May 5, 2010

Review: Boy Books

Side note: you can vote on best National Poetry Month Post.

This is a series of mini-reviews I wrote over two months ago. I lost them when my lappie crashed, recovered them along with the rest of the hard drive, but still never posted them.

By Glenn Dakin

Book Cover

Available now from Egmont USA; Paperback available May 25th
Have face-melting fun here
Review copy

Book Cover

I am enjoying the current popularity of steampunk, even as it confirms that cyberpunk is truly dead. Likewise, I am enjoying Egmont USA's debut on the scene. Imprints seem to start with an impressive list, and I'm definitely looking forward to what this one will put out in the next year or so based on what I've read. (Check out Egmont USA titles I've read since.)

CANDLE MAN is a nice middle grade/young adult crossover title. It's written for a younger audience, but contains a complexity that will keep adults entertained. Plus, it's good for kids to read books that revel in shades of grey. CANDLE MAN has few characters that are true evil, despite resembling Saturday morning cartoon villains. In addition, the forces of evil speak only of kindness and doing good works. It's a nice introduction for kids to the use of rhetoric to conceal what's really going on. (The adventure story is pretty good too.)

By Josh Lieb
Available now from Razorbill (Penguin); Review copy

Book Cover

I AM A GENIUS OF UNSPEAKABLE EVIL AND I WANT TO BE YOUR CLASS PRESIDENT is often compared to Family Guy. This comparison is unfair. Both feature an evil child, but I AM A GENIUS OF UNSPEAKABLE EVIL is actually funny. (Better comparison? A cross of THE KID WHO BECAME PRESIDENT and THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LARRY.) When I began, I wondered if Oliver Watson was actually a genius or deluded by his mother. Then Josh Lieb made it absolutely clear that Oliver is a genius, if somewhat deluded about what he feels for his parents. This book is fast and funny, with fun pictures and footnotes. (Books that use footnotes are ten times as likely to be funny, no lie.) In a world where more and more books are part of a series, I miss reading a good standalone. I AM A GENIUS OF UNSPEAKABLE EVIL scratched that itched.

Check out the cool author video featuring Jon Stewart:

By James Patterson and Gabrielle Charbonnet
Available now from Little, Brown; Review copy

Book Cover

I threw this in with reviews of boy books, but despite the title, this book is more WITCH than WIZARD. Wisteria Allgood gets about 75% of the narration and 90% of the powers. I'm all for girl power, but it seemed like Whit never did anything despite being older and in better shape – perfect for fighting against a totalitarian state. The book's action scenes work, but it is not as fun as the Maximum Ride series by James Patterson. Perhaps it's because I felt the main themes were being beat into me by a sledgehammer. (William Blake did the similar themes better in his poem "The Book of Thel.") There's a good premise here, but the execution is pedestrian.


  1. Witch and Wizard - I didn't like this book. The story telling quality was superb but there is no story, really. The entire book is just chapter one of a bigger book with cliffhanger ending. Gave it a 1 out of 5 in my review:

  2. Yeah, my review is actually pretty positive. Mostly, it was lame. I doubt I pick up the second to find out if anything happens in it.


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