Book Reviews, Reading

Book Review: The Almost Epic Squad: Mucus Mayhem by Kevin Sylvester

In this hilarious, new series, four ordinary kids are about to learn that they are on deck. . . to save the world!

Jessica Flem has spent the better part of her life so far reacting allergically to everything – and much of it in her basement where she rules the online game Gang of Greats. She’s used to a nose that never stops running, but is not prepared for the mysterious power that shows up around her thirteenth birthday – the ability to transform her mucus-filled tissues into slimy magical helpers. And just in time, too.

It turns out there are forces both good and evil who have had their eyes on her and three other “special” kids since their exposure at birth to a mysterious element called reidium. Jess must draw on her full video game knowledge to face the evil Boss and her equally evil henchwoman in their quest for world domination. With her best friend Cliff at her side, and with the stakes ratcheting higher and higher, Jess and her arsenal of mighty. . . well, tissues, must make the world of Dimly, Manitoba, a safe place once again.

In this hilarious new multi-author series, four kids are about to discover what they’re really made of. It might not be a superpower, but it sure is almost a superpower!

Each book features an 8-page “origin story” comic strip, illustrated by Britt Wilson, and is penned by an all-star line-up of authors, including Kevin Sylvester (MiNRS and Neil Flambe series) Ted Staunton (Bounced; Seven series), Lesley Livingston (Wondrous Strange; Valiant series) and Richard Scrimger (ZomboyThe Nose from Jupiter)

My Thoughts

Our next MYRCA (Manitoba Young Readers’ Choice Award) novel was The Almost Epic Squad: Mucus Mayhem by Kevin Sylvester. One book of a four-book series where each book is written by a different author.

I took a couple of days after finishing the book to think about this review. Personally, I didn’t care for this book too much. It wasn’t the nicest read out-loud book, just from the way it’s written (more on this later.) However, the boys loved it and I think it’s a better read, if read in your head.

It’s certainly gross enough to entertain a 10 and 12 year old boy. You can’t get much better than snot monsters for that age group. They were thoroughly grossed out and laughed at the antics of the zany story line. Me, being a writer myself, wouldn’t give a damn that “mom” [me] couldn’t relate to the book, and would be stoked that the appropriate audience was well entertained. So on that note, if you’re looking for something for a middle-grader – this should be a hit (and disregard my prior paragraph.)

The characters are well-developed. The writing is good. I’ll likely pick up the other books in the series so my boys can read them on their own.

Now, I made a comment above about the way the book is written, when characters switch often between dialogue and thoughts in their head, it’s difficult to convey the difference when reading a story out loud without disrupting the story. But when this can’t be conveyed correctly, sometimes a joke is lost, or context is changed. I opt to not interrupt the story and just read it as it is, however, I know there were times that I had a better understanding of what was going on, because I could see how it was written. Which is why I think this story is better read to oneself.

It was nice to see a book comparable to Diary of a Wimpy Kid, or the like, taking place in small town Manitoba, it made it fun to think of the story taking place “in our own backyard.”

We do recommend this book.

An interesting side note: our next MYRCA book is Miles to Go by Beryl Young, which also just happens to be the book selected for my YA Book Club for January. So, the review for that will include both the thoughts of the book club members as well as my boys.

This is an unsolicited review, I purchased this copy through Amazon.

  • Hardcover: 200 pages
  • Publisher: Scholastic Canada (Sept. 25 2018)
  • ISBN-13: 978-1443157797

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