Waterstones The League of Unexceptional Children

4.8 out of 5 stars
Waterstones The League of Unexceptional Children
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Price: £6.99

Brand: Waterstones

 

Description: Hilarious action adventure for readers aged 8 and up, featuring the world's most unexceptional spies. You think spies are clever and cool and mysterious? Think again. When Jonathan and Shelley are summoned to work for The League of Unexceptional Children they're more than a little bit surprised. Average in every single way, they've never been singled out for anything in their lives. scrap that, they've never even been noticed. But that's exactly what the League is after. Because if you're truly forgettable, you're perfect for acts of espionage - as Jonathan and Shelley are about to find out.

 

Category: Books

Merchant: Waterstones

Product ID: 9780349124209

Delivery cost: 2.99

ISBN: 9780349124209

 
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Author: Elizabeth McCombe

Rating: 5

Review: I thought that this book was funny and exciting. My favourite character was Shelley because she was funny, and bossy and got things muddled up but she was kind too. I would recommend this book to kids that loved Time Travelling with a Hamster. By Alexander aged 7

 

Author: Ancient Mariner

Rating: 3

Review: The basic premise here is popping up more and more. Two kids are so average and blandly invisible they are recruited by the League of Unexceptional Children to operate as spies. The running joke is that no one ever notices or remembers them so they are functionally undercover even when they're out in the open. That premise allows the narrator and the characters to take a lot of pot shots at our supposed succeed-at-all-costs culture. Putting aside whether you think that culture is as pervasive or as meretricious as assumed, how does this book work as an entertainment? Well, a lot of the book is repetitious. We go on and on about the heroes' averageness, we have little chapter heading quotes from average kids, all of the adults only ever talk about the heroes' averageness, and the heroes only ever think about their averageness. Pretty early on one gets the idea. And of course the whole project is tricky - if the heroes are supposed to be bland and dull, then why do we want to read about them or follow their adventures? Either the kids have to be secretly, internally interesting or the author has to be remarkably clever and quick-witted in describing them and what happens to them. Here, we get a little bit of both approaches. Sometimes the kids offer a funny insight or bit of dialogue that stands out. Sometimes the narrator tosses off a funny throwaway line. Sometimes there's a bit of business among the characters that has a twist and a bit of humorous bite. (At one point the kids enter the League's secret lair through a hidden door in the back of a hot dog stand's walk-in refrigerator. Our heroine muses that "[i]t's kind of like Narnia, only with a lot of pork products,...". I think that's witty and just a touch edgy. It's bits like that that got me through the book.) There is an effort to include quirky secondary characters to punch up the narrative, but most of them are in equal parts amusing, over broad, and annoying, so I'm not sure where that gets you. I guess the upshot here is that this ended up being a perfectly fine and readable book, with a few high points and an occasional edge but an awful lot of fill. I would expect that fans of the author's "School of Fear" series will like the book, as would many other early middle graders looking for a light read. It's just that for me the book didn't stand out from the crowd. Please note that I received a free advance ecopy of this book in exchange for a candid review. Apart from that I have no connection at all to either the author or the publisher of this book.

 

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