Title: The Odd Job Squad
Author: Karl Fields
Release: June 14, 2011
Age Group: MG/YA
Review copy received from author for an honest review.
Recommend: Jennifer says, “The Odd Job Squad was a book that captured my attention from the first page to the last page.”
The best way to get even is to get Odd.
Thirteen-year-old Ander Cartwright is an expert on two subjects: fortune cookies and payback.
When he’s not struggling with algebra, Ander is the leader of an anonymous revenge club that operates within the walls of Marina Middle School. Got a beef with a classmate? Email Ander’s crew and, if your case if legit, they’ll get even on your behalf.
It’s not easy to right wrongs and stay under the radar at the same time. That’s why Ander developed three simple rules designed to help him and his friends from blowing their cover.
But when Ander spots the opportunity to settle an old score of his own, he ignores his own rules, setting off a chain of events that threatens to blow his cover, and it’ll take all the butt-kicking, detention-dodging skill the guys can muster to keep a lid on their secret.
Review by Jennifer
The Odd Job Squad was a book that captured my attention from the first page to the last page. There was a mixture of mystery, junior high romance, friendships, black mail, and humor. This is a great read from middle school aged people right on up to adults. Here’s why I liked The Odd Job Squad.
Reason #1: The setting was almost like another character. The characters in this story were all over San Francisco. The author weaved the sites of this city into his story in such a way that I felt I was getting to know the Bay Area personally. There were cable cars, fog, China Town, The Fillmore, street names, etc. I loved the way the setting was used.
Reason #2: The main characters were well developed. There are four friends, Ander, Joe, Christian, and Scooter. Ander is the narrator. He has a unique way of reading people. He calls it observing the pre actions. Scooter is the only girl of the four friends and she is dealing with some issues at home that keep her preoccupied throughout the story. Joe and Christian are part of the group and they have their own unique skills to offer.
Reason#3: The story idea is one that I think many people can identify with. In this story the four friends have an anonymous revenge club. As Ander puts it “Revenge was our business. And at Marina Middle, business was good.” A student who felt wronged could send out an email to the club. The friends would then decide if the case had merit. If it did they would put in motion payback. The friends were always careful to keep everything secret so they wouldn’t be found out. However, they soon find out that one person knows their secret. To keep their blackmailer from exposing them to the school they go on some wacky adventures.
Reason #4: The author put a little blooming junior high romance in the book to make the story believable. You know the routine where a boy has been friends with a girl and then all of a sudden starts to realize that his friend is a crush worthy girl. Ander and Scooter find themselves noticing each other on a level they aren’t used to and it is fun to watch them figure it out.
Reason #5: The author puts it all in perspective. Even though the premise is getting revenge it is not glorified. In the story we see where the characters are questioning their club and whether or not it is really a good idea. When the tables are turned they start to realize that revenge is not always sweet. The author also rounds out the story with things normal middle school students deal with. He weaves in a normal routine of school, homework, parents, siblings, first crushes, bullies, teen pop stars, and all the things that are junior high.
Overall, I found this to be a quick fun read. I didn’t find anything that I didn’t like. I can see where bullying is a serious issue in schools and revenge is not always the answer. However, I feel that this book can open conversations within a classroom or at home. The author offers a story of friendship, blooming romance, revenge, and coming to terms with where you are at in life. I recommend this book to all middle school aged people and adults. You won’t look at odd jobs the same.