Sunday, May 15, 2016

The League of Unexceptional Children by Gitty Daneshvari

Cover image for The League of Unexceptional ChildrenJonathan and Shelley are so ordinary that people hardly notice them and never remember them.  This makes them valuable candidates for the secret spy organization, the League of Unexceptional Children.  It would be nice if they seemed ordinary, but really had cool super intelligence or skills, but no. They really are ordinary, so the repeatedly botch their assignments as they pursue their first case.  Will their ordinary-ness, outweigh their average intelligence, and help them do something truly extraordinary for the first time in their life?

There are so many spy and superhero stories out there right now where the kids have superpowers or exceptional skills and intelligence. It was fun to read one that instead celebrates the rest of us who really are about average. The characters where endearing and the author had a fun time playing with a lot of "over achiever" stereotypes. Unfortunately, just as the characters in the book are "ordinary" so is the writing style. Someone once told me that the current trend in writing is to not use descriptive words that tell how someone says something in dialog passages, e.g."I lost it," he wailed while he shook his head.* The extra descriptive words slow the dialog down and make it choppy.  This author did that a lot. It wasn't a huge thing, but it was distracting. Of course, this won't bother most young readers and I think a lot of kids will like this new series.(234 p.)

*Not an actual quote form the book, just an example I made up.

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