A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Sci-Fi Junior High features a seventh-grader who isn't as smart as everyone around him believes but is challenged to rise to the occasion when the universe is in danger. It's a graphic novel by the author-illustrator team of Scott Seegert and John Martin (the Vordak the Incomprehensible series). There are some cartoonishly perilous situations, plus a touch of potty humor, but it's primarily a middle school story with a supporting cast of diverse aliens. The book is promoted as the first book in the publishing imprint of James Patterson, who's written a raft of popular middle school books (including Middle School: Get Me Out of Here!). The name of the imprint is jimmy patterson (yes, all lowercase).
What's the story?
Kelvin Klosmo arrives at SCI-FI JUNIOR HIGH with a big reputation: His parents are the most famous scientists on Earth, and his new alien friends assume Kelvin must be the smartest kid in the universe. (He's faking it for the time being, because the genius part hasn't kicked in yet.) As he makes friends and gets over his new-school jitters, an evil scientist is working on a scheme involving a misfired mind-transfer beam, a bunny rabbit, and a dangerous super-energy orb. Kelvin and his friends accidentally stumble into the drama and need to work together to save the universe.
Is it any good?
It's hard to stand out in the crowded field of middle school graphic novels targeted to boys, and this space-adventure entry tries mightily by piling on giggles but never quite gets off the ground. Sci-Fi Junior High is a fun enough romp, lightly held together with a barely there plot and lively artwork. Scott Seegert and John Martin cover familiar territory: There's the large and not-too-bright bully, the annoying younger sister, and the jokes about teachers. There's also the smart and capable girl making overtures to the oblivious hero, who's focused instead on the pretty girl he only sees from a distance.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about Kelvin's fear that he'll be found out in Sci-Fi Junior High -- that his friends and teachers will realize his reputation is unearned. Do you think people usually earn their reputations, or are they sometimes built on rumors?
How is this book similar to other graphic novels about middle schoolers? Why do you think this format is so common?
Have you ever been given undue credit for something? How did you -- or would you -- decide whether to speak up about it?
- Author: Scott Seegert
- Illustrator: John Martin
- Genre: Science Fiction
- Topics: Adventures, Friendship, Middle School, Space and Aliens
- Book type: Fiction
- Publisher: jimmy patterson
- Publication date: March 7, 2017
- Publisher's recommended age(s): 8 - 12
- Number of pages: 320
- Available on: Audiobook (unabridged), Hardback, iBooks, Kindle
- Last updated: June 19, 2019
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.