Kloepfer, John. Into the Dorkness (Galaxy's Most Wanted #2)
May 5th 2015 by HarperCollins
E ARC from Edelweiss Above the Treeline
Kevin, Tara, Warner and TJ are back after Galaxy's Most Wanted, and are dealing with the aftermath of Mim, the fuzzy purple alien that wanted to take over the Earth. Kevin has accidentally miniaturized Klyk, the cyborg space cop, but that is the least of his problems when a space ship descends on Northwest Horizons camp with a freeze ray! Zouric, a Gastropod, and Nuzz, a brain bot, are there with a variety of lizard aliens called Kamilions. They are angry at Mim for messing up, and are trying to get things in order to take over. They have nanobots that attack people and turn them into brainless zombies willing to do their bidding. Kevin and his gang manage to escape the initial attack at camp and make their way across the lake to a soccer camp, but the nanobots turn the soccer players against them. Luckily, before that happens, they meet a goalie, Marcy, who tells them that the creatures sound a lot like something she's read in a comic book by Max Greyson. The group manages to take Klyk's space ship to Colorado to hunt down the author. They find that he's been missing, but talk to his assistant. This gives them a little more information to fight the aliens. They manage to create armor against the nanobots and head back for a final showdown with the aliens. Can they save the camp and, if necessary, the world?
Strengths: Since this is a science fiction notebook novel, it automatically appeals to two different audiences, which is great. It moves quickly, has some good gross moments, and the children are in charge of saving the world from funny looking aliens.
Weaknesses: Like Zombie Chasers, this seems a bit unlikely, but has the advantage of being just the right amount of goofy for middle school
What I really think: Didn't get into the first book, but this one is pretty good. Lots of fighting, travel, things blowing up-- much more like Zombie Chasers than the first book, which seemed science heavy.
Brallier, Max and Rachel Maguire (Illustrations). Cosmoe's Wiener Getaway
5 May 2015, Aladdin
ARC from Baker and Taylor
Cosmoe and his alien pal Humphree are ready to enter the Intragalactic Food Truck Cook-Off with their Mega-Dog when it is suddenly stolen from them. They go in pursuit, only to discover that the thief is the daughter of the contest judge. Princess Dagger is evil, but not as evil as her mother, and she begs to be taken along on Cosmoe's travels. There are bigger problems than the cook off, though, and when the group finds the Lost Triangle that will lead them to the Ultimate Evil if they can find all three parts, they travel around dodging all sorts of space creatures who also want the Lost Triangle, including, of course, Queen Dagger. There are space zombies, Electro-Zapping, hot sauce and "What the butt?" exclamations accompanied by lots of pictures and Batman-styled "Zaps!"Can the group save the universe? Will Princess Dagger return to her mother? Who will win the Intragalactic Food Truck Cook-Off? Will there be a second book? Oh, yeah.
Strengths: Pictures. The word "butt" used repeatedly. Hot dogs. Space aliens. More pictures. Super Moon Ninja Death Jabs. Sure, kids will be attracted to this sort of thing. I'll have to buy a copy. But...
Weaknesses: For a notebook novel, this did not take the target demographic into consideration. For one thing, the world building is very weak. I thought I had a second book in the series, because Cosmoe's hot dog stand had no explanation, and then we are thrown right into an adventure. There is too much text on each page, and the pictures and different fonts compete with each other in very confusing ways. Readers who like notebook novels are frequently struggling with comprehension, and the way the pages are laid out does not help. Still, it will circulate.
What I really think: This made me weep for humanity. A one million dollar marketing launch? For this? I mean, if this were the Epic Comic Fart Novel I was looking for, that would be fine, but this was just not that good. Okay, but not worth a million dollars in marketing. Taking bets on paper over board format...