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.
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.