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Hellbent by Anthony McGowan


by Anthony McGowan

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Its an interesting take on the punishments of Hell - why you get there, and what it means to be punished.

So to begin with - this is a book for older teens, if I had to guess, I'd say boys. I can see this book passed around in secret, simply because of how ... descriptive ... Hell is. Its not a pretty place.

As for the characters - the story is interesting, but there really isn't anyone likable in this story - It is about Hell, after all. Conor O'Neil isn't necessarily a bad kid - but he is definitely not good, either. He's a fairly typical snotty high school boy, sitting on the cool side of bad. Clarence, is actually fairly interesting. As a Devil - you are always questioning his motivation. What I find great about this book is how hope is used in this book - you hope that Conor gets what he wants - but a reader is fairly certain that its a trap - as the plot gets more and more elaborate, you find yourself second guessing what you think you know. I like that in a book.

The book is well written, but for me (an adult person), I felt that it was over the top. So read at your own risk, understand who it written for. ( )
  TheDivineOomba | Feb 21, 2016 |
It had its moments. The basic premise: a kid gets hit by an ice-cream truck and finds himself in hell. He's in a very boring room, surrounded by books on gardening, philosophy, history. The radio only gets classical music or educational programming. But surely somebody must like this, right? So it stands to reason that somewhere in hell there's a room full of video games and punk rock. And all he has to do is convince his guard-demon to help him find it. It should have been a very funny book, and in parts it was--but the constant scatological "humor" wore thin pretty quickly. I get it. Hell is shitty in every sense of the word. ( )
  librarybrandy | Mar 31, 2013 |
Hilarious, irreverent, and more than a little offensive. I'm a little old for Young Adult books, but I couldn't resist this little gem.

Conor O'Neil is for all intents and purposes an ordinary 15 year old English boy, until he gets hit by an ice cream truck and ends up in hell. Turns out, all hells are relative, and his is b-o-r-i-n-g. Boring enough that he tries to find a way out. There's a cross dressing Viking, a middle management devil, and a dog named Scrote (which can really only be short for "scrotum") as well, and all the evils of hell you can imagine. It was a fast and fun read, funny and smart and just a little bit wicked. ( )
  pinprick | Apr 13, 2010 |
Reviewed by Randstostipher "tallnlankyrn" Nguyen for TeensReadToo.com

No one really knows if there is a Hell or Heaven. Is Heaven full of clouds and Hell as hot as a pizza oven? Unfortunately for Connor O'Neil, who knows exactly how it feels. It's not wonderful Heaven that he gets to experience firsthand, but rather the dreadful Hell. That's right! Connor has died and went to Hell. How? Well, by chasing after his dog and getting hit by an ice cream truck.

Of course Hell isn't what exactly how people had described it. It has changed over the years. There's still your usual furnaces and dungeons and creepy crawlers. But now Hell isn't too big on physical pain, since they have become more sophisticated. And they also call the unfortunate people who have to go to Hell their "customers." So Hell shouldn't seem too bad for Connor, right?

The worst has yet to come since now Connor is condemned to a corner surrounded by the worst thing ever--educational material. Books are all around him, along with radios blaring out educational programs. Everything fit for his eternal punishment.

Then Connor comes up with a plan, since everyone needs a plan. In order for him to survive Hell he needs to find someone that would absolutely enjoy his corner and trade. So now Connor is out to find the person that is willing to trade for his educational corner.

Witty and absolutely engrossing, Anthony McGowan has cooked up a novel that will make you burst out laughing. HELLBENT is exactly for anyone who needs something to lift them up. With crazy characters and a plot that is ultimately unusual, HELLBENT is a definite page-turner that will keep the reader up all night. ( )
  GeniusJen | Oct 11, 2009 |
Ohhh soo hilarious!!! I adore this book to death! The Wit! the Humour! I was snickering and laughing out loud the entire time. I will pass this on to everyone book! ( )
  QueenAlyss | Aug 16, 2007 |
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Having been run over by an ice cream truck, sixteen-year-old Conor tries to figure out what he did that condemned him to Hell, and how to swap his personalized torment for the "torture" of popular music, women, and video games.

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