To the people around him, 7th-grader Oliver appears to be the fattest dumbest kid in school. Little do they know that he is an evil genius who has built an empire making him the third-richest person in the world. Josh Lieb, one of the producers of the DAILY SHOW, is the creator of this fun young adult title.
What is great about this book is that kids will love the idea of Oliver being an actual evil genius. While children often feel impotent and unable to do the things they want to do, Oliver offers the chance for them to live vicariously through the life of the most powerful kid in the world. Oliver is content to live quietly as an evil genius while tricking the people around him (including his parents) into thinking is a fat simpleton. When the opportunity presents itself to run for class president, Oliver sees the chance to get his father's attention and get a little revenge in the process.
Much of this book will be over the heads of younger readers. As an adult, I found many moments to be laugh-out-loud funny. The black and white photographic plates scattered throughout the book are an extra bonus. Oliver is not an entirely likeable individual. He reminds me a great deal of Stewie from FAMILY GUY. However, there is an unexpected component in the book about a boy trying to get validation from his father that is very sweet. Even evil geniuses need their dads.
This book will be released in October 2009 and has been optioned for a movie.
BOTTOM LINE: Recommended for older young adult readers. A fun spin on the young adult genre that adults may enjoy as well.
Parent Advisory: Only one possibly objectionable word: "jackass." Lots of scatalogical humor. Some sensuality. Plot devices of kids getting the best of and making fools of adults.