Hello Neighbor: Missing Pieces by Carly Anne West is a very unique kind of book. It’s because the book is based on a video game called “Hello Neighbor.” I didn’t know much about the video game at the time, but I knew the video game was very successful. So when I saw this book at my school book fair, I thought I should give it a try.
I don’t regret my decision either. Missing Pieces is one of the best mystery books I have ever read. It takes all the mysterious elements the video game had, and included them in this book. While it might not be long (it’s only 200 pages), it’s extremely fun to read and very suspenseful. The story is about a young kid named Nicky Roth, who just moved to a new city called Raven Brooks. Not long after he moves, he befriends his neighbor next door, who is a kid named Aaron Peterson. They soon become best friends, and pull pranks and have fun around Raven Brooks. But soon, Nicky learns that the Petersons and Aaron are not a normal family, and they have secrets hiding deep within their houses…
There are a lot of reasons I think this book is very unique compared to other mystery novels. The first is that I love the author’s style of writing. It’s told through the perspective of Nicky, and he is very creative in how he talks throughout the book. For example, instead of talking about moving to Raven Brooks like a normal person would talk about moving, he talks about it descriptively and interestingly, but you still feel like you don’t know all the details. I like this style of writing because it felt like the perfect style for this book and because it’s the most unique element that makes this story different from others. Like in one part of the book, they give the meaning of the word “bad” in a different way than what other people think:
Nicky: What does make a person bad, then?
Aaron: Being bad when bad things happen.
This is how most of the book is written, and this makes the book even more suspenseful.
The second reason I love this book is because the book doesn’t have any paranormal activity to make it scary. All the stuff in this book can happen in real life, and making a book like that is not as easy as you think. The book also involves messages like tragedy, fate, loss, and sadness. All this stuff can be related to, and that’s why you sometimes feel sad and depressed when you read this book.
I also love that Aaron and Nicky don’t have a normal friendship. They have hobbies and habits that are unique (lock-picking, trespassing, etc.). Their friendship doesn’t always go well sometimes and even though they are friends, Aaron keeps secrets to himself, and doesn’t share everything about his personality. This made me scared, and I couldn’t put the book down when I first read it. It left me wondering: What’s really going on?
Even though this book is amazing, there are some problems with it. The first and the biggest reason is the lack of variety in the story. The whole story revolves around Nicky developing a friendship with Aaron, while at the same time discovering his dark past. The setting usually takes place in Aaron’s house or around Raven Brooks, and the only things that Nicky and Aaron do are sleepovers, pulling pranks and picking locks. Other than that, there is not much that they do, and this disappoints me, because there are only a few chapters in the book that don’t involve these kinds of things. I also don’t like how the book sometimes tries to be funny. It can be really hilarious at times, but other times when it’s dark and gloomy, the author tries to sneak a joke in, and it really doesn’t fit the mood.
Overall, I loved Hello Neighbor: Missing Pieces. It kept me hooked throughout the whole time reading it. However, I want to say one thing before I end the review. If you don’t enjoy dark, creepy and sad stories, then I suggest not to read this book. The book barely contains any cheerful or happy scenes, and this might scare some people. But as for me, I can’t wait to read the follow-books in the series, and I am very happy I didn’t underestimate the power of a book that is based on a video game.