Assassination Classroom

192p. (Assassination Classroom Series: Vol. 1). ebook available. Viz Media. 2014. pap. $9.99. ISBN 9781421576077.
Gr 9 Up—An alien who has the power to destroy the earth makes a couple of unusual decisions. First, he eradicates most of the moon (what's left of it is in a permanent crescent shape). Then he says that he will destroy the earth later that year unless class 3-E of Kunugigaoka Junior High can figure out how to kill him. Several factors make this seem like an impossible task—class 3-E is academically the worst class in the school, and the alien can move at Mach 20 speed, escaping every assassination attempt so far. The alien, nicknamed Koro Sensei ("teacher who can't be killed") by his students, is by turns hilarious, deadly, and an excellent teacher at the middle school. This book begins as a simple adventure story, but the further teens get into the story, the more they will see the subtext of "bad" students becoming empowered to find their real talents. Matsui's artwork is filled with action and humor, capturing the realistic aspects of the human characters and the smiley face and tentacles of the alien.
VERDICT An entertaining adventure story ranging from darkest to lightest comedy that will leave readers clamoring for the next books in the series.

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