NOTE: For some reason, Google forms is suddenly creating a popup for some people asking if you want to leave this page when you click away. Just say yes! I can't figure out how to stop it.
Have you ever been the new kid in school? Even if you have, I bet you had it easy compared to Kelvin, whose new home is very, very far away from his last one. Oh and did I forget to mention the dodgy principal, a food fight, and the mad scientist?
Seriously? Mom and Dad expect me to get up and go to school the morning after a 329,000,000,000,000,000-mile road trip across the galaxy? And I'm not even a morning person to begin with. I can't fake being sick, either. Not with the sterile environment of the space station. No germs = no sickness. Ever. Not even the sniffles. At least I got a good night's sleep. The zero-gravity pods in our LIV spaces are waaaay mroe comfortable than regular beds. And you sleep standing up, so they take up less space.—Sci-Fi Junior High by John Martin and Scott Seegert (Jimmy Patterson, 2017, p. 7)
- Setting: the Galactic Science Hub, somewhere in our galaxy
- Circumstances: Kelvin Klosmo's parents are two of the smartest scientists around and are often called on to work on special projects, which means Kelvin and his little sister, Bula, move often. Everyone assumes Kelvin's the smartest kid in the universe because he inherited double intelligence from his parents. Kelvin, however, is trying to hide the fact that his brilliance hasn't quite kicked in yet. Just days after he settles into his new school—Sciriustrati Fibronoculareus (aka Sci-Fi) Junior High—and starts to make new friends, the space station is threatened by an evil scientist. Can Kelvin and his friends save the galaxy?
- Genre and medium: science fiction combined with humor; a mix of chapter book and graphic novel
- Themes: family friendship, learning how to be yourself instead of trying to impress others
- Characters: the Klosmo family; a strict principal; male and female students at school; a villian
- The good: I really like the premise behind this story and the new Jimmy Patterson imprint, which is geared to making reading fun for kids just getting into longer books. Sci-Fi Junior High is written in short chapters, many of which are drawn out in comic book form, and the dialogue is introduced with icons of the characters, which makes the story easy to follow. There is a very diverse cast of individuals (creatures from around the universe), but they are familiar in personality, so young readers will easily relate.
- The less good: The story itself isn't told chronologically, and the transitions weren't always smooth. I think the dialogue would appeal to youngsters, but it didn't always work for an adult reader, but—of course—adults are not the intended audience. Finally, the plot was somewhat formulaic, but that's again from an adult perspective.
- Recommendations: Young middle grade readers (8- to 10-year-olds), the target audience for Sci-Fi Junior High, will love the humor and adventure of Kelvin's story. Kids just getting addicted to reading and moving into chapter books will love the drawings and sections told through comic book panels. This book is a terrific way to help children discover the adventure of reading.
- Other things to know: You can follow the new Jimmy Patterson imprint (a division of Hachette Book Group) on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram and can learn more by visiting the official website. Look for hashtag #SciFiJuniorHigh across all your social media.
Thanks to the great people at Jimmy Patterson Books, I have a super giveaway today: one reader with a U.S. mailing address will not only receive a copy of John Martin and Scott Seegert's Sci-Fi Junior High but will also get a cool iron-on patch, a pencil case, and rocket ship pens! This is seriously awesome book swag. All you have to do to be entered for a chance to win is to fill out the following form. I'll pick a winner via random number generator on March 7. Once the winner has been confirmed, I'll erase all personal information from my computer. Good luck!