A wacky, comedic retelling of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde starring a perfectionist eighth-grader.
Intelligent, mature, responsible Jaclyn Hyde’s the kind of go-getter who overloads herself in an attempt to maintain her ridiculously high personal standards and buries any evidence of perceived failures in a little box. But when she multitasks a little too hard and her pet rabbit escapes, she and her friends chase it right into the local haunted house, which once belonged to a mad scientist—and there, she finds a formula for a Perfection Potion. Of course, she tries it, creating a monstrous alter ego that glories in slapstick chaos, wanton destruction, and enthusiastic sabotage, all done in the service of making Jaclyn look perfect. With the help of her two best friends, journalist Fatima and athlete Paige, both also in the know, Jaclyn struggles to contain evil Jackie at school while searching for a cure. Heightening the stakes before the big finish are an over-the-top evil principal in the vein of Miss Trunchbull of Matilda—impossible to please and quick to rage—and the big school musical’s opening night. The story’s kept funny by humorous sequences and jokes that seem like throwaway gags only to come back with impact. With racial and physical descriptors largely absent, most characters are presumably white (if Fatima is Muslim, she does not wear hijab).
An absolutely hilarious, well-plotted comedy with huge thematic heart in dealing with the pressures and costs of high expectations. (Science fantasy. 8-12)