Reviews for I Am a Genius of Unspeakable Evil and I Want to Be Your Class President


Booklist Reviews 2009 October #2
Author Lieb is the executive producer of The Daily Show, so right off the bat you're pretty sure this is going to be a smart mix of snark and whack. (Or, as Jon Stewart blurbs it, "If War and Peace had a baby with The Breakfast Club.") Well, maybe not War and Peace, but this certainly has a unique take on the school experience, as seen through the eyes of fat Oliver Watson, who acts like a drip but is secretly a billionaire genius (an unlikely scenario that's actually explained quite well). Oliver was only days old when he detected Daddy's hostility, setting up a classic father-son face-off. Now Oliver wants to ruin one of Daddy's shining memories--the time he won a school election--by doing the same. One problem: everyone hates Oliver. It's hard for readers to root for a despicable, disgusting hero, but there is a certain fascination and fun here (along with some black-and-white photos) that will keep them turning pages right to the classically subversive ending, which is daubed with the faintest shade of hope and aroma of pee. Copyright 2009 Booklist Reviews.

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Kirkus Reviews 2009 September #1
Beneath 12-year-old Oliver Watson's bumbling persona lurks the mind of a supervillain--cold, devious and focused on winning a middle-school election. In his attempt to corrupt the democratic process, Oliver blackmails the other candidates, meddles with a burgeoning relationship and stages an African coup, all with the help of his loyal dog, Lollipop, and his front man, Lionel Sheldrake. Gross-out humor, heavy machinery and a periphery romance will appeal especially to male readers. Oliver is calculating and humorous, quickly engaging readers as they learn about his extravagant plots and immense empire. The incompetent adults that populate the pages are elevated only just above stock characters but are ideally suited to the narrative. Though Oliver's conflict with his father is layered and well crafted, the saccharine resolution cheapens it slightly. Similar to Artemis Fowl but without the supernatural element, Lieb's creative and twisted first novel gets a positive vote. (Fiction. 10-14) Copyright Kirkus 2009 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

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Publishers Weekly Reviews 2009 October #2

Lieb, executive producer of The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, debuts with a novel about a class election that may appeal to his show's audience as well as middle-schoolers. Oliver Watson has known since infancy that his intellect is several cuts above average. At 12, he's the third richest person in the world, secretly running a global empire while pretending to be mentally vacant (imagine The Simpsons' Ralph Wiggum as a seventh-grader). Oliver's intellectual superiority is equaled by the meanness of his spirit. He enjoys secretly torturing his teachers and describes his adoring mother as "a shapeless, witless mass of mousy hair, belly fat, and boobs." His pathological disdain for his father, who fondly recalls his own school electoral victory, fuels Oliver's decision to toss his hat in the ring--in order to show up Dad. The ample scatological humor is joined by a few jokes that will sail over the heads of actual seventh-graders, e.g., an aside about the work of Raymond Carver. But these won't keep readers from getting wrapped up in Oliver's malevolence and bile. Ages 12-up. (Oct.)

[Page 50]. Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.

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School Library Journal Reviews 2009 October

Gr 7-9--Lieb's first novel is a comedy/sci-fi fantasy about Oliver Watson, an overweight 12-year-old from Omaha, NE, who fools his family and classmates into thinking that he is slow-witted when in fact he is the world's third-richest person. He overthrows foreign dictators, owns corporations, is a successful inventor and investor, and is on the way to attaining his goal of world domination. This evil supergenius, who makes Artemis Fowl look ready for sainthood, has the appeal of a cartoon villain. His father and arch nemesis is too involved in running a local PBS affiliate and too uninvolved in his son. What Oliver really wants is his dad's approval and attention. He decides that the way to get this is to win the election for president of the eighth-grade class at Gale Sayers Middle School. Lieb perfectly captures the wise-guy sarcasm and trash mouth of a seventh-grade evil genius. Readers will love the sci-fi/fantasy touches, from Oliver's elaborate underground lair to the transmitter implanted in his jaw and his installing root beer and chocolate milk at the school's water fountain (of course, only he knows how to make it work). The format--short blurbs of text interspersed with humorous black-and-white photos--will appeal to reluctant readers. Although the book has as little subtlety as its title, certainly the theme of a boy wanting his father's love is a universal one. This is a book kids will be talking about.--Connie Tyrrell Burns, Mahoney Middle School, South Portland, ME

[Page 130]. Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.

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