Wunderkind Marcionette returns with another tale about his gifted preteen, Just Jake (2014).
After a rocky start, Jake Mathews finally feels at home among the other gifted “misfits” in Mrs. Pilsen’s sixth-grade class at Kinney Elementary. But just as he gets his groove back, Jake’s teacher goes and delivers a baby in the middle of the year, leaving Jake and the rest of the class in the hands of Ms. Cane, a pink-haired, tattooed, ex–prison guard substitute. Even his older sister, Alexis, who has yet to lose or shy away from a battle, pales in comparison to Ms. Cane. In this sequel, Marcionette allows a well-developed and engaging cast of secondary characters to share the spotlight with Jake as he struggles to survive twin antagonists: the maniacal substitute, who plots to use her students to launch a pet-grooming business in order to fund her retirement, and his evil sister, who’s determined to exact revenge on him for blowing her cover at the dinner table. Things grow even more interesting when his worlds collide and Alexis and Ms. Cane join forces. This high-concept novel is laugh-out-loud funny and filled with collaged-in illustrations, screen shots and even a few rap lyrics, not only adding to the humor, but also breaking up the text in a way that may attract less-confident readers.
Jake Mathews' “AWESOMENESS” is legit, and fans will be clamoring for more. (Fiction. 9-12)