Review: Nothing Can Possibly Go Wrong by Prudence Shen

nothing can possibly go wrong

Nothing Can Possibly Go Wrong by Prudence Shen and Faith Erin Hicks

Released May 7, 2013.

Nate and Charlie are friends, but mostly it’s about sharing a ride to school.  Then when the cheerleaders threaten Nate’s robotics competition, Charlie is caught up in the middle of the conflict.  Nate decides to run for Student Body President and Charlie’s cheerleader ex-girlfriend forces him to run against Nate.  Things quickly get out of control in this jocks against the geeks sort of storyline that ends with both groups stripped of their school funding.  Now the only way forward is to work together to fund and build a robot that can win the robot death match.  And of course, just like with all plans, nothing can possibly go wrong.

The storyline could have been cliché, but it steps away from that fairly quickly and into much more intriguing collaborative efforts.  Shen and Hicks have created a great gang of characters here.  Nate is laid back and really the normal one of the group.  Charlie is alpha-geek, neurotic, ballsy and intellectual.  Mix in the cheerleaders who are clearly at the top of the popular food chain, and this is regular high school on steroids.  While some of the characters are left as stereotypes, Charlie and Nate are well developed and interesting. 

The art is hip and fun.  Done in black and white, the images play up the funny moments beautifully and often the dance of words and image is sheer perfection.  It’s hard to believe that it was done by two people rather than just one.

Geeks and jocks alike will enjoy this one, after all who doesn’t love to see a robot death match!  Appropriate for ages 13-15.

Reviewed from copy received from First Second.

2013 IBW Book Award Children’s Shortlist

Here are the titles that have been shortlisted for the British 2013 Independent Booksellers Week Book Award.  The winner will be announced on June 29.

Dear Scarlett Cabin Fever (Diary of a Wimpy Kid, #6) Gangsta Granny

Dear Scarlett by Fleur Hitchcock

Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Cabin Fever by Jeff Kinney

Gangsta Granny by David Walliams

Maggot Moon Matilda's Cat. by Emily Gravett

Maggot Moon by Sally Gardner

Matilda’s Cat by Emily Gravett

Oh No, George! The Sacrifice (The Enemy #4) The Secret Hen House Theatre

Oh No, George! by Chris Haughton

The Sacrifice by Charlie Higson

The Secret Hen House Theatre by Helen Peters

The Reluctant Assassin (W.A.R.P., #1) White Dolphin Wonder

The Reluctant Assassin by Eoin Colfer

White Dolphin by Gill Lewis

Wonder by RJ Palacio