoy from Harry Potter. Love it!


  • Some of the world building didn’t sit right with me because it seemed like small infractions were being punished endlessly and I’m guessing that’s why Milton is down there to right these wrongs, but I don’t know for sure.
  • Also I think some references might be more for adults than younger readers when the author refers to certain famous dead people, but I could be wrong. I love that Nixon teaching ethics, but do kids know why it’s so funny?

Buy: Heck: Where the Bad Kids Go

Rating: 3 Treasure Chests

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