Fans of Korman’s school stories and caper novels may find this fluff just fun enough.

READ REVIEW

LEVEL 13

From the Slacker series , Vol. 2

Can Cam hit 50,000 subscribers on his game stream? Not with distractions like schoolwork.

In Slacker (2016), Cam Boxer tried to perpetuate his video game “lifestyle” by starting a fake do-gooder club at school; then everyone joined the Positive Action Group. Now it’s so successful (and the eighth-grader is such a hero) that he has no time to game. He and his best friends, Chuck and Pavel, devise a scheme to convince the student body that Cam is failing and needs to study instead of running the P.A.G. This works, and Cam’s stream takes off, especially after Cam starts playing a rare, early-release copy of “Guardians of Geldorf.” But then his classmates, worried about their hero, start offering homework help; a mysterious stalker comes to town; and Chuck’s budding relationship with P.A.G. second-in-command Daphne threatens both the game streaming and the three boys’ friendship. This sequel, narrated, as before, by the threesome and a few others by turns, is more of the same. Cam is no more likable, as he lies and cheats his way to unearned success. Nothing here is actually believable—a Zorro mask would not hide Cam’s identity—and a twist about questionable content in the game’s early release is profoundly unexciting. As before, the cast defaults to white, with diversity largely cued via naming convention.

Fans of Korman’s school stories and caper novels may find this fluff just fun enough. (Fiction. 7-11)

Pub Date: June 25, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-28620-5

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: March 3, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2019

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We challenge anyone to read this and keep a straight face.

THE BAD GUYS

From the Bad Guys series , Vol. 1

Four misunderstood villains endeavor to turn over a new leaf…or a new rap sheet in Blabey's frenzied romp.

As readers open the first page of this early chapter book, Mr. Wolf is right there to greet them, bemoaning his reputation. "Just because I've got BIG POINTY TEETH and RAZOR-SHARP CLAWS and I occasionally like to dress up like an OLD LADY, that doesn't mean… / … I'm a BAD GUY." To prove this very fact, Mr. Wolf enlists three equally slandered friends into the Good Guys Club: Mr. Snake (aka the Chicken Swallower), Mr. Piranha (aka the Butt Biter), and Mr. Shark (aka Jaws). After some convincing from Mr. Wolf, the foursome sets off determined to un-smirch their names (and reluctantly curbing their appetites). Although these predators find that not everyone is ready to be at the receiving end of their helpful efforts, they use all their Bad Guy know-how to manage a few hilarious good deeds. Blabey has hit the proverbial nail on the head, kissed it full on the mouth, and handed it a stick of Acme dynamite. With illustrations that startle in their manic comedy and deadpan direct address and with a narrative that follows four endearingly sardonic characters trying to push past (sometimes successfully) their fear-causing natures, this book instantly joins the classic ranks of Captain Underpants and The Stinky Cheese Man.

We challenge anyone to read this and keep a straight face. (Fiction. 7-11)

Pub Date: Jan. 3, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-545-91240-2

Page Count: 144

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Sept. 19, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2016

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However the compelling fitness of theme and event and the apt but unexpected imagery (the opening sentences compare the...

TUCK EVERLASTING

At a time when death has become an acceptable, even voguish subject in children's fiction, Natalie Babbitt comes through with a stylistic gem about living forever. 

Protected Winnie, the ten-year-old heroine, is not immortal, but when she comes upon young Jesse Tuck drinking from a secret spring in her parents' woods, she finds herself involved with a family who, having innocently drunk the same water some 87 years earlier, haven't aged a moment since. Though the mood is delicate, there is no lack of action, with the Tucks (previously suspected of witchcraft) now pursued for kidnapping Winnie; Mae Tuck, the middle aged mother, striking and killing a stranger who is onto their secret and would sell the water; and Winnie taking Mae's place in prison so that the Tucks can get away before she is hanged from the neck until....? Though Babbitt makes the family a sad one, most of their reasons for discontent are circumstantial and there isn't a great deal of wisdom to be gleaned from their fate or Winnie's decision not to share it. 

However the compelling fitness of theme and event and the apt but unexpected imagery (the opening sentences compare the first week in August when this takes place to "the highest seat of a Ferris wheel when it pauses in its turning") help to justify the extravagant early assertion that had the secret about to be revealed been known at the time of the action, the very earth "would have trembled on its axis like a beetle on a pin." (Fantasy. 9-11)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1975

ISBN: 0312369816

Page Count: 164

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: April 13, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 1975

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