Mechaboys by James Kochalka

by James Kochalka. Top Shelf, 2018. ISBN 9781603094238

Format: Paperback

Rating: 1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 5

Genre:  Graphic novel/science fiction

What did you like about the book? Impending high school graduation impels two misfit boys to create a robot suit out of an old lawnmower. Zachery (call him “Zeus”) has delusions of domination, whereas sweet Jamie seems to go along for the ride.  Zeus derides superhero comics while trying to be an anti-hero in the suit. He assumes that Jamie will be his sidekick, but Jamie has a hidden side. When the boys crash a party in the mecha-battle suit, things don’t go quite as planned. Hilarious commentary on cliques, comics and teen angst made me laugh on every page. The prom night finale is a unique send-up of archetypal prom drama. Kochalka’s minimalist black and white art perfectly communicates the all-or-nothing world view of teens. I especially liked the girls’ Fat Bitches Club – they get themselves and the boys better than I ever did. I loved it!

To whom would you recommend this book?  Offer this to teens who like riffs on superhero comics and to adults who like reading about teens.

Who should buy this book? High schools and public libraries

Where would you shelve it ? Teen and/or adult graphic novels

Should we (librarians/readers) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? It is so entertaining, especially if you have ever been or loved a teen.

Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City and State: Stephanie Tournas, Robbins Library, Arlington, MA

Date of review: July 15, 2018

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