cover image The Supervillain’s Guide to Being a Fat Kid

The Supervillain’s Guide to Being a Fat Kid

Matt Wallace. HarperCollins/Tegen, $16.99 (272p) ISBN 978-0-06-300803-8

Eleven-year-old baking enthusiast Max Tercero, who is fat and reads as white, hopes that his first year at Captain Clobbertime Memorial Middle School will offer a respite from being bullied for his size. But when he becomes the favorite target of school water polo captain Johnny “Johnny Pro” Properzi, he knows that nothing has changed. Desperate, Max seeks advice from Maximo “Master Plan” Marconius III, an incarcerated supervillain and fellow “gentleman of size and intellect,” who once took on environmentally conscious escapades. Receiving Master Plan’s covert email guidance, Max begins gaining confidence and readying to take down Johnny Pro by using Johnny Pro’s increasingly aggressive behavior against him, all while navigating the anxieties of middle school, including the locker room and new and changing friendships. An epistolary conceit is well deployed here, creating a safe space for Max to voice his concerns and gain needed empathy and wisdom from an understanding (if not necessarily trustworthy) adult. Confronting the assumption that physical appearance correlates to morality or worth and reinforcing the idea that individual choices and actions show a person’s true self, Wallace (Bump) writes a triumphant arc of self-acceptance that extends to developing personal ethics and boundaries. Ages 8–12. Agent: DongWon Song, Howard Morhaim Literary. (Jan.)