Summary: With his short statue, wide-set eyes and penchant for writing, fifteen year-old Wayne Pumphrey is a target for the local bullies in Canning, Labrador. Marjorie, a fellow target of bullies, changes Wayne’s life one day when she sticks up for him. A friendship is fostered by their shared experiences, but the bully Pete the Meat is angered by it and vows to get revenge. Just as Wayne and Marjorie find reasons to believe in themselves and their futures, events that will shake their newfound resolve begin to unfold in a way that no one could have expected.
Number of Pages: 307
Age Range: 15-17
Review: There is a universal truth about small towns – that some people just don’t fit in there and are better suited for bigger places. Being raised in a small town myself I can attest to this fact, but Darren Hynes’ story of Wayne and Marjorie really brought it all back.
For me, this is the hallmark of a great writer, one who creates characters are relatable and inspire the reader’s empathy. There were moments when I didn’t like Wayne and Majorie’s actions or agree with their decisions, but each episode of bullying they endured was still heart-rending because I identified with their otherness. Hynes even managed to make Pete, the bully, a somewhat sympathetic character by alluding to previous abuse at the hands of his biological father.
Creeps made me think. While I find it difficult to put myself in shoes of Pete and his friends to understand their actions, I wonder what it would take to drive someone to do something like what they did. It also makes me think about Wayne and Marjorie’s end of the situation. When I was surprised by their actions I really had to consider what that kind of long-term bullying would do to a person because that was what Hynes was trying to convey. Creeps is a complicated story, but ultimately a valuable read.
My favourite parts were the letters written by Wayne. Not only were they very revealing of his thoughts and character, I also liked the growth they inspired as he eventually shares one of his letters when previously they had been written only for himself. Great touch.
I’d recommend this book to older teens due to the mature nature of the story.
“‘I hate Canning,’ Marjorie says. ‘At least if we lived on the island we could go to St. John’s. Not everyone would know me. What? Why are you smiling?’
‘”God’s country,” Mom says.’
‘Too cold for God in Canning.’
‘She says we have the best northern lights–‘
‘And that when the sky’s blue and the sun’s reflecting off the snow there’s nowhere prettier.’
‘Really? Well you tell her that I can think of a hundred places better. A thousand.’
‘And best of all, Mom says, is the quiet.’
‘That’s because no one’s stupid enough to live here. Except us.'”
– conversation between Marjorie and Wayne from Creeps by Darren Hynes, page 21
“Marjorie says, ‘You ever get tired?’
‘Of being Wayne Pumphrey?’
‘I don’t know. You ever get tired of being Marjorie Pope?’
Marjorie looks away. then at her fingers again. ‘Sometimes.’
‘Me too,’ says Wayne. He breathes in and lets it out and says, ‘But I can’t not be me, right? And you can’t not be you.'” – conversation between Marjorie and Wayne from Creeps by Darren Hynes, page 49
“Just the sound of her breathing then, the feel of it against his neck, and he wonders how it could be that yesterday he felt so young but now feels like a man and it occurs to him that something begins at the same time something ends, so he’ll always be in motion, moving towards and away from things.” – Wayne from Creeps by Darren Hynes, page 180
“A few laugh and then it goes quiet and Wayne thinks he understands loneliness.” – Wayne from Creeps by Darren Hynes, page 207
“Wayne turns and faces everybody and tries looking past them but can’t, so he goes to that place in his head where yellow snow tastes like creamsicle and whipped snowballs feel like beads of rain, where drawings taped to his locker are works of art and insults are compliments and the faces looking back at him are all Marjorie’s face and Wanda’s and Mr. Rollie’s and whoever else might have his back.” – Wayne from Creeps by Darren Hynes, page 209
“Three years! That’s a lifetime when Pete The Meat’s walking in my direction or waiting behind the corner or holding me down so I can’t breathe. Three years is how long before the sun burns out and the earth dies and everything goes back to the way it was before it all started.
Three years is forever.” – Wayne from Creeps by Darren Hynes, page 212
“‘I know it’s just a stupid little play but how do you know for sure we’ll both be the same afterwards? My dad’s reading a stupid little book and he’s not the same. And my neighbour, Miss Flynn, had a stupid little tummy tuck and she’s not the same either. Well, she also had a nose job and an implant in her chin and her cheeks lifted too, but you know what I mean. Maybe the stupid little things change us the most.'” – Wayne from Creeps by Darren Hynes, page 224
“I’m not sure if you’ll be there today (I’d certainly understand if you weren’t) but I just wanted to say that maybe you spend too much time with Thom Yorke after all. He’s an amazing songwriter, I know, but if you keep saying you’re creepy and weird and asking yourself why you’re here because you shouldn’t be. you’ll never be okay anywhere and what kind of life will that be?” – Wayne from Creeps by Darren Hynes, page 305