I am a Genius of Unspeakable Evil and I want to be your Class President by Josh Lieb

book website

Gr6+
Summary: Overweight Oliver, an 8th grade evil genius secret billionaire, runs for class president in order to marginalize his inattentive father’s similar accomplishment. Mother is an airhead, all school personnel are losers, etc. The biggest bully of a girl, Tati, earns Oliver’s admiration even though she never stops making fun of him.

Personal reaction: The audiobook narrator did a great job, but this is a disturbing story – you literally have to wait until the last minute to have anything positive happen. I think my mouth hung open for at least the first chapter as I considered whether to stop listening. Though I think it might be mildly amusing for adults (boys could enjoy his evil farting darts), I would think twice before exposing kids to this constant stream of sarcastic disdain for humanity. Doubly disturbing scene where “Tubby” kidnaps a bully from his bedroom and tortures him, marionette style, via a Guitar Hero video game.

Curriculum or discussion topics: I can’t think of any reason I’d use this as a read aloud in school, not even to lighten up Student Council elections. The only topic that might arise is whether Oliver’s auditorium admission that student council is meaningless and all elections are a popularity contest is true or not and then actions that can be taken to fix a broken system.

Realia: election posters, ballots or anything campaign related; stuffed dog or picture of pit bull,  emperors cape, cash, Boba Fett action figure

Food items connected to story: grilled cheese sandwiches, nachos with chocolate sauce, pink lemonade, fluffernutter sandwich, pizza, etc.

Connections to other books:  Fahrenheit 451 by Bradbury;  The Misfits by James Howe; any nonfiction on student council elections might be a moot point if readers’ agree with Oliver’s perception of government.

By moviesofthemind Posted in school Tagged ,

Down Sand Mountain by Steve Watkins

I kind of feel bad for not liking this book. It’s always fun to read Florida settings. I didn’t like The Catcher in the Rye either, so maybe I’m just not a connoisseur of classics which star a slow witted main character. Read the reviews on Amazon, especially the 2 star one. The main character is twelve years old. This book has multiple sexual encounters/references that I feel are inappropriate for any middle school audience, and I can’t imagine that high school students would much care to analyze its plot for whatever deep themes it might have.