Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Book Review: The Fourth Stall Part III by Chris Rylander


The Fourth Stall Part III by Chris Rylander
Series: #3 in the Fourth Stall series
Release Date: February 5, 2013
Publisher: Walden Pond Press
Pages: 304
Received: ARC from publisher
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Goodreads Page

WARNING! This is part three of a series! 
I always try to avoid spoilers, but if you're worried, check out my reviews of book 1 and book 2 instead!

Summary

From Goodreads:

The saga of Mac, Vince, and middle school organized crime comes to a thrilling conclusion in THE FOURTH STALL PART III. Their business is finished, and Mac’s and Vince’s lives have become something they have never been before: simple. None of the fortune or the glory and none of the risk or threat of juvenile prison. There’s even a new business that has stepped in to take their place (and take the heat off Mac and Vince for once). Things couldn’t be better.

But that was before things at their middle school started to go haywire. Before they found out that there’s a new crime boss at school in the town over trying to consolidate power. And before their old nemesis, Staples, came back to town begging for help after his stint in the clink. Just when Mac and Vince thought they were out, the business pulls them back in. But this time, will they be able to escape with their lives and permanent records intact?


Review

Last we left off with Mac getting out of the business, much to the disappointment of pretty much everyone. Thankfully, getting out is not as easy as it sounds, and Mac soon finds himself embroilled in yet another school-destroying fiasco. Yay!

I loved how the mystery of this installment was a combination of whodunit and problem solving. When Mac figures out who is behind all the problems, the story doesn't end there with a neat Ta Da! moment.

Oh no, Mac still had to figure out how to take this new nemesis down. It was super fun trying to figure out how in the world he was going to do that, while laughing all the while because, well, you'll see when you discover who he's up against. Again, Chris Rylander makes me want to shower him with awards for Awesome Characters (LOVE the villain's marker sidekick!). How does he come up with these characters?!

Maybe it's because of what happened in the previous book, but this time the stakes felt higher than ever before. The impending CONSEQUENCES were pretty serious, and Chris Rylander didn't shy away when it came time to deliver on those consequences. I hate it when I KNOW everything will work out fine for my favorite characters, so it was super appreciated in that I'm-on-the-edge-of-my-seat kind of way that Chris Rylander kept it real instead of rosy.

Still, for all the seriousness of those consequences, I never felt mired in doom and gloom. This series is funny, as in laugh-out-loud-and-read-lines-to-whoever-happens-to-be-standing-near-me kind of funny. The events themselves are humorous, but Mac's way of narrating those events takes it all to an explosively hilarious level. (The whole scene with Kitten is particularly stand out.)

But all good things must come to an end, I guess, and Part III is the end of the line for The Fourth Stall series (or so I hear. I'm not fully committed to accepting this as fact just yet, mostly because I want more). Not that Chris Rylander doesn't let me down gently, because he does. The whole book is peppered with little examples of Mac moving on and growing up. It's all very bittersweet and I may have edged toward choked up once or twice.

While new readers to the series could probably pick up Part III and be able to follow along mostly ok, I don't really recommend that. There are a lot of things that felt like (awesome) nods to established fans that probably won't make new readers feel lost, but they also won't be able to fully appreciate.

Characters, mystery, humor, The Fourth Stall series has it all and is consistently strong across all three books (though, dare I say it, I think this third book might be my favorite). I cannot recommend this series highly enough. Seriously, it's so good that I feel a reflexive Book-Pusher urge every time I think about it.
 

Explanation of rating system: Star Rating Key 



Do you have any questions about The Fourth Stall Part III that I haven't addressed? 
Feel free to ask in the comments!


Looking for another book like this? 
You might like: 

 Click on the covers to go to my reviews.

10 comments:

  1. I haven't read any of these, and they sound very fun. Similar to The Big Splash by Ferraiolo. Have you read Holly Black's White Cat series? YA and a lot more serious: organized crime meets magic. (I just realized I've never blogged about them--must rectify that!)

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    1. Ooh I haven't heard of The Big Splash! I'll have to check that out. Thanks :)

      I have read the first two books in Holly Black's series. I need to get my hands on a copy of the last one (it's always out at my library)

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  2. Shoot I'd really like to read and comment on this but I've still not read book #2 yet. I do know you've loved them all, so I should try and catch up soon, Huh?

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    1. You should definitely catch up :) You'll love them.

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  3. Woops! I skipped the spoilers because I got the first book a couple of months ago and haven't read it! So I don't wanna knoooooooowww!!

    But I'm hopeful 'cause you loved this one so much.

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    1. I really think you'll enjoy this series!

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  4. I need to start this series because it simply looks awesome!

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    1. It is SO awesome! Fun, interesting mysteries, and the BEST characters ever.

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  5. I bought this for my classroom--my students begged be to!

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  6. Well well! I am so impressed with your consistently high praise for this series, Small. I simply MUST check it out at some point because it really does sound like my kind of book. The humour and characters sound awesome!!

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