A class clown tries to get his act together.
Farley Andrew Turner has a lot going on. His initials amount to the very unfortunate FAT, he’s desperate to shed his big-’n’-funny guy image, and Anna, the former girl next door, is back in town and cuter than ever. Farley pines for Anna and vows to improve himself, so much so that he accidentally unleashes a 6-inch-tall self-help guru named Tomy (for “The Online Master” plus “why”) from the internet. Tomy causes Farley nothing but trouble, and the only way to be rid of him is for Farley to actually do the work and improve himself. As Farley gets in shape, broadens his comfort zone, and gets to know Anna, Gangsei balances a very silly attitude against the growing pains of adolescence. It’s a tricky tightrope to walk, and the author pulls it off for the most part, only occasionally going too broad. (A little bit of Tomy goes a long way.) What starts out as a typical “gotta get the girl” middle school story eventually turns into a “gotta understand that the girl is more than just the girl” story, which is a welcome change. Anna is just as engaging and endearing as Farley. Farley and Anna are both white, but the supporting cast of characters is fairly diverse.
An agreeably silly yet occasionally poignant comedy. (Fantasy. 10-14)