cover image Weird Kid

Weird Kid

Greg van Eekhout. HarperCollins, $16.99 (208p) ISBN 978-0-06-297060-2

A shape-shifting alien faces middle school and strange local events in Van Eekhout’s (Cog) funny, riveting novel. Raised as a human since falling to Earth “in a flaming blob of goo,” narrator Jake Wind has spent the summer avoiding his best friend, practicing guitar in his Arizona suburb, and struggling to hold his human form as the child of Dutch Indonesian parents. If he shifts in public, everyone will know that he’s not “a totally boring absolutely non-weird and completely solid individual.” When school starts and large sinkholes filled with goo begin opening up all over town, Jake joins forces with new schoolmate and fellow comic enthusiast Agnes Oakes, who is white, to discover what the goo is, why it’s turning people into “imblopsters,” and whether it’s related to the hum that accompanies his unwanted shifts. Impeccably toned middle school humor (“Those holes are really becoming a problem,” Jake’s proctologist father says of the sinkholes), paired with action-packed hijinks and a poignant extended metaphor about finding one’s identity, results in a heartfelt, pitch-perfect middle grade novel. Ages 8–12. [em]Agent: Holly Root, Root Literary. (July) [/em]