Saturday, October 1, 2016

Kid Konnection: The Mighty Odds

Every Saturday, I host a feature called Kid Konnection -- a regular weekend feature about anything related to children's books. This week I'm going to share with you a new middle grade book that's sure to be the start of a terrific series.

Summary: From the renowned author/illustrator of the Popularity Papers series, Amy Ignatow, comes the first installment in a new series about a diverse crew of middle school kids who develop very limited superhero powers after a strange accident and manage to become unlikely friends on the adventure of a lifetime.

When a sweet nerd, an artsy cartoonist, a social outcast, and the most popular girl in school are involved in a mysterious bus accident, this seemingly random group of kids starts to notice some very strange abilities they did not have before. Artsy Martina can change her eye color. Nerdy Nick can teleport . . . four inches to the left. Outcast Farshad develops super strength, but only in his thumbs. And Cookie, the It Girl of school’s most popular clique, has suddenly developed the ability to read minds . . . when those minds are thinking about directions. They are oddly mighty—especially together.

This group—who would never hang out under normal circumstances—must now combine all of their strengths to figure out what happened during the bus accident. With alternating narratives from each of the heroes, including illustrated pieces from Martina, and featuring bold female superheroes and a multicultural cast, The Mighty Odds is The Breakfast Club for a new generation. -- Abrams

When I learned that Amy Ignatow, author of the Popularity Papers series, had a new book out, I jumped at the chance to read it. I loved meeting Amy years ago at the Kid Lit Festival at Aaron's Books, and Booking Daughter and I both enjoyed the Popularity Papers books. It just so happened that I received an ARC of her new novel THE MIGHTY ODDS prior to leaving for SIBA, and I read it right away. It was so good! Imagine my surprise when I arrived at a SIBA book signing to find that Amy was there signing final copies of THE MIGHTY ODDS!

THE MIGHTY ODDS is the first book in a new series about a group of middle school kids who find themselves with super-hero powers after a bus accident. These kids aren't a pretty diverse group -- one is a nerd, one is an artist, one is a bit of an outcast, and the last one is the most popular girl in the school! When they find themselves thrown together on the same small bus after a field trip, they are less than thrilled.

Things begin to get strange when the bus crashes and the driver mysteriously disappears. They get even stranger when each kid discovers that they have a new super power... and it's not exactly a typical superpower. The artist Martina's eyes can change color without any notice. Nick, the sweet but nerdy kid, can teleport... or kind of. He can move exactly four inches to the right -- that's it. Farshad, a social outcast because of his heritage, becomes super strong but only with his thumbs. And Cookies, the popular one, can read minds but only when the minds are thinking about directions. Doesn't the title of the book suddenly make sense?

This unlikely group of kids suddenly finds themselves drawn together after the accident. In an effort to make sense of the bus accident, they must work together and use their new powers to solve the mysteries.

I adored THE MIGHTY ODDS and can't rave enough about this middle grade book! The book is most definitely entertaining with its multiple narrator format and its adorable illustrations. There is also enough action in the story to attract even the most reluctant of readers. On top of that, it's also pretty darn funny.

I have no doubt that middle grade readers will love this book. Truly, there's a lot of love about it. It addresses issues that kids can relate to like feeling left out, wanting to make friends, unrequited crushes, being bullied, being judged unfairly, being stereotyped, and more. And I definitely think kids will love seeing how this band of misfits work together for a greater purpose!

As a mom, I loved the story and the unique (and diverse!) cast of characters, but I really appreciated so many of the messages. They aren't in-your-face messages that will turn off kids. Rather, they are revealed through the characters' actions. The character of Farshad is treated pretty poorly because he is Iranian American -- the kids even call him "Terror Boy." His story broke my heart, but I loved that the kids eventually learned to value him for his strength and intelligence.

In addition, I appreciated that the popular (and sometimes mean) girl Cookie learned a lot of valuable lessons about not only the other kids in school but also herself. Despite being thrown for quite a loop, Cookie and all of the kids learned to depend on their own skills, as well as the strengths of others. In so many ways, this book features important messages about friendship and life in general... and, in my book, that makes for a great middle grade novel.

It's probably no surprise that the kids in THE MIGHTY ODDS figure many things out by the end of the novel; however, the author has definitely left the story open-ended for future installments in this series. Personally, I'm hooked and can't wait to see what's in store for this unusual group of friends.

Thanks to the publisher for providing a review copy of this book.

If you'd like to participate in Kid Konnection and share a post about anything related to children's books (picture, middle grade, or young adult) from the past week, please leave a comment as well as a link below with your name/blog name and the title of the book! Feel free to grab the little button too!


Kate Unger said...

That series sounds great. I'm adding it to my list to read aloud to my son when he's a little older. We've discovered a couple of great super hero series for younger readers recently, and we're having a great time reading lately. Dog Man, Ricky Ricotta's Mighty Robot, and Peter Powers have all been great reads lately.

bermudaonion said...

I remember how excited you were when you saw her. This book sounds fabulous! I can't wait to read it.

Stacie said...

Reminds me a tiny bit of a Disney show my daughter watches and loves. I'll have to tell her about this book.