Nothing can possibly go wrong by Prudence Shen and Faith Erin Hicks ISBN: 9781596436596
Plot Summary: Charlie and Nate are best friends. It’s been that way since they were children. They’ve changed in a lot of ways since then, Charlie getting into sports and becoming more popular, and Nate joining the robotics club at school, but their friendship stays constant. But things start to go wrong. Charlie’s girlfriend Holly, the head cheerleader, breaks up with him. Both Holly and Nate want funding from the school, so Nate runs for school president, and she makes Charlie run against him. The race is getting cutthroat, and Charlie is put in the middle. Then Nate and Charlie come up with an idea for everyone to get funding. The Robotics Club will to enter a robot battle by souping up a robot. But they are going to need financial backers, and Holly and her squad are looking like the only option. Can they convince her to work with them? Can they get along long enough to pull this thing off?
Critical Evaluation: Graphic novels have some advantages over straight text novels. You have both written and visual ways to express your story. There’s something beautifully simple about simply drawing someone’s embarrassed or hurt expression, as opposed to describing it. On the other hand, there is overall less space to get your story across in a graphic novel. The way a character can really get their point across in just a look. I really enjoyed the way the text and illustrations complemented each other in this story. There didn’t seem to be much excess in that sense. Don’t get me wrong—there is a lot of skill in being able to convey the same thing through writing, which is also beautiful, but graphic novels are easy. It’s not surprising that they are so popular with reluctant readers. This was the case in this novel. The main characters backgrounds are shared over a couple of mostly wordless pages of their shared experiences. It’s clear through the way they talk to each other that even when they are mad at the other, there’s too much history between them. I found the language and conversation (since that is the only text available) to be authentic sounding and helpful at conveying emotions, connections, and moving the plot along. This is not necessarily a great work of art, but it is a lot of fun.
Reader’s Annotation: When school budgets get cut, both the cheerleader’s uniforms and the Robotics Club’s supplies are on the line. A fierce political battle begins for president of student council begins, but maybe, if they work together on a robot rumble, everyone can get the funding they want. The only problem is, they hate each other.
Information about the author: This is Prudence Shen’s first book, while Faith Erin Hicks has written several before. Both considered themselves geeks as teens, though Faith tried to hide it. Prudence says she was obsessed with X-Files as a teen and intense reading. Faith would spend hours alone in her room writing stories, but didn’t feel comfortable sharing her nerdy tendencies with friends.
Faith Erin Hicks was born in rural British Colombia. She lives along the ocean in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Prudence Shen was born in 1984, and now lives in New York.
Genre: Graphic Novel, Humor
Curriculum ties, if any: The characters in the book are working on a robot, which I know has engineering, hence scientific and mathematic relations, so perhaps there is a connection there.
Booktalking Ideas: I would highlight the humor, the classic comedic pair up of groups that hate each other, and of course, robots!
Reading Level/Interest Age: Characters are juniors and seniors in high school. Publisher’s Weekly suggests this book for ages 12 and up, and School Library Journal for grades 6-9, but both think older readers will enjoy it as well.
None. There is no sexual content and very little rough language. One reviewer on Amazon said that she felt totally comfortable giving it to her 9 year old to read. So, I’m going to assume that this is a pretty safe bet.
Why did you include this book? : It sounded like an entertaining read, and represents a particular kind of graphic novel.
About Faith Erin Hicks (2013). Faith Erin Hicks website. Retrieved from http://www.faitherinhicks.com/about/
Prudence Shen author page. Macmillan website. Retrieved from us.macmillan.com/author/prudenceshen
Shen, P., Hicks, F.E. (May 10, 2013). Why being a young geek will make you a cool adult. Huff Post Books. Retrieved from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/prudence-shen/why-being-a-young-geek-wi_b_3254296.html