Weird Kid

Harper/HarperCollins/. Jul. 2021. 208p. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780062970602.
Gr 3-7–Jake, a sixth grader, navigates middle school and his seemingly uncontrollable shape-shifting. Jake is an alien who “fell to earth in a flaming blob of goo.” Now, that same goo is back, infiltrating his town and creating “imblobsters” out of the residents. It’s up to Jake, along with his savvy new best friend Agnes, to solve the mystery of the goo and get everything back to normal. This has all the makings of a great middle grade sci-fi novel: an evil scientist, mysterious goo, an alien preteen, and more than one butt joke. Graphic novel fans will relate to Jake and Agnes’s bond over their shared love of the comic Night Kite. Music also plays a large role in the story and Jake’s life. At its heart, this is a tale about accepting who you are, taking control of your talents and abilities, and fighting for what is right. The ending wraps up neatly but hints at the opportunity for a sequel. Jake’s (adoptive) parents are Dutch Indonesian, and Agnes is white.
VERDICT The short page count, humor, and action make this a good choice for reluctant readers. A solid purchase for school and public libraries.

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