cover image Chadwick’s Epic Revenge

Chadwick’s Epic Revenge

Lisa Doan, illus. by Natalie Andrewson. Roaring Brook, $16.99 (288p) ISBN 978-1-250-15409-5

All that sixth-grader Chadwick Musselman wants to do is finally come on top against devious bully Terry Vance and win the attention of the lovely red-haired Jana. Instead, he winds up on the receiving end of Terry’s pranks, and with every defeat, Chadwick looks worse while Terry gains popularity and sympathy. The only way Chadwick can win the war is to break all the rules. Doan’s tale is populated by exaggerated characters—from Chadwick’s perpetually hungry best friend, Rory, to scarily smart Suva Singh, to burned-out science teacher Mr. Samson—and they sometimes possess more appeal than the hapless protagonist. Slapstick humor and a fast pace keep the story flowing, but the constant stream of humiliation inflicted upon Chadwick is more frustrating than funny, and his occasional victories aren’t fulfilling enough to achieve a satisfying balance. The underlying message, that it’s better to admit wrongdoing and apologize early, is a mature one; the implicit idea that warring with a bully is futile has a realistic sting as well. Ages 8–12. Agent: Kathryn Green, Kathryn Green Literary Agency. [em](June) [/em]