Friday, July 13, 2018

Electric Boogerloo- I am Fartacus #2

36373578 Maciejewski, Mark. Electric Boogerloo- I am Fartacus #2
July 17th 2018 by Aladdin
E ARC from Edelweiss Plus

After barely escaping being suspended in I Am Fartacus, Chub and his former best friend Arch start seventh grade at Alanmoore Middle School. There are a lot of new students from a neighboring school that was torn down, and one of them is carrying around a mint condition Ronin Girl comic that Chub desperately wants to see! There is a new principal, Ms. Lockhart, who is systematically bringing past troublemakers to her office to let them know she is watching them. The McQueen triplets have been in, so are nervous, and Arch and Chub fear that the principal wants to suspend one of them as an example. When the Wahoolie sculpture of the school mascot (a kangaroo) is stolen, Chub knows that he is the main suspect. With the help of Moby (and his wonky digestive system), Shelby, and the rest of the cadre, Chub puts together his resources to investigate the theft. Megumi, the girl with the Ronin Girl comic, wants to help as well, and ends up being a valuable member of the team. Chub finds out a lot about his friends, and is met with some surprises. Is he able to solve the mystery, clear his name, and remove all reason for his parents to relocate the family back to Poland?
Strengths: Fans of Johnson's The Great Greene Heist, Rylander's The Fourth Stall and Ferraiolo's The Big Splash will love this junior high comic crime novel. There's a good balance of understated goofy (Moby's gastrointestinal issues), a light romance, and a fairly believable mystery. The ensemble characters are what really makes this book-- there are a fair number of them, but they are all so well drawn that it's easy to tell them apart. The comic connection adds an additional level of appeal.
Weaknesses: Ms. Lockwood is rather over the top. I'd like to see some books where the principal isn't evil, but is really a super hero in disguise. Also, the portrayal of the librarian is a bit unflattering. Why not turn tables and have an old, seemingly sleepy librarian who is actually a ninja spy? (Clearly some personal views here-- my father was an elementary school principal!)
What I really think: Much to my surprise, I am Fartacus did not circulate as well as I had hoped. Still buying this one, and the fact that is seems like more of a mystery might help sell the series.

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