Title: I Am a Genius of Unspeakable Evil and I Want to be Your Class President
Author: Josh Lieb
Published: October 13, 2009 by Razorbill
Genre: YA, Comedy
Oliver is not your typical twelve-year-old. He puts up the charade of being a witless moron, when in reality he is a secret billionaire with his fingers in nearly every business and industry you can imagine. He--anonymously, of course--commands thousands upon thousands of agents working for him; he owns countless organizations and businesses; he can get his hands on just about any high-tech goverment gizmo ever created.
But then a challenge comes along unlike anything he's ever experienced before...
Seventh grade presidential election.
Wow. This is gonna be difficult. I've never reviewed a book that I haven't read before. Yes, that's right: I didn't finish Unspeakable Evil. I got to page 106 when a thought occurred to me: I have a life. I have a future. Sure, if I stick with this book, it may end up not sucking. But do I want to read books that don't-suck, or fantastic and breathtaking works of literary artistry?
Anyway, basically, the story goes like this: There's this "retarded" kid in school named Oliver who could have been born with his brain up his butt and he wouldn't be any stupider. He hasn't got a scrap of intelligence, he's just a humanoid monkey thing.
This is everyone else's view, of course. What they don't know is that Oliver is a brilliant billionaire with his minion agents just about everywhere in the US and beyond.
Oliver has had his public school secretly renovated to include a water fountain that squirts a variety of liquids ranging from root beer to dirty dishwater; dozens of hidden mics and spy cams to eavesdrop on the oh-so-fascinating lives of the student populace and the teacher drama; three bodyguards hidden in plain site that are at his beck and call. And tons more.
That's just his school. You would not believe all the other crap he's got up his sleeve. But, yeah, there's the plot, really. And then he gets challenged to become class president, and, well: challenge accepted. I didn't get very far after that.
It's not that I stopped reading because it was so awful that I was about to throw myself from the nearest skyscraper; but I was far enough in to know that there's no possible way for this book to redeem itself. And if by some miraculous accident it did, well, it would still be only mediocre.
One of my biggest problems is that the author, Josh Lieb, has absolutely no place writing for YA literature. I mean, c'mon: he's a writer for several Comedy Central shows; you think he'd make it in YA? No. Not AT ALL. He's apparently forgotten how the middle school dynamics work.
For one thing, he has his seventh graders act like third graders. It was annoying to read (partly because I was in seventh grade not too long ago and I'd like to maintain the delusion that I wasn't such an idiot back then...) His characters lack any and all kinds of development. They are flat and stereotypical. Blech.
Also, there were pictures included in the book....and I have absolutely no clue why. Did you want to give the readers a visual on what a sand castle looks like? No thanks, we know. It was completely unecessary and didn't add anything to the book.
And let's not forget to mention the lack of humor. I picked up the book because of it's unique title (I'm not gonna type it out again) and I checked it out because I was genuinely under the impression that I would get a few laughs out of it.
Wrong. So wrong. The so-called "humor" basically consists of Oliver being extremely pious and insulting his parents/teachers/peers and everyone else in his community by bragging about his insane genius. In addition, Lieb assumes that he is writing for nearly illiterate young adults that are just as moronic as his protagonist pretends to be. This one scene in which Oliver is speaking to the reader comes to mind:
"What is evil?" you ask.
To which I reply, "Who are you? Friedrich Nietzsche?"
To which you respond, "Duh...wha? Me no understand."
Then I put you back in your cage.
See what I mean!? It was.....well, I'm not gonna call it insulting. There are far worse books out there to which I can direct that word. But, c'mon, really?
*Sigh* Okay, here's my basic, bottomline on this: The author should stick with what he knows, and stay far, far away from the YA genre. The book could have been good, but fell flat. My advice? There are better books out there, so don't pick up this one. -Hannah
I feel really, really uncomfortable rating a book I haven't finished, but for finality's sake....
I've rated Unspeakable Evil: