Wednesday, June 8, 2016

The League of Unexceptional Children

The League of Unexceptional Children
By Gitty Daneshvari
Little Brown and Co. 2015. Fiction. 234 p.
Jonathan and Shelley are so ordinary that people hardly notice them and never remember them. This makes them valuable candidates for the secret spy organization, the League of Unexceptional Children. It would be nice if they seemed ordinary, but really had cool super intelligence or skills, but no. They really are ordinary, so they repeatedly botch their assignments as they pursue their first case. Will their ability to be forgettable outweigh their average intelligence, and help them do something truly extraordinary for the first time in their lives?

There are so many spy and superhero stories right now where the kids have superpowers or exceptional skills and intelligence. This new series, instead, celebrates the rest of us who really are about average. The characters in the book are quirky and likable, and the author had a fun time playing with "over achiever" stereotypes. Daneshvari includes funny quotes from real kids about the pitfalls of being normal at the beginning of each chapter. A few scattered black and white cartoon illustrations add to the book's appeal.  This is a good choice for kids who like Diary of a Wimpy Kid or Dork Diaries.

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