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Attack of the 50 Foot Wallflower

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Phoebe Lane is a lightning rod for monsters. She and her mom are forced to flee flesh-eating plants, radioactive ants, and blobs from outer space. They survive thanks to Phoebe’s dad—an invisible titan, whose giant eyes warn them where the next monster attack will take place. All Phoebe wants is to stop running from motel to motel and start living a monster-free life in New Phoebe Lane is a lightning rod for monsters. She and her mom are forced to flee flesh-eating plants, radioactive ants, and blobs from outer space. They survive thanks to Phoebe’s dad—an invisible titan, whose giant eyes warn them where the next monster attack will take place. All Phoebe wants is to stop running from motel to motel and start living a monster-free life in New York or Paris. But when her mom mysteriously vanishes, Phoebe is left to fend for herself in small-town Pennybrooke. That's when Phoebe starts to transform… Christian McKay Heidicker, author of Cure for the Common Universe, returns with a book unlike any other, challenging perceived notions of beauty, identity, and what it means to be a monster.


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Phoebe Lane is a lightning rod for monsters. She and her mom are forced to flee flesh-eating plants, radioactive ants, and blobs from outer space. They survive thanks to Phoebe’s dad—an invisible titan, whose giant eyes warn them where the next monster attack will take place. All Phoebe wants is to stop running from motel to motel and start living a monster-free life in New Phoebe Lane is a lightning rod for monsters. She and her mom are forced to flee flesh-eating plants, radioactive ants, and blobs from outer space. They survive thanks to Phoebe’s dad—an invisible titan, whose giant eyes warn them where the next monster attack will take place. All Phoebe wants is to stop running from motel to motel and start living a monster-free life in New York or Paris. But when her mom mysteriously vanishes, Phoebe is left to fend for herself in small-town Pennybrooke. That's when Phoebe starts to transform… Christian McKay Heidicker, author of Cure for the Common Universe, returns with a book unlike any other, challenging perceived notions of beauty, identity, and what it means to be a monster.

30 review for Attack of the 50 Foot Wallflower

  1. 5 out of 5

    Hannah Garrett

    Phoebe is perfection! I love that I can relate to a 15 year old girl in the 1950s, as a thirty year old in, well, 2018. She’s self assured yet inhibited; open to new people yet cautious. The other characters are just as charming. Having read the book twice, I still can’t decide which character I love the most. They all feel like a little bit of home. Not to mention a completely fresh premise that took me by surprise every chapter. After 1980s nostalgia fatigue in pop culture, reading a novel tha Phoebe is perfection! I love that I can relate to a 15 year old girl in the 1950s, as a thirty year old in, well, 2018. She’s self assured yet inhibited; open to new people yet cautious. The other characters are just as charming. Having read the book twice, I still can’t decide which character I love the most. They all feel like a little bit of home. Not to mention a completely fresh premise that took me by surprise every chapter. After 1980s nostalgia fatigue in pop culture, reading a novel that immersed me in such a cool decade was super fun. Direct and indirect references to the time period had me googling subjects for more details. It’s silly, witty, strange, shocking, touching, and profoundly (somehow) current. I highly recommend it.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Jared Aizad

    I was given an advance copy of this book in return for an honest review. There are a lot of things that I liked about this book but a few stood out in particular. First, I liked the ways in which the book pays homage to 50s monster movies. I have only seen a few of those movies, but the book has encouraged me to see more. Second, I liked the innovative use of different literary devices. In particular, the embedded graphic short story not only tied into the story in an important way but was also I was given an advance copy of this book in return for an honest review. There are a lot of things that I liked about this book but a few stood out in particular. First, I liked the ways in which the book pays homage to 50s monster movies. I have only seen a few of those movies, but the book has encouraged me to see more. Second, I liked the innovative use of different literary devices. In particular, the embedded graphic short story not only tied into the story in an important way but was also valuable on its own. Third, the story not only reflects lots of research but is also very engaging. The story was also quite different from anything I’ve encountered before. I only read a few books per year and I am glad that this was one of them.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Crowinator

    I'm over the moon - here is another book for which I can apply the word "gonzo". This is amazing.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Max Baker

    Thank You Netgalley for Providing me a free review copy in exchange for an honest review Attack off the 50 Foot Wallflower has been on my TBR list for a while. And I was EXCITED. Like, so much so I was actually afraid to read this, because if you don't read it it can never fall short of your expectations. Right? And, in a way, it didn't. Attack of the 50 Foot Wallflower was everything I wanted with this premise. This is a very, very smart book, but the longer I thought about the story as a whole Thank You Netgalley for Providing me a free review copy in exchange for an honest review Attack off the 50 Foot Wallflower has been on my TBR list for a while. And I was EXCITED. Like, so much so I was actually afraid to read this, because if you don't read it it can never fall short of your expectations. Right? And, in a way, it didn't. Attack of the 50 Foot Wallflower was everything I wanted with this premise. This is a very, very smart book, but the longer I thought about the story as a whole the more I found myself poking holes in the story. Which is sort of odd, because this book accomplishes everything it wanted to do with remarkable success. The crux of the this entire book, the premise itself, is a meta examination of media, specifically 1950/1960s monster movies, while also commenting on voyeurism, violence, and female agency. So everything that happens within the story furthers that exploration. For example, nearly all the men in the story either attempt or allude to wanting a sexual relationship with Phoebe, a trope in films where women can't go outside without the threat of rape, while Phoebe just is expected to grin and bare it. Stuff like that covers this book, and Heidicker did a really good job at painting the world Phoebe lives in. A picture-esque Pleasentville sorta town that is pretty racist and ugly when you look beneath the surface. There's also Shivers, monsters that appear as naturally as earthquakes or tornadoes and leave devastation in it's wake. Phoebe's mother, Loretta, was once carried to the top of the Chrysler Building by a Shiver, a giant ape named Ook and has since relied on her infamy to move her and Phoebe from motel to motel avoiding Shivers with their unique ability to see the man in the sky, who is also Phoebe's father. (view spoiler)[The main plot of the story is that when Phoebe's mother goes missing, she accidentally unearths a shadowy organization hidden in the desert that is fully aware of Phoebe's father and works tirelessly to keep his interest less he either changes the channel or turns the TV off. The reveal that Phoebe is more or less a character in a TV show is not necessarily a spoiler, but what is a spoiler is how the novel progresses. Rather then be a sort of search for her mother, it then becomes a literal monster movie, with the organization zapping Phoebe so she grows at an alarming rate, hoping that the destruction she causes will keep her father sated for months. The exploration of violence and voyeurism is very well done here, as it is believe that only violence and conveniently attractive women can keep his interest. And I really appreciated Heidicker leaning into the sort of ridiculousness that those cheesy 1950s movies are known for. Giant ant fights, ridiculous screams, and all that fun stuff was dripping from every page. But, where this book looses me is in two places. The first is Beth, a side character that is implied to be from outside the TV. She's aware of movie monsters and tropes, but I could not for the life of me understand her purpose. Yeah, she was there, but nothing about her is explained. How did she get there? Why come? Is Phoebe's story a real thing or just another movie? Is the man in the sky a real person watching a TV or is it some overarching symbolic theme that's going over my head? Is she meant to be an interest from the future, putting their modern ideas into period pieces? She raised more questions then answered and just thought that particular reveal could have been cut. The other is Phoebe herself. Heidicker did almost too good of a job at exploring the lack of female agency in media. Phoebe is capable, shown very early on in the book, but by the time she becomes gargantuan she just...doesn't do anything. And it was frustrating because there's all these themes and reasons that she has for not doing anything, doesn't want to hurt people, not be a monster, that be a gentle woman mentality that exists within her due to an oppressive culture. But the entire time I couldn't help thinking "you are 50 feet tall. Slap some bitches and get shit done." Which is an issue because that was at the forefront of my mind whenever Phoebe encountered a very...let's just say human problem. The fact is, if Phoebe smashed a few things she'd get stuff done and reach her goals. But she never did because the story and the themes wouldn't let her. Her actions were hindered because the plot demanded it not because of her as a character. (hide spoiler)] Attack of the 50 Foot Wallflower is a lot of fun and I would very much recommend it to people looking for something a little kooky, a little crazy, and a whole lotta brains. But, personally, the issues the book raised and the handicaps it put on the characters for the sake of story were enough to shake my rating.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Devann

    This is basically an alternate version of the 50's where all the classic sci-fi movie monsters and tropes are real and will 'randomly' attack different cities and towns. Phoebe and her mom can see a huge man in the sky that 'warns' them where the attacks will be so they are lucky enough to get away, but most people aren't. This was a really fun book for the most part. There was maybe a little bit too much focus on the period-typical racism and sexism for me, but the people who were perpetuating This is basically an alternate version of the 50's where all the classic sci-fi movie monsters and tropes are real and will 'randomly' attack different cities and towns. Phoebe and her mom can see a huge man in the sky that 'warns' them where the attacks will be so they are lucky enough to get away, but most people aren't. This was a really fun book for the most part. There was maybe a little bit too much focus on the period-typical racism and sexism for me, but the people who were perpetuating those views were always shown as being bigoted and wrong by the narrative so it wasn't necessarily 'bad', I just wasn't always in the mood to deal with it I guess. The end got a little bit too meta for me as well, but I don't think there was really another good way to end it. Overall a really enjoyable read though and I appreciated that it combined a lot of fun 50s monsters with heroes who were a little bit more ...forward-thinking I guess.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Dallin Cerva

    Being a fan of Heidicker's first novel, Cure for the Common Universe, excitement to delve into his next was not sparse. Heidicker has done it again. He's the real deal. This book is better, more inventive, and more "out there" than, not just his first book, but most books on that market! All gushing aside, the setting for this new story is a world that is both terrifying and lovely, you want to be in it, and yet, you're glad you're not. The threats are horrific, fascinating, and energizing... the Being a fan of Heidicker's first novel, Cure for the Common Universe, excitement to delve into his next was not sparse. Heidicker has done it again. He's the real deal. This book is better, more inventive, and more "out there" than, not just his first book, but most books on that market! All gushing aside, the setting for this new story is a world that is both terrifying and lovely, you want to be in it, and yet, you're glad you're not. The threats are horrific, fascinating, and energizing... they feel like the all too familiar "boss battles" from one's favorite video game... ironic that this one isn't about video games! If you want a book that begins and ends in the way you expect, then this isn't for you.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Heather (The Sassy Book Geek)

    I NEED THIS BOOK IN MY LIFE ASAP!

  8. 4 out of 5

    Christine

    Aw man, I felt this was doing some really great build-up and I liked the characters but the end ruined my positive feelings - it did NOT stick the landing.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Octavia

    I had to DNF this one. I picked it up because I thought it would be a fun, light read that would help me get out of my reading slump. But a few pages in the MC casually mentions walking past a sign that said "No Coloreds"....which in itself isn't the issue if you're just trying to reference the time period. But the MC had literally JUST mentioned puddle skirts, a malt shop, and people standing in front of an appliance store with TV's in the window. Pretty sure I pieced together what era we're in I had to DNF this one. I picked it up because I thought it would be a fun, light read that would help me get out of my reading slump. But a few pages in the MC casually mentions walking past a sign that said "No Coloreds"....which in itself isn't the issue if you're just trying to reference the time period. But the MC had literally JUST mentioned puddle skirts, a malt shop, and people standing in front of an appliance store with TV's in the window. Pretty sure I pieced together what era we're in. That might sound petty but...that's my reason. So there.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Teenreadsdotcom

    Run, run for your lives!...or at least run to your nearest library to check out ATTACK OF THE FIFTY FOOT WALLFLOWER. Then get comfy for the next three hours because Christian McKay Heidicker’s doozy of a novel is not a spectacle you will want to tear your eyes from. After CURE FOR THE COMMON UNIVERSE, which explores gaming culture, Heidicker certainly rises to the occasion with his wit and unique perspective to expose both the good, the bad and the ugly aspects of society. Phoebe Lane is sick of Run, run for your lives!...or at least run to your nearest library to check out ATTACK OF THE FIFTY FOOT WALLFLOWER. Then get comfy for the next three hours because Christian McKay Heidicker’s doozy of a novel is not a spectacle you will want to tear your eyes from. After CURE FOR THE COMMON UNIVERSE, which explores gaming culture, Heidicker certainly rises to the occasion with his wit and unique perspective to expose both the good, the bad and the ugly aspects of society. Phoebe Lane is sick of running from Shivers, the monsters that randomly appear, pillage and terrify humans. Why can’t a girl live an average, teenage life with her mom in New York or Paris, with friends (and maybe even a boyfriend?) However, Phoebe is caught in a cycle of moving, getting by and then running every time her father’s eyes in the sky warn them of the next attack. Phoebe is ready to take matters into her own hands…then suddenly, her mother disappears and she is faced with a deluge of questions and some foreboding answers. With the potential end of the world threatening, she is recruited by an underground research lab as the only person who can stop the ultimate disaster. But Phoebe feels small, insignificant against the evil out there --- monsters and humans alike. Not only that, Phoebe is starting to notice one growing problem… Reminiscent of the classic, ‘50s-era monster movies, this novel is rich with various “Easter eggs,” words and culture, combining to make a realistic and vibrant setting. However, ATTACK OF THE FIFTY FOOT WALLFLOWER is more than black-and-white, and the real monsters are not always hairy with sharp teeth. With the unique setting of a TV-world, Heidicker satirizes modern culture’s addiction to TV, and through this, explores how societal values can be found reflected in popular culture. When Phoebe’s world is turned upside down, she is forced to reinvent her outlook. She sees people for who they truly are; Heidicker uses this perspective to highlight not only the abuse of power by government, but the way that society manipulates itself to follow the status quo. Phoebe herself tries to fit into the mold that society prescribes for her, attempting to “become a wallflower” in order to fly under the radar. However, when Phoebe opens herself up to people who love her more than her size, she is taught by the example of others to remain true to who she is, despite her insecurities and haunted past. Heidicker does not shy away from identifying inequalities that have existed for ages, and does so in an equally comical and serious tone. Given the unique plot, these inequalities affect more than just freedom and respect; the judgements that people make of others can determine who lives and who dies. Stereotypes are pit against each other, exposing how a person can never truly judge a person by their appearance. As the stakes rise, pressure on Phoebe peaks as she grapples to overcome realize that she is indeed more powerful than she thinks --- and she does not have to be the monster everyone believes her to be. Like the protagonist, many characters hold some form of power in this novel --- and therefore, responsibility. So many characters in the novel claim that they have no choice but to sacrifice for “the greater good.” With help from those who care about her and her own determination, Phoebe struggles to alternate the rules of the devilish power struggle she has unwillingly become a part of. Through Phoebe, the reader begins to question perceptions and misperceptions, power struggles and the inevitable discrimination that occurs when individuals and groups decide to sacrifice for “the greater good.” ATTACK OF THE FIFTY FOOT WALLFLOWER is everything good about horror movies and more. The plot is quick-paced action, and Heidicker’s humor, relatable characters and imaginative solutions are enough to make this novel addicting. The raw emotion and overall analysis about societal, perceptions, human perseverance and inner beauty makes this novel a must-read. Reviewed by Lauren C

  11. 5 out of 5

    Jordan Finch

    Attack of the 50 Foot Wallflower is a unique book, with a fascinating universe, likable characters, and a number of fun homages to 50s monster movies. Phoebe Lane is the girl with the famous mother: Loretta Lane, the woman who was once abducted by a giant ape and dragged to the top of the Chrysler Building. She also has a famous father, although Phoebe is one of only a handful of people who can see him. Phoebe's father is a giant living in the sky, and it's his gaze that keeps Phoebe and her moth Attack of the 50 Foot Wallflower is a unique book, with a fascinating universe, likable characters, and a number of fun homages to 50s monster movies. Phoebe Lane is the girl with the famous mother: Loretta Lane, the woman who was once abducted by a giant ape and dragged to the top of the Chrysler Building. She also has a famous father, although Phoebe is one of only a handful of people who can see him. Phoebe's father is a giant living in the sky, and it's his gaze that keeps Phoebe and her mother one step ahead of the Shivers, the variety of horrible monsters that attack humanity. Her unusual upbringing has kept her from being a normal teenage girl, but her mother's sudden disappearance pushes Phoebe further from normal in her search for answers. And that's before she begins to grow... While Attack of the 50 Foot Wallflower is certainly a fun read, there are enough bit and pieces that don't seem to make sense and are left open-ended that I walked away from this book with a bit of a frown. I did really enjoy Phoebe as the main character. She's sassy and straightforward, and she knows how to handle herself; her life has always revolved around monsters, and she's not afraid to speak up when that good ol' 1950s sexism comes into play. That being said, although the situation she gets herself thrown into is quite fun, there was too much background left unexplained to let myself just enjoy the shenanigans. Between the logistics of Phoebe's existence (actually, I think that one might actually be better left alone) and the presence of Beth (how did she get into the TV world?), I felt like I was missing something, and not in a fun "maybe we'll get a prequel or sequel" way. The ending does, however, does leave some smaller plot threads dangling, and I wonder if Heidicker will follow up on this book. It does have a unique premise, and the 1950s monster movie world is kind of fun, but I don't know that I really care enough about Phoebe and her friends to read another book even if one is released.

  12. 5 out of 5

    David

    In 1950’s America Phoebe Lane and her mother Loretta travel with carnivals, playing on the fame from her mother’s abduction by a giant ape called ‘Ook’. (This may just be a reference to something.) Currently the carnival is in the town of Pennybrooke. They are able to see the image of Phoebe’s father in the sky, which alerts them to the events called ‘Shivers’ when the aliens and monsters attack small towns, causing them to constantly be on the move. But when Phoebe returns to their hotel room, h In 1950’s America Phoebe Lane and her mother Loretta travel with carnivals, playing on the fame from her mother’s abduction by a giant ape called ‘Ook’. (This may just be a reference to something.) Currently the carnival is in the town of Pennybrooke. They are able to see the image of Phoebe’s father in the sky, which alerts them to the events called ‘Shivers’ when the aliens and monsters attack small towns, causing them to constantly be on the move. But when Phoebe returns to their hotel room, her mother has gone missing and she must step up to playing a lead role in her own narrative… Okay, this is obviously playing around with the tropes of 1950’s science fiction and horror movies. One character appears from a notorious 1950’s work (you’ll realise it even if you don’t spot the name, straight away) . The writer is clearly having a lot of fun with playing around with the tropes and the conventions also referring to the horror comics of the time. But the writer also realises that he can not just go back to presenting an idealised world, referring to the attitudes and prejudices of the time that get glossed over. The story keeps referring to the people who get caught in the crossfire of these monster attacks. Phoebe isn’t happy with her assigned options and keeps trying to move out of them, including being creeped on by men. Then she is faced with the choice of becoming the monster or the victim unless she finds another way. I realise that I’m not the target age for this, but would have enjoyed it when I was. A fun fan tribute and examination of 1950’s monster movies with an engaging heroine.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Krista Ivy

    What if King Kong was real and called Emperor Ook? What if the beautiful blond woman he wanted to just love and protect became famous and had a child? What if monsters attacking towns and decimating them was a common occurrence? What if it was 1950's America? This is the world that we step into for Attack of the 50 Foot Wallflower. The Lane women are strong and fierce. The mother is famous and undeniably beautiful. The daughter, Phoebe, is unsure of herself and still just a teenager. They move fr What if King Kong was real and called Emperor Ook? What if the beautiful blond woman he wanted to just love and protect became famous and had a child? What if monsters attacking towns and decimating them was a common occurrence? What if it was 1950's America? This is the world that we step into for Attack of the 50 Foot Wallflower. The Lane women are strong and fierce. The mother is famous and undeniably beautiful. The daughter, Phoebe, is unsure of herself and still just a teenager. They move from town to town when they see the titan father's eyes (who's invisible and only select people can see) go to the town they are in. He looks for the chaos and watches it unfold with a smile. The mother is kidnapped while they are in Pennybrooke and Phoebe comes looking for her. An organization has taken her captive. Phoebe just wants her mother back. She meets her half sister that explains that some of the monster attacks have been constructed by the government. She watches their titan father and when his finger starts to get close to pressing one of the button on his remote; she tells them and a town is attacked. Phoebe's giant/titan genes are activated and she grows to an enormous size and fights a swarm of giant ants and flying saucer that the military have unleashed upon Pennybrooke. This book is fresh, set in the 1950's without being dated, and fun. Recommende for: everyone with eyes/ears/brain.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Heaven Ashlee

    This was the weirdest thing I have ever read, but I thoroughly enjoyed it! In a world where various monster attacks happen regularly, everyone has grown used to the weird and unusual. Phoebe and her mother have been on the run for all of Phoebe's life because if they stay anywhere too long, a monster attacks the city. Their only way of knowing and getting out before the monster hits? Phoebe's father, who is an invisible giant in the sky. Yeah, needless to say, Phoebe's life is far from normal. Thi This was the weirdest thing I have ever read, but I thoroughly enjoyed it! In a world where various monster attacks happen regularly, everyone has grown used to the weird and unusual. Phoebe and her mother have been on the run for all of Phoebe's life because if they stay anywhere too long, a monster attacks the city. Their only way of knowing and getting out before the monster hits? Phoebe's father, who is an invisible giant in the sky. Yeah, needless to say, Phoebe's life is far from normal. This was outrageous and creative and I had a good idea of where it was going from the beginning but it didn't make it any less entertaining. The plot was exciting and I loved Phoebe as a main character. I also loved Beth (how could you not?) and Pan-Cake, the doggo. I don't want to say too much because it'll spoil some things for you. I would have given this five stars but...there were some parts that made me...cringey. I reminded myself that this was written by a dude, took place in the late 50's/early 60's so misogyny and jokes at the sexual expense of young girls was common but it made me realllllly uncomfortable to have a (view spoiler)[town of men jiggling a 50-foot-tall 15 year old girl's boobs and legs and making all kinds of jokes about having sex with her (hide spoiler)] . Hence the star removal.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Jo Stevens

    This is the first time I've read a book by Christian McKay Heidicker. Attack of the 50 Foot Wallflower was very interesting. Although I did have a hard time with size and proportions. I cant wrap my brain around the idea of 50ft tall. How small would something have to be to make me feel 50 ft tall? I'd think half an inch since I'm 5'2" but then if I grabbed something that was half an inch and it was squishy I'd probably accidentally squish it.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Beittany

    Phoebe is quite a force! Surviving teenage-hood, discovering her roots, and oh yeah...fighting monsters...this story has all you could want from a strong female lead. The writing is on point and I am reminded of the classic horror movies that came before. Very enjoyable and a good reminder that the ability to be lovely comes in all shapes and sizes.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Cheryl McKay

    Throw Your Arm Across Your Eyes and Scream is a great blend of 1950's nostalgia with detailed character development. In spite of dealing with era related sexism, Phoebe is able to grow into her challenges. The story is more enjoyable as it is not predictable.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Emily Donaldson

    I didn't really know what to expect when I started this book. What I got was a totally immersive experience with Easter Eggs throughout (without being heavy handed). Now I have to go watch a bunch of 1950's horror.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Maeghan D

    Huh.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Jac

    Highly recommend! I especially loved the main character—a great female lead that a span of ages will find relatable.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Haley

  22. 5 out of 5

    Elsayed Aboulila

  23. 5 out of 5

    Korey

  24. 4 out of 5

    Michael Bongiorno

  25. 5 out of 5

    Johanna

  26. 4 out of 5

    shyama

  27. 5 out of 5

    Christian Trimmer

  28. 5 out of 5

    Mar

  29. 5 out of 5

    Josh Newhouse

  30. 4 out of 5

    Alan Mouritsen

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