Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Fizzy Whiz Kid by Maiya Williams

In case you had not realized this, I spent most of the weekend reading (no, I wasn't doing any of the read-a-thons, that's what I do most weekends) and now I'm catching up on reviews.

When I first heard this title, I wanted it. Then I read a description, and I'm all "meh, I don't like Hollywood books." Then I grabbed a copy at ALA and read the back and I was "meh, I really don't like books about kids Making It Big and then Realizing What's Really Important." Which just goes to prove that librarians, not publicity agents, should write cover copy because when I finally, and rather grumpily, read the was excellent, engrossing, and engaging.

First, a brief note on the cover. My ARC shows pretty much the same picture, except the kid has calmer hair. In fact, I think it might be a different kid, or maybe I just can't see that well. I've seen some other cover pics that have a big face on the can, instead of the little inset guy. I'm not sure, but I think this is the final cover here. Either way, they're all ok.

Mitch is used to starting new schools. As long as he follows the rules on one of his many lists, he knows things will probably be ok. Eventually. But this new school is a whole different situation, one that doesn't fit any of his lists. Because this school is in Hollywood and all the kids are, well, special. When his dad makes an especially disastrous appearance at the school, Mitch decides his only chance for ever fitting in - or at least not being noticed - is to get involved in the local obsession. Movies. But things get out of hand, fast, and Mitch is soon bewildered and confused as he tries to figure out what happened and exactly how he got where he is - and how he can get back to where he was.

Okay, okay, maybe other librarians should write cover copy. I didn't say me in particular. Anyways, although there were many parts of the book where I found myself staring at it and saying "wait a minute, that just wouldn't happen" I'd then realize "duh, this is Hollywood. It's crazy and everything happens really, really fast." It's reality, just a different reality than most of us are used to. Hand this one to kids who like a fun story about friendship, family, school and figuring out who you are and/or to kids who are obsessed with and fascinated by movies and the film industry.

Verdict: Fast-paced, informative without dumping information on the reader, and full of personable, believable, and interesting characters.

ISBN: 0810983478; Published March 2010 by Amulet; ARC provided by publisher at ALA; Purchased for the library

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