Evening all! Today I have a reminder for all those intrepid explorers of the written word – Fiction in 50, our monthly writing challenge gets underway for February starting Monday, the 24th of February. We had some new faces joining us last month with some fantastic and creative entries, so if you’d like to participate, simply click on the button to find out how to get involved.
This month’s prompt is….
(You fill in the blank!)
Now on to the meat of today’s post – a read-it-if review for middle grade funquest, Game Over, Pete Watson by Joe Schreiber and illustrated by Andy Rash. I received a digital copy from the publisher via Netgalley for review – thanks!
The sinisterly titled Game Over, Pete Watson focuses, unsurprisingly enough, on young Pete Watson, as he attempts to legally purchase a copy of the latest video game on the market, Brawl-a-Thon 3000 XL. In doing so, Pete inadvertently allows a top secret piece of government equipment to fall into hands that clearly don’t have security clearance. So begins an adventure that sees Pete rekindle old friendships (and maybe even flames), set right his accidental wrong-doing and save the world, all while gaining valuable video game skills in the process.
* you have ever inadvertently lost, given away or sold something that later turned out to be of major financial and sentimental value…say, your brother’s entire collection of still-in-the-box, mint condition, rarer-than-rare, original Star Wars figurines…
* you believe that, far from being a waste of time and the gateway to the destruction of society, video games have much to teach the young about pro-active problem solving – particular in situations in which bad guys pop up conveniently at the end of every season
* you were always a fan of the endings of the majority of Scooby Doo episodes
To avoid giving any more cryptic (or not so cryptic) spoilers, I might have to stop there. Now having recently read a veritable stack of middle grade fiction in this sort of vein, I can’t honestly say that this is the best of them. HOWEVER, there’s a lot here that kids of the right age bracket are going to love.
Firstly, the book has really short chapters, interesting font and plenty of illustrations (Pete attempts to include 50, but I didn’t count, so you’ll have to take his word or count for yourself), which make the book highly visually appealing. Secondly, the content is perfectly age appropriate, particularly for boys – it has video games, mystery, an older, unattainable love interest (his best mate’s big sister), the troubles with having a nerdy best friend and how this will affect one’s position on the social ladder, and the opportunity to be a hero and save the day. There’s also a giant mechanical cockroach that makes an appearance – if that doesn’t get the punters in, I don’t know what will!
This really is a book that I doubt will be read widely outside the age group at which it’s aimed. As an adult reader, I found it a bit irritating at points, although admittedly, there were some one-liners (usually related to some pop-culture reference of yore) that had me laughing out loud. And as I mentioned earlier, there is a very Scooby-Do-esque reveal during the ending which was an absolutely classic piece of writing in my opinion. But although I didn’t get too much out of it as an adult, I think this will be a real hit with middle graders.
I can see this as the perfect read-aloud bonding experience for middle grade video game lovers and their dads (or video game loving mums!). I feel like I’ve been saying this a lot lately, but I think it would also be a good choice for reluctant readers due to the format and visual appeal of the book, and for the humorous and action-packed content.
Game Over, Pete Watson is due for release on March 11th. It would also make a great choice for category four of the Small Fry Safari Kid Lit Readers Challenge – a book with someone’s name in the title. If you don’t know what I’m on about, click the button and find out (then join up!).
Until next time (don’t forget to get those pens working over the weekend ready for Fi50!),