What’s the Matter with Newton?

Simon Spotlight/S. & S./. (Franken-Sci High: Bk. 1). Aug. 2019. 176p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781481491310; pap. $6.99. ISBN 9781481491303.
Gr 2-4–Young, previously of the children’s television world, enters the kid lit scene with the first installment of his “Franken-Sci High” series. The premise is frightfully familiar. A group of misfits (the children of mad scientists) band together in a school fashioned just for them. Like readers, Newton Warp is a newcomer to this world, not just because he is a freshman but also because he’s been hit with a nasty case of amnesia. Shelly, a helpful human, makes quick friends with Newton and helps him navigate the tricky school while genius robot Theremin tries to temper his jealousy. Academic war wages as the students gear up for the science fair. Typical school drama ensues as the contestants vie for the top prize. All this transpires while Newton attempts to regain his memory and unravel personal mysteries. Peppered with full-page illustrations, this is a quick read with a slightly uneven plot that drags in the middle. The characters are reasonably developed.
VERDICT Ultimately, this feels like a tale told many times before, with little to reinvigorate the narrative. A very large collection might find a place for it, but most can skip.

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