Sunday, June 2, 2013

Book Review: NERDS - M is for Mama's Boy by Michael Buckley (NERDS #2)

Stars: 5 out of 5
Pros: Fun and funny adventure for all ages
Cons: None that I could find while reading it
The Bottom Line: More super spy fun
Outlandish but you won't care
Just enjoy the ride

More Laughs and Thrills with This Country's Best, and Youngest, Secret Agents

Michael Buckley has the most creative mind around.  NERDS is his second series of books aimed at kids, and the creativity is off the charts.  The series follows a group of fifth grade misfits.  They've been given abilities by nanobytes that they use to fight crime from a base below their elementary school.  It's a wild ride that is a funny as it is adventurous.  Yep, M Is for Mama's Boy is a great addition to the series.

The focus of this book is Duncan, aka Agent Gluestick.  Duncan has developed a love of eating glue, so naturally his ability is to stick to walls and even the ceiling.

It's been a few months since the end of the last book, and the NERDS team has been very busy stopping super villains from taking over the world.  Unfortunately, a super villain they thought they defeated is coming back.  He and a hoard of squirrels are robbing banks.  What could their dastardly plan be?

While the kids scramble to learn that, we are introduced to Albert, a middle aged man who still lives in his mama's basement.  Albert loves comic books and dreams of being a superhero.  Even without powers, he is using computers to fight crime without leaving the house.  But when his path crosses the previously mentioned super villain, he is offered the chance to become a real superhero.  Will he be able to do it without becoming an evil genius in the bargain?

As you can probably already tell, this book is over the top with outlandish villains and plots to take over the world.  Yet somehow, when you sit down to read the book, you completely by into the entire premise and world.  I realize this isn't realistic fiction, but I don't care.  It's just too much fun.

What helps ground it is the main characters.  While the entire NERDS team is around for the book, we really get to focus on Duncan and get to know him as a real person.  I liked the sub-plot about his dependence on technology, and his growth at the end of the book was great.  The rest of the team could be better developed, but I'm sure they'll be great when they get their own book.

As you might have figured out, the plot is over the top as well.  This is James Bond material at his outlandish best.  So, while things aren't that realistic, there aren't any plot holes.  What is presented here works for this book.  In a book trying to be serious, this plot would be stupid.  Here, I loved it.

The laughs also make the book.  There are occasional one liners.  Some of the situations the team faces are pretty funny as well.

The story is presented as a series of transmissions, and between them, we are presented with some secret messages with different cyphers we have to learn.  I could do without that most of the time, but it's just 15 pages or so of the 290 page book, so it's not a big distraction.  There are one or two graphic novel style illustrations in each chapter as well.  I found the book to be a very fast read, so I'm sure the target age of late elementary school kids will have no problem with it.

M Is for Mama's Boy fulfills the promise made from the first book in the series.  I can't wait for the next fun, wild adventure with this group of spies.

And once you get addicted to the series, you'll want to read the NERDS series in order.

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