Julian is sick of being a loser, tired of getting bullied, fed up with rejection. So when his parents announce that they’re moving to a new town, he decides that the time is right for a makeover: from nerd to normal. Unfortunately, it’s hard to hide who you really are inside, but fortunately for Julian, there are two people at his school who like him for his nerdness. Together the three of them form…The Secret Science Alliance!
I was thrilled when a copy of Davis’ new full-length graphic novel appeared in my mailbox. I loved Davis’ work on Stinky (Toon Books) and was excited to see what she’d do with a longer format. I was even more excited after reading the first adventure of the Secret Science Alliance and discovering that Davis’ talent can’t be hidden any more than Julian’s nerd qualities can.
Davis starts off with three characters who are rather archetypal: the nerd (Julian), the wisecracking genius (Greta), and the popular jock (Ben). Ordinarily I would want characters who were a little less stereotypical, but Davis makes them perfect stand-ins for kids that her readers will see in their school. She also gives them depth–Greta has lost her mother, Ben cannot see his own intelligence, and Julian, who seems the least pulled together, turns out to be the most stable and also a terrific prankster. Their smarts complement each other and even though the ideas that they come up with are far-fetched for middle school students, readers will still find a lot of enjoyment in their Saturday-morning-cartoon creations.
There is a lot going on in this volume….
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The Secret Science Alliance and the Copycat Crook
ISBN 978-1-59990-142-8(hc), 978-1-5990-396-5(pb)
Bloomsbury, September 2009