Zach King: The Magical Mix-Up (Zach King #2)
Zach is confident enough to muster up the courage to ask Rachel to the big school dance. Just as he’s just about to do it, Hogan, the new kid from Australia, shows up and steals his thunder. But when Zach learns that Hogan is just using the dance as a way to embarrass Rachel and ruin her chances of becoming class president, Zach knows he has to stop him somehow.
Now Zach’s on a mission to recover his magical powers in order to stop Hogan before he can sabotage Rachel’s chances. For fans of Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Timmy Failure, and DanTDM: Trayaurus and the Enchanted Crystal and anyone who’s ever wondered where they belong, this is the perfect book for you.
Now that Zach has lost his magical powers (he could travel from place to place through magical ball caps), he is trying to figure out how to proceed through life in middle school. He has a big crush on Rachel, and wants to take her to the school dance, but he is beat to the punch by exotic exchange student Hogan, who does at least share some of Rachel's sports interests. When Zach tries to make his move at the dance to improve his position, things go badly wrong and he and friend Aaron get kicked out. Realizing that he has the residual power to use the magical objects of other members in his family, he borrows a device to copy his father's watch, which turns back time, and returns to the dance multiple times to try to reverse the damage. Instead, he makes things worse. Can he mange to correct his path before the watch disappears? And is the fact that he still has some magic a hopeful sign?
I appreciated that the story did have a brief plot, and was solidly middle grade. There are not enough funny books for middle school age boys that also have a light, age appropriate romance. I love that Rachel is interested in all manner of sports and is a very adventurous character, and Zach's attempts at impressing her are definitely true to life. Hogan is not a very nice character, and has some evil plans up his sleeve, but he's not irredeemable. I would love to see Aaron more fully fleshed out as a sidekick, but he serves his purpose well, along with his media loving cat. Zach's family, although they don't appear often, are delightful as well.
I've never head of Mr. King and his YouTube videos, but apparently the target demographic has. Zach doesn't do a lot of magic in this book, aside from turning back time, but I imagine he will get his powers back in subsequent volumes, which will be fun to read!