Weird Kid

by Greg Van Eekhout (Author)

Weird Kid
Reading Level: 4th – 5th Grade

From the author of Cog and Voyage of the Dogs, Weird Kid is a hilarious and heartfelt homage to everyone who feels like they don't belong. Perfect for fans of Gordon Korman and Stuart Gibb.

Jake Wind is trying to stay under the radar. Whose radar? Anyone who might be too interested in the fact that he has shapeshifting abilities he can't control. Or that his parents found him as a ball of goo when he was a baby.

Keeping his powers in check is crucial, though, if he wants to live a normal life and go to middle school instead of being homeschooled (and if he wants to avoid being kidnapped and experimented on, of course). Things feel like they're going his way when he survives his first day of school without transforming and makes a new friend.

But when mysterious sinkholes start popping up around town--sinkholes filled with the same extraterrestrial substance as Jake--and his neighbors, classmates, and even his family start acting a little, well, weird, Jake will have to learn to use his powers in order to save his town.

School Library Journal

Gr 3-7-Jake, a sixth grader, navigates middle school and his seemingly uncontrollable shape-shifting. Jake is an alien who "fell to earth in a flaming blob of goo." Now, that same goo is back, infiltrating his town and creating "imblobsters" out of the residents. It's up to Jake, along with his savvy new best friend Agnes, to solve the mystery of the goo and get everything back to normal. This has all the makings of a great middle grade sci-fi novel: an evil scientist, mysterious goo, an alien preteen, and more than one butt joke. Graphic novel fans will relate to Jake and Agnes's bond over their shared love of the comic Night Kite. Music also plays a large role in the story and Jake's life. At its heart, this is a tale about accepting who you are, taking control of your talents and abilities, and fighting for what is right. The ending wraps up neatly but hints at the opportunity for a sequel. Jake's (adoptive) parents are Dutch Indonesian, and Agnes is white. VERDICT The short page count, humor, and action make this a good choice for reluctant readers. A solid purchase for school and public libraries.

Copyright 2021 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

Review quotes

"Van Eekhout brings considerable heart and wisdom to this coming-of-age tale. A thought-provoking tale for younger readers about hubris and what it means to be human."—Kirkus Reviews
Lexile Measure
Guided Reading Level
Publication date
July 20, 2021
Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, 07/01/21

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