Friday, May 25, 2018

How to be a supervillain by Michael Fry

A lot of kids got into The Odd Squad a few years ago, so I picked up Michael Fry's latest series, part of the Jimmy Patterson imprint. I was not impressed. First, it's one of those "nobody is writing books that kids/boys actually like so we had to do it!". Um, that is incorrect. Also, your premise that kids should write books for kids is flawed, since Michael Fry is an adult. Second, it went on and on and on for way too long.

So, the premise is that, after too much property damage and injured civilians, the superheroes and supervillains have made a Truce. Basically, all the fights are scripted (like wrestling matches) and anyone who deviates gets catapulted into outer space. Into this sad state of affairs enters Victor Spoil. He's the twelve-year-old son of two washed up super-villains and a constant disappointment to his parents because he's, well, just really not good at being evil. In fact, he's too good altogether. In one last desperate attempt to "fix" Victor, his parents send him off as a summer intern with the Smear, a once-retired and extremely lame supervillain. Or is he?

From here on out the book is an endless circle of Victor questioning himself. Is he really good? Is he really evil? What is good and evil? Does the Smear care for him? Is he just using him? Do his parents care? Are they disappointed? Why does he care if they're disappointed? It's a relief when the book finally ends, even though there's no real conclusion and the plot has twisted around so many times that the final-ish twist is just annoying.

Verdict: If you have kids who like this kind of Wimpy Kid/superhero mash-up, this will probably circulate. I don't have many kids who care for this and the book was so tedious I'll probably skip it and stick with Michael Fry's older titles or Michael Buckley's NERDS.

ISBN: 9780316318693; Published 2017 by Jimmy Patterson/Little, Brown, and Company; Borrowed from another library in my consortium

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