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Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Quick MG Adventure Novel Funny and Uplifting

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

Now that Andrew Jensen's turned 12, he's ready to take on the grown-up responsibilities that come with being a deacon (if you don't know what this means, click here).  Maybe.  Turns out, it's not as easy as he thought it would be.  Passing the sacrament is scarier than it looks (especially when no one tells you your fly's down), getting along with his quorum members may be downright impossible (especially after his big Capture the Flag blunder) and joining his Scout troop on a backpacking trip through the desert is starting to feel like the worst decision he's ever made (especially considering the unceasing rain, his irritating bunk mate and, oh yeah, the bear).  Andrew may not survive his first Scout overnighter without some divine intervention—luckily, he's the one who's saying all the prayers.  Oh, wait ... 
When the outing takes a serious turn for the worse, Andrew has to rally all of his courage, all of his cleverness, and all of his faith to save himself and his friends.  But, nothing's gone right for him so far, can he really expect his luck to change now?  Or will his first Scout campout turn out to be his last?

The Epic Tales of a Misfit Hero, a debut middle grade novel by Matt Peterson, is exactly what it appears to be—a fun story that teaches a valuable spiritual lesson.  True, it's like an extended version of something you'd find in The Friend (except with a few more mentions of, um, unmentionables, particularly of the Transformers variety), but it's still pretty funny.  While I found the story a little lacking in plot and character development, I'll probably be the only one to notice or care.  Kids will be too engaged in Andrew's escapades to worry about analyzing story elements.  Beware, though, of handing the book to boys like my son, a wizened teacher (as of last week).  When I read him the plot summary of The Epic Tales of a Misfit Hero, he said, "I don't think being a deacon is really that dramatic."  Probably not, but don't tell that to your favorite 8- to 10-year-old, because they're the perfect audience for this short, fun, uplifting read.

(Readalikes:  Reminded me a little of tween boy books by Gordon Korman)

Grade:  B-

If this were a movie, it would be rated:  PG for some scary images

To the FTC, with love:  I received a finished copy of The Epic Tales of a Misfit Hero from the generous Matt Peterson.  Thank you!    


  1. Please, please, please pass this on to us! Alden would love it. Did Toby read it?

  2. Toby hasn't had a chance to read it yet, no, but after he does, it's yours!


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