Friday, August 7, 2015

JACOB SMITH IS INCREDIBLY AVERAGE by Erin Hayes


Jacob Smith is Incredibly Average
Jacob Smith is Incredibly Average
by Erin Hayes


In most science-fiction and fantasy stories, we like to believe that our heroes are special—that they are destined by fate, chosen by the Gods or the Universe, or simply possess something that makes them able to overcome astounding obstacles. This, as a staple in literature, has been seen throughout generations. But in Jacob Smith is Incredibly Average, that role is completely reversed—because our hero is, in fact, anything but extraordinary.

Enter Jacob Smith—a twelve, almost thirteen-year-old boy. In the grand scheme of things, he isn’t anything special. He gets average grades, does average in sports, is average in height and intelligence. He’s even statistically average when it comes to the number of siblings in an American household. Normally, we wouldn’t think anything of this. Average people aren’t normally capable of anything extraordinary. But what if an alien species was able to use that to their advantage—to ‘harness’ the average in order to potentially take over the human race? That is the challenge Jacob Smith faces in Jacob Smith is Incredibly Average, and the driving point of its plot.

As a mid-grade/young-adult novel, Jacob Smith is Incredibly Average nails every aspect that the genre requires. It’s easy to read, its pace is fast and the plot doesn’t meander, and it features likable characters and scenarios everyone can relate to. Where the novel truly stands out is as a science-fiction piece. The wonder presented in the novel is slow to creep in, but once it does, it hits you full force. But unlike many sci-fi novels (where, even in YA, the reader can become confused and overwhelmed,) Jacob Smith makes sure to introduce the fantastical aspect of its narrative slowly and simply. Aliens are usually described in minute detail. Technology is only explained in what it does and not how it does it. The action incorporated within is exciting but not in the least bit gruesome and its fast pace speeds the reader throughout the narrative at a near-unstoppable pace. I had trouble putting Jacob Smith down even when I was completely exhausted. It’s fun, energetic, and definitely something I wish I was able to read as a kid. I highly recommend it.


* * * * *
5 Stars

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