Monday, 18 July 2011

Review: The Odd Job Squad by Karl Fields

The Odd Job SquadThirteen-year-old Ander Cartwright is an expert on two subjects: fortune cookies and payback.

Especially payback.

When he’s not struggling with algebra, Ander is the leader of an anonymous revenge club that operates within the walls of Marina Middle School. Got a beef with a classmate? Email Ander’s crew and, if your case if legit, they’ll get even on your behalf.

It’s not easy to right wrongs and stay under the radar at the same time. That’s why Ander developed three simple rules designed to help him and his friends from blowing their cover.

But when Ander spots the opportunity to settle an old score of his own, he ignores his own rules, setting off a chain of events that threatens to blow his cover, and it’ll take all the butt-kicking, detention-dodging skill the guys can muster to keep a lid on their secret.

Karl Fields may possibly have made it to my favorite people in the world list. Okay, that's a bit of an exaggeration, but he's definitely made it onto my favorite authors of the year list.

While most readers of my blog will recognise that most of my reviews are for YA books, I will occasionally slip into children's and middle grade books, if my mood permits it. While The Odd Job Squad is marketed as middle grade, I think that the appeal for this book is a lot wider than that, and I would recommend it to anybody who wants a fun and relatively fast read.

I usually struggle to get into books, but with The Odd Job Squad I was literally grabbed by the first page and this book is totally the type of book that, while it isn't on-the-edge-of-your-seat, unable to put it down reading, it's so fun that you won't want to put it down. I totally adored the concept and story of this novel, while it's simple it is also so fun and has such an amazing cast of characters to carry it. 

Ahh... yes... the characters. I loved the main character, Ander. Ander is the narrator for the story and while at some points it seemed as though his voice was a little too mature for a thirteen year old, this actually seemed to fit with Ander's character, so it didn't bother me. The other characters are awesome too, Joe, the gothish computer geek, Christian the short and cool skateboarder and Shooter, the only girl of the group (though she is a tomboy). All of these characters came of real, which I totally loved.

There are subtle hints of romance, which totally had me singing "And they call it puppy loooove" in my head, it was that cute! Ander is just beginning to notice that Shooter is a girl and this was so cute. The subtle thoughts and little jealousies that come out are enough to make any romance lover SQUEEE because it's so cute! Massive Kudos to Karl for making me squee!  

This book also deals with moral issues though; friendship, loyalty, revenge and trust are all issues that are dealt with, but not in an in-your-face way, in a subtle way so you wouldn't actually notice unless you were either a very discerning reader or a reviewer digging deep to find some flaw about this book (I'm coming up empty though!)

Overall, The Odd Job Squad is one of the most fun and engaging reads that I have read this year, and I am totally looking forward to the authors next middle-grade installment. Definitely one that I recommend you buy for a quick but totally entertaining read!

Overall rating: A+

Stand alone/series: Stand alone
Book obtained via: (eBook) Sent for review by the author


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