Sci-Fi Junior High
Kelvin Klosmo isn't just the new kid at school - he's the new kid in the galaxy! Welcome to Sci-Fi Junior High: an inter-galactic space station with students of all shapes, sizes, smells, and... slime content. As the son of Earth's two most famous geniuses, Kelvin isn't just the smartest kid in the world....he's the smartest kid in the UNIVERSE. At least, that's what everybody at Sci-Fi Junior High thinks.
So, maybe Kelvin lied a little about being a genius to fit in. And maybe a mad scientist is about to take over the universe unless Kelvin can stop him. Maybe everyone is doomed.
Well, at least Kelvin won't have to worry about math homework anymore.
Sci-Fi Junior High is an out-of-this-world story about friendship, accepting our differences, and the fight against evil... bunnies. Yes, evil bunnies - don't ask.
SCI-FI JUNIOR HIGH has plenty of middle school humor, and the illustrations are in a comic format that helps the sometimes-confusing narrative. Both are sure to appeal to the book's intended audience. Kelvin is a relatable and well-formed character, and his struggles with imposter syndrome particularly ring true. His friends and family aren't quite as well done, and there are a lot of middle school literary tropes sprinkled throughout: a not-so-smart bully, friendly crushes, an embarrassing parent, and an annoying younger sibling.
This is the first a series, and I think it suffers a bit from trying to do too much to set up future books. That said, there's enough to keep readers entertained and flipping pages, and there are positives to recommend giving SCI-FI JUNIOR HIGH 2 a try, too.
My thanks to the publisher and YA Books Central a copy of the book in exchange for my honest review.
Illustrations and humor are sure to appeal to the intended audience
Seegert has clearly been inspired by Mad magazine, and some pictures are very evocative of the late, great Don Martin. There are even similar sound effects in some panels! Not only do these illustrations up the humor factor, but they also support the text in a way that helps struggling readers. Occasionally, dialogue is present with a thumbnail illustration of the character speaking instead of in paragraph form, which is particularly brilliant.
Martin and Seegert have explored space before, in their Vordak the Incomprehensible series, and they cover an interesting cross section of space innovations in Sci Fi Junior High, from synthesized food that could use some work to amazing giant robots. The technology is integrated into school and home life in interesting ways. Using an anti-gravity machine to control students is brilliant, and the description of a fire drill on a space station (go to your locker, put on your helmet, and tether yourself down before the oxygen is sucked out!) is both funny and practical. A space dog who accidentally slurps up matter replicating fluid and can then eat rubber balls and spit out replicas of things? Brilliant.
Of course, junior high is still junior high, and Kelvin struggles with his dad, who tells horrible jokes that his classmates actually like. His younger sister is annoying. A girl in his class has a crush on him, but he in turn has a crush on someone else. Even Galactic Hubs have their bullies, homework, and macaroni and cheese, so readers will enjoy seeing how daily life in space would be wildly different and yet comfortingly the same.
Sci Fi Junior High is a great choice for readers who like space adventure with a hefty dose of goofiness like Tom O’Donnell’s Space Rocks! and Mike Jung’s Geeks, Girls and Secret Identities. Series lovers will be glad to know that this is the first book, so if they’ve finished all of John Kloepfer’s Galaxy’s Most Wanted,Castle’s The Clone Chronicles and Scieszka’s Frank Einstein installments, there are more out of this world books about Kelvin and his friends in the works!