Summary: The Supervillain’s Guide to Being a Fat Kid
The Supervillain’s Guide to Being a Fat Kid follows new sixth grader, Max. Max is fat and on his first day of school becomes a target for school bully and eighth-grader Johnny “Pro.” Max’s mom is a single mother and his only friend Luca is poor and wears worn hand-me-downs. When Max gets fed up with being bullied, he decides to write to imprisoned supervillain, Master Plan for advice and help. Master Plan comes up with a step-by-step guide to stop Max from being bullied and elevate his social status — maybe even helping him get closer to the girl he likes. But when Max’s fortune starts to change, it threatens his friendship with Luca. Worse still, he realizes that supervillains rarely offer help without needing something in exchange.
This was a unique plot for sure. The story is set in a world where everyone accepts the existence of superheroes and supervillains. Superheroes visit schools, fight crime in the city, and even catch villains from time to time. Max is not a fan of superheroes. He thinks that in their bid to save the world, they cause a ton of chaos and destruction. Instead, he prefers the villains, especially those who appear to have a noble vision, like Master Plan.
Reading about Max getting bullied and how he couldn’t find a safe adult to confide in was tough. I found it interesting that Master Plan offered great advice — some that kids today can implement to ease the bullying woes. Some of the tips included taking a self-defense class, tweaking his fashion choices, and helping others see Johnny Pro for the bully he is. Despite featuring some heavier topics, this book was fast-paced and enjoyable to read overall.
Max gets a fun makeover in the book, and I appreciated that there was no weight loss involved. Max also loves cooking and enters a cooking contest in his school. I don’t love stories in which parents are too preoccupied with daily life to pay close enough attention to their kids’ struggles, but sadly that’s the case with Max’s mom. Finally, I liked that the author addresses how Max’s makeover impacts his friendship with Luca, who gets left behind.
Overall: The Supervillain’s Guide to Being a Fat Kid
The Supervillain’s Guide to Being a Fat Kid is a refreshing, action-packed middle grade novel about body positivity, friendships, and bullying. Set in a world with superheroes and supervillains, this one rides the line between realism and fantasy well. It also features several other themes such as friendship changes, first crushes, and a touch of mystery. The audiobook is pretty good — overall, a strong story with a powerful message.