Sven Carter has always known he was weirdly different…he just didn’t know he was extremely different (in a possibly apocalyptic way).
Seventh-grader Sven is called Trashmouth by his classmates because in times of stress (or any time really) he eats or licks gross things, such as pre-chewed gum stuck to the bottoms of seats and tables or the handrails on buses. He and his best friend, Will, who has OCD, decide that making a daredevil YouTube video will get them some popular attention. When the stunt goes horribly wrong, Sven’s severed arm moves on its own to reattach itself to his shoulder. A visit to the creepy family physician is no help. However, Alicia, the new girl at school, knows just what Sven is—and she’s sworn to destroy his kind. Sven is a Tick, a human-seeming robot and apparently a doomsday weapon. Can he and his new frenemy save humankind from giant clown snakes and killer roasted chickens? Vlock’s debut is a totally out-there adventure that switches things up at every turn. First-person narration by Sven ends each short chapter with a cliffhanger or a joke. Fourth-wall–breaking acknowledgements at the close are not as funny as probably intended, and Will’s OCD feels more like a bunch of tics than a genuine disability, there for laughs rather than exploration. Characters are default white.
Lovers of gross-out humor and slightly science-y mysteries might enjoy spending time with Sven. (Science fiction/adventure. 9-12)