Wednesday, September 14, 2011
Accidental Genius of Weasel High by Rick Detorie
Although there were a few confusing points in the story, for the most part I really liked Detorie's story of a hapless fourteen year old filmophile. Larkin desperately wants a new camcorder so he can get started on his way to becoming a world famous filmmaker. But his dad won't lend him the money to get one, citing the two bikes he carelessly left out to get stolen. Then he gets a part-time job working for an old lady, he loses the girlfriend he never had, he's got problems with a bully, and...could life get any worse?
Larkin is a completely believable 14 year old. His daydreams, fantasies, frustrations, and his whole voice are vibrant and sympathetic. He's not always a perfect guy, but he's pretty nice most of the time. He works hard to get what he wants, but sometimes he loses focus. I didn't care as much for Larkin's best friend, Freddie. He was too quirky to be believable and I didn't get why Larkin and Freddie were still friends, other than Larkin's reluctance to deal with people changing. Larkin's sister was extremely annoying, albeit a realistic character. I've mentioned before I have no patience with the "let the older teenager be nasty because he/she is going through a phase". Even allowing for Larkin's one-sided point of view, she takes unfair advantage of everyone and doesn't contribute anything to the family. I'm strongly in favor of teens contributing, adolescent angst or not.
This book is aimed at an older audience than Diary of a Wimpy Kid, although Larkin has some of the same worries and problems - like his height, annoying siblings, and trying to talk to girls. I liked the more organized illustrations - many of them in comic strip format. There isn't "inappropriate" material for younger readers, just a generally older feel. This would be a perfect book for 6th grade and up.
Verdict: Strongly recommended. I suggest this title and Emond's Happyface for kids who started Wimpy Kid in middle school and now want something older.
ISBN: 9781606841495; Published April 2011 by Egmont; ARC received from publisher at ALA Midwinter 2011; Purchased for the library