Sunday, January 4, 2015

Review - How To Survive Middle School and Monster Bots

How To Survive Middle School and Monster Bots
by Ron Bates
Publisher: Zonderkidz
Pub. Date: September 16, 2014
ISBN: 978-0310736080
Pages: 224
Buy Link: Amazon


At first glance this book may in fact look like the next entry in the "Middle School" series by James Patterson, but instead it is the second installment in the "A Howard Boward Book" series by author Ron Bates.

How To Survive Middle School and Monster Bots centers on a nerdy boy named Howard Boward, who is dreading winter as he has to dodge snowballs from some of his bullies from Dolley Madison Middle School. Plus, his best-friend, Winnie McKinney, is no longer speaking to him.

His life takes a turn for the good when he learns there is going to be a robot-building contest and everybody knows that Howard is a science genius, so of course he is going to enter the contest and try to beat his archenemy Gerald "G-Force" Forester. Unfortunately, Howard hits a few brick walls with his robot design and the only way to make it work is to use his "monster goo" formula, which has a few unwanted side effects.

Right from the first chapter something really bothered me about this book - the narration! Though the character is a kid, he sounds like an adult, similar to Charlie Brown, except for Howard is more self-centered and unlikeable, which explains why the character can't make friends. I understand why writers are creating books that deal with kids being bullied, but Howard is a horrible character with a bad ego.

That being said, you would probably believe I would quit reading the book after chapter one. Well, the answer is no. For some odd reason, I continued reading until I read the entire book, which is around 224 pages and in my opinion it is a bit too long for this type of book. Now, I don't completely hate this book as I did like the robot-building contest. Overall, How To Survive Middle School and Monster Bots is a bland middle school novel with a boring unlikeable protagonist and an unbelievable ending.

*Disclaimer - I received a complimentary copy in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.

About the Author:

Ron Bates is a novelist and humor columnist who writes about secret laboratories, monsters, bullies, robots, cafeteria food, and other perils of middle school. A former newspaper reporter, he is the author of How to Make Friends and Monsters, How to Survive Middle School and Monster Bots, the comic book series Brawn, and numerous poems and plays for kids who like to laugh. He lives in Texas.

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