A good kid trains to become a villain.
Twelve-year-old white kid Victor Spoil comes from a long, long line of famous supervillains. His mother and father are known around the world as the Spoil Sports, and they’ve been hoping and praying that Victor will follow in their footsteps. But Victor has a problem. Victor is, unfortunately, a good person. Victor can’t stand messes, doesn’t roughhouse, and is polite to everyone he meets. At their wits’ end, his parents call in the disgraced white supervillain the Smear to train Victor. Victor and the Smear go on the road, battling heroes in scripted fights and learning from each other along the way. The novel is harmless enough, but those thirsty for superhero action will be disappointed. With the costumes and arranged battles, these superheroes are nothing more than big-time wrestlers. The plotting is episodic, and the characterization is quite poor—everyone seems to speak in the same bland, “too cool for school” style that seems to be becoming the norm in the James Patterson Presents middle-grade books. The humor, meanwhile, is barely middle-grade, leaning heavily on underwear jokes. When all is said and done, the novel barely registers. Readers may even forget about this one as they’re reading it.
Entirely skippable. (Adventure. 7-10)