Action and sci-fi go hand in hand as Jackson presents the high-octane adventures of a snarky teenage girl who sets out with her nerdy uncle to save the world from evil robots.
This raucous story charges out of the gate as misfit ninth-grader Jill Bash tells her class what she did for summer vacation—and a giant green eye peers through the window. Thus the stage is set for a fast-paced adventure, complete with secret agents and a government experiment that gives Jill superhuman strength. The capricious plot—which leaps from high school to the streets of San Francisco to a house in the country—is told mostly from Jill’s point of view, with italicized notes from Uncle Matt interspersed throughout. Angry because her hardworking parents have little time to spend with her, Jill, who wears combat boots with black-and-pink lipstick, is forced to spend time with Uncle Matt. She soon discovers that dorky Uncle Matt the accountant is actually a spy who does cool things, like jumping into the back of a speeding truck to battle the bad guys. Jill takes suburban angst to a whole new bratty level: she calls her uncle a “turd” and spitefully wipes boogers inside his car. Her voice doesn’t always sound like a young teen’s, as when she describes Uncle Matt’s new truck: “The truck roared like a showroom vehicle with a deep and steady push coming from its dual chrome-tipped exhaust pipes.” Likewise, as in plenty of action flicks, the characters’ witty banter can be unrealistically flippant during death-defying moments. For example, after a giant metal saw blade comes out of nowhere and rips through their car, Jill removes her earbuds and proclaims, “Beyoncé rocks!” The story doesn’t seem too concerned with deep characterization or even a plausible plot, but the nearly nonstop action still keeps the pages turning. Young teens who love zany adventures will want to check this one out.
Goth girl meets The Nutty Professor meets The Terminator.