King of Average by Gary Schwartz

FTC Notice: This book was provided free in exchange for an honest review. This is no way impacts my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

king-of-averageTitleThe King of Average
AuthorGary Schwartz
Series: stand-alone (so far)
Publish Date: October 7, 2015
Genre: Children’s fantasy
Source: Received at BEA 2016

Publisher’s DescriptionJames isn’t the world’s greatest kid, but he’s not the worst, either: he’s average! When he decides to become the most average kid who ever lived, James is transported to another world where he meets Mayor Culpa, a well-dressed talking Scapegoat who recruits him to become the new King of Average.

He’s joined on his quest by a professional Optimist and his grouchy companion, an equally professional Pessimist. Together, they set out on a journey of self-discovery that leads them all the way from the Sea of Doubt to Mount Impossible, the highest peak in the Unattainable Mountains. When James stumbles into a Shangri-la called Epiphany, he uncovers the secret of who he really is.

Follow James on his hilarious, adventure-packed journey to find self-worth in this heartfelt middle grade novel by debut author Gary Schwartz.

Possible spoilers beyond this point.

Agent_Annie_100Agent Annie says…

The King of Average by Gary Schwartz is OK. The idea of the story is clever and the author writes some interesting turns of phrase, but I felt the work to “get the pun” overwhelmed the flow of the story. I also thought that one of the final chapters, “A-Ha,” was a bit unbelievable. James had to wrestle with his own demons of self-doubt and worthlessness in a yurt hut and that seemed too adult in nature for an 8-12 year reader to understand or be comfortable with.

I loaned this book to a friend of mine who asked her 10 year old to read it. He reported that it seemed really scary after just the first couple chapters. I hadn’t really thought about the first part where James experiences a mother who hates him and a father who’s abandoned him and how that might be difficult for a kid who hasn’t been introduced to these concepts to be able to process them within this story’s framework.

badge2v4The language of the book is too light and playful for the themes that are explored: abandonment, self-doubt, being lost, etc. I feel that the discordance between the themes and the language are what turned me off the book. I’m very interested in hearing another kid’s opinion of the book, so we may have a mystery reviewer at some point in the future, but for now I give this book 2 stars.

FTC Notice: This book was provided free in exchange for an honest review. This is no way impacts my opinion of the book or the content of my review.


About Agent Annie

I am a former Independent bookstore owner that created a 30 books in 30 minutes presentation for book clubs, libraries and avid reader groups. I specialize in short reviews that focus on plot, theme and discussion topics. I primarily read mystery/thriller, who-done-its and sci-fi/fantasy. I love stories in any format and will listen to an audio book as quickly as I would read a paper or digital version. I prefer books that make you think, don't have a predictable ending and tend to have some aspect that is outside the current norm. I tend to enjoy series once I am hooked on the main characters and the world and am very loyal. Some of the books I've enjoyed in the past are: Maisie Dobbs by Jacqueline Winspear, The Dragon Riders of Pern by Anne & Todd McCaffrey and The Sherlockian Graham Moore. I will also read ANYTHING by Stephen King. As a matter of fact, I wrote a graduate level paper on the leadership styles in The Stand. I will accept review requests.

Posted on October 29, 2016, in Review and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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