The Amazing Beef Squad: Never Say Die!Featured
This laugh-out-loud story about a group of truly "amazing" and strongminded kids is one middle-grade readers will cheer for.
And that's no small feat. This had a Gordon Korman McDonald Hall vibe to it because while the concerns were clearly very middle grade (it has taken me many years and many awkward conversations with adult men to understand just how much middle school boys talk about their privates), it was well-written and believable. Could the boys hack into the surveillance system? Probably. Could they then discover the code to get into the local men's society building? Yeah. Would they get caught? Of course. Could they have been set up by the son of the construction company owner who knew a lot of town secrets and wanted to use these for his own financial gain? The author holds our hand and walks us down the path with such certainty that I could believe all of this. It didn't hurt that I was constantly distracted by all the pranks the boys pulled.
One of my favorite characters was the quiet and shady Karla Woo, who has awesome tech abilities and knows more about the boys and their activities than they probably know themselves. Not only is she working assiduously on the robotic arm, but she is hacking into the boys' hacks, and ultimately saving the day! I would have like to see her be a more active part of the group, and would be more than happy with another book where this happens!
Readers who like the comic minor crime novels like Johnson's The Great Green Heist, Rylander's The Fourth Stall, and Ferraiolo's The Big Splash and generally humorous novels like Richards' Stu Truly and Acampora's Danny Constantino's First Date will absolutely adore the antics of these exuberant friends who are just pushing the envelope to see what happens, and end up triumphing despite their Stupidball ideas.