Title: The Mighty Odds
Author: Amy Ignatow
Review: The first thing I noticed about this book was the opening pages were newspaper and web extracts which was interesting. I also loved the comic strips and images that are dotted throughout the book. The spinets of information we are given are interesting but not riveting but I am hoping that the plot and characters will change that for me as I progress through the novel. Over the first couple of chapters we are introduced to our slightly strange bunch of main characters each with their own strange habits and issues. I also like the fact the characters of different races and religions mentioned making this book pretty diverse from the offset. The book is sort of centered around a school trip with according to the newspaper articles in the front of the book didn’t end well from some.
The two characters I feel very sorry from the offset are Nick and Farshad. These two characters seems to have really hard lives Nick’s father is very sick although we are not told with what illness. Farshad has two very successful scientist parents but his school life is hell as he has been branded with the nickname “terror boy” as some of the meaner kids believe he is a terrorist. I liked seeing the dynamic and not always perfect relationships between the characters and despite the book starting off slowly when the big event occurs it really ramps up the tension and action. This rag tag bunch of misfits are suddenly thrown into an unfamiliar situation and to top it all off they all start to experience some strange changes, a bit like super powers but only weirder like the characters themselves.
After the accident the book does actually become really interesting with the kids involved in the accident developed strange powers, a mysterious girl appears and the bus driver disappears. Strange! I can’t wait to see where this story will end for this misfit group, especially for Cookie and Nick who appear to be the ones who are struggling to understand and control their powers. As we come towards the half way point in the novel I was not blown away by the simple writing style or the slow start but I was interested in where Ignatow was going to take these characters and the story. I did find though this book was appeal a lot more to a younger audience as the simple writing style makes for very easy and quick reading despite the slow start. I also loved how the drawing don’t always relate to the story at one point they explain why Martina is always drawn with alien antenna on her head despite not actually having them in real life.
As the kids begin to understand and control their powers they learn that their substitute teacher Mr. Friend who had also been on the bus is most likely the one causing all the explosions and spontaneous fires breaking out all over town as he is searching for them. It is almost as if they are all being drawn to one another. While Farshad is the skeptic of the group even he doesn’t need a lot of convincing just some logical thinking. As the kids try and track down Mr. Friend and stop his destructive power and big danger element is added to the story and we are left thinking how are these children with some of the lamest powers ever going to stop an adult who can make thing explode? So as we come into the final 20% of the novel we still have quite a few questions floating around our minds.
My favorite character was Nick because he is a very calm and kind person but he is also hiding a lot of his own problems. When given the powers he isn’t selfish he is always thinking about someone else with it is one of his friends like Jay or saving his mother from a burning house. Nick seems very down to earth and grounded for someone of his age, he also makes a nice antagonist for Cookie who is very loud, obnoxious and allows wanting to be in control of everything and everyone connected to her.
My favorite part of the book was the scene where the kids find out they have super powers because even though it is a predictable move it was done in such a way that you were still surprised as the reader when it happens.
In conclusion I though the ending was very confusing and needed a lot more clarification but there was an opening left for a second book which should start by cleaning up the questions from the first book like who is Ms. Zelle? What was the whole barn scene about? Can the kids reverse their powers? and the big one; What happened next? I would highly recommend this book to middle grade readers who wouldn’t be overly concerned about the plot holes and the confusing ending. I would advise young adult readers to be prepared to ignore a lot of the down sides to this book and just focus on the character driven plot rather than the plot itself.
This book was sent to me for review consideration by Abrams & Chronicle
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