cover image Nothing Can Possibly Go Wrong

Nothing Can Possibly Go Wrong

Prudence Shen, illus. by Faith Erin Hicks. First Second, $16.99 trade paper (288p) ISBN 978-1-59643-659-6

When the school budget only allows for either new cheerleading uniforms or funding for a robotics competition, students at Hollow Ridge High take matters into their own hands in this exuberant escapade. At the center of the story are Charlie and Nate, neighbors and childhood friends who have stayed close despite drifting into different cliques (Charlie is the captain of the basketball team, while Nate heads up the robotics club). Debut author Shen and illustrator Hicks (Friends with Boys) employ high school mainstays—neurotic nerds, hive-minded cheerleaders, oblivious parents, and a contentious class election—but put a fresh spin on them, aligning the book with more recent teen phenomena such as Glee rather than, say, the films of John Hughes. Shen’s plot ably balances drama, humor, angst, and robotic geekery, giving the book an immediate YA appeal, but one that’s broad enough to be enjoyable to older readers, as well. Visually, Hicks’s wide-eyed, inky b&w panels infuse the characters with real emotion and personality, capturing the book’s heartfelt youthfulness. Ages 12–up. Author’s agent: Diana Fox, Fox Literary. Illustrator’s agent: Bernadette Baker-Baughman, Victoria Sanders & Associates. (May)■