The Mighty Odds
By Terreece Clarke,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Fun, thoughtful mystery deals with superpowers, bullying.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Indirect lessons about bullying and racism.
Bullying has harmful effects. You can overcome initial superficial differences to become friends. Extraordinary circumstances can bring people together.
Positive Role Models
The kids navigate through turmoil to start being positive influences on one another.
Violence & Scariness
A school is set on fire by what looks to be bombs (but are errant superpowers). There's a kidnapping, and a person is shot with a stun gun. A bus crashes but no one is seriously injured. Several buildings around town catch fire with no serious injuries, but there are a few scary moments.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
A student has a crush on a teacher.
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Name-calling includes "shrimp" for a short kid and "Terror Boy" directed at an Iranian-American kid.
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
A group of kids guess that kids who skipped school were likely getting drunk, but they weren't.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that The Mighty Odds, by Popularity Papers author Amy Ignatow, is the story of four diverse sixth-graders and their teacher who get bizarre superpowers (such as being able to teleport only four inches to the left) as a result of a school bus crash involving an Amish teen. In addition to having snappy dialogue, engaging characters, playful comics-style illustrations, zany action, and a cliffhanger (this is the first in a series), it deals with tough topics including bullying, racism, and ethnic profiling -- one character is called "Terror Boy" because he's Iranian-American. Parents should be ready to talk about bullying and how to be an upstander.
Where to Read
Based on 2 parent reviews
Careful of the sequel!
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Some mild language, reinforcing stereotypes
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What's the Story?
In THE MIGHTY ODDS, three outcasts, their teacher, and the class bully are packed together on a hot, smelly school bus when the worst happens: A terrible crash leaves them stuck on a lonely road. After the bus driver disappears and they're rescued, strange things begin to happen as each student discovers a really odd superpower as a result of the chemicals released during the crash. When buildings connected to the kids start blowing up and burning down, they band together to figure out the threat, their powers, and the mysterious people who are suddenly interested in finding them.
Is It Any Good?
Smart, engaging, thoughtful, and addictive, the story has a quick pacing and perfectly timed mystery that hits all the right notes. The Mighty Odds delves into the trials of middle school -- including bullying -- but layers in the particularly difficult issue of bullying based on a character's Middle Eastern descent.
The way author Amy Ignatow conveys each character's emotional response to the bullying is nuanced and genuine. The addition of superpowers and a mega mystery give readers a story that's meaty and fun while conveying great messages about friendship and taking responsibility for your actions.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about how The Mighty Odds deals with the subject of bullying. What are smart ways to stand up and stop bullying? Do you have an adult you can trust to help in a bullying situation?
Families can also talk about how racist bullying differs from bullying for looks or "cool status." How has the media made it OK to view people from the Middle East as enemies?
Finally, families can also talk about the superhero craze in pop culture right now. If you had an odd superpower what would it be? How would you use your power? Why are so many people into superheroes right now?
- Author: Amy Ignatow
- Genre: Science Fiction
- Topics: Superheroes, Friendship, Middle School
- Book type: Fiction
- Publisher: Harry N Abrams
- Publication date: September 13, 2016
- Publisher's recommended age(s): 10 - 14
- Number of pages: 240
- Available on: Nook, Hardback, Kindle
- Last updated: August 15, 2021
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.
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