Unbelievably Boring Bart

James Patterson and Duane Swierczynski, illus. by Xavier Bonet. Little, Brown/Patterson, $13.99 (272p) ISBN 978-0-316-41153-0
This illustrated novel blends coding, video games, aliens, and bullies into one snarky stew. Bartholomew Bean, unassuming new kid at school, wears his self-given title of “most boring middle schooler in the universe” like a badge of honor. That’s because he’s concealing a thrilling secret project: a virtual reality game app. “Boring Bart” endures transgressions from three school bullies all day, and at home brushes off bonding attempts from his sports-obsessed father in favor of tweaking his game. When his app goes viral, Bart wrestles with whether to reveal his identity and use the app to get back at his tormentors. A frenzied denouement—livestreamed for all to see—sort of allows both. Patterson and Swierczynski pepper their text with tech terms and serve up breezy pacing and of-the-moment subject matter. Bart’s narration sometimes has an overly knowing tone that can prove grating, but its teamwork-themed conclusion is laudable, and the final pages nicely tee up Bart’s promised next outing. Ages 8–12. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 08/13/2018
Release date: 09/03/2018
Pre-Recorded Audio Player - 978-1-5491-2020-6
Compact Disc - 978-1-4789-9593-7
Compact Disc - 978-1-5491-4570-4
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