Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Geeks, Girls, and Secret Identities Review

Book talk:  Vincent Wu knows Captain Stupendous like no one else.  Sure everyone in the city loves their caped crusader and there's four separate fan clubs devoted to him, but the one that Vincent is president of is the only one that's the real deal-even if it only has three members.  Still, Vincent takes his responsibilities seriously--he writes about Captain Stupendous for every school report, he knows all his moves, and he watches and re-watches footage of his fights.  But when he finally meets Captain Stupendous he's nothing like Vincent imagined him.  On the outside he's big, strong, and super fast but on the inside he's...a girl?  Something's gone terribly wrong and Captain Stupendous's stupendous powers have been passed on to a surly girl who doesn't even want to be a superhero.  Will Vincent and his friends be able to change her mind and whip her into shape or will Professor Mayhem take over the town?

Rocks my socks:  I love that the superman-esque hero of the story ends up being a sassy teenage girl who isn't thrilled about suddenly changing form into a burly man.  Just because she doesn't want to be a superhero doesn't mean that she can't kick butt though.  And she will kick Vincent's and his friends' butts if they don't watch what they say.  The awkward tensions that ensue among them are comedy gold and while Jung is clearly a fan of the superhero comic genre he isn't afraid to make fun of it either.  I enjoyed watching him play with superhero cliches and turn them on their heads.  I also appreciated that while there was a mad scientist there were good scientists as well.  In fact they use science to fight him and without their knowledge and quick-thinking Captain Stupendous would never be able to fight Mayhem.  I enjoyed the romantic subplot as well and the unconventional path it takes.

Rocks in my socks:  The plot is riddled with holes that nagged at me, but I was enjoying myself so much I was mostly able to ignore them.  I would have also preferred it if a bit more time was spent on character development. Hopefully we'll find out more about them in the next novel.

Every book its reader:  I'd give this to anyone 3rd grade and up looking for a humorous story.  Fans of superhero comics will enjoy the novel in particular.  The fast pacing and ample pictures make it great for those just starting to read full chapter books.  I'd also give it to anyone interested in stories that play with gender stereotypes and strong female leads.

So there's this video of Mike Jung performing a hilarious song he wrote, just watch it:

Mike Jung also has a website with a blog, information about him, and "contact the galactic emperor" feature

Scholastic has a page for the book as well

Source: Free ARC from #ALA12

Geeks, Girls, and Secret Identities by Mike Jung: Buy it or check it out today!

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