Weird Kid by Greg van Eekhout

Title: Weird Kid
Author: Greg van Eekhout
Publisher: Harper Audio

Source: Audio Copy from publisher on NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

From the author of Cog and Voyage of the Dogs, Weird Kid is a hilarious and heartfelt homage to everyone who feels like they don’t belong. Perfect for fans of Gordon Korman and Stuart Gibb.

Jake Wind is trying to stay under the radar. Whose radar? Anyone who might be too interested in the fact that he has shapeshifting abilities he can’t control. Or that his parents found him as a ball of goo when he was a baby.

Keeping his powers in check is crucial, though, if he wants to live a normal life and go to middle school instead of being homeschooled (and if he wants to avoid being kidnapped and experimented on, of course).

Things feel like they’re going his way when he survives his first day of school without transforming and makes a new friend. But when mysterious sinkholes start popping up around town—sinkholes filled with the same extraterrestrial substance as Jake—and his neighbors, classmates, and even his family start acting a little, well, weird, Jake will have to learn to use his powers in order to save his town.

The audiobook ARC used a computer generated male voice which I shouldn’t comment on but I felt it was kinda perfect for the book since Jake is trying to fit in. You know, someone who isn’t entirely sure of the right things to do or say sometimes, and takes things literally may not always pick up on the subtle verbal and social clues being given by others and may come across as monotone themselves. I’m sure the publisher will find a great voice actor or several to read this book.

Jake started having a shapeshifting problem over the summer and kept turning down invites to things because Jake didn’t want to have to explain why he is literally grinning from ear to ear, or sprouting extra hands. This can really damper someone’s social life; they can only decline so many times before they stop getting invited. It’s very reminiscent of the awkwardness of puberty thanks to hormones and changing bodies.

Jake and his new friend look into the sinkhole mystery which deepens their friendship. I found the book highly entertaining. I was pretty confident nothing bad was going to happen to anyone which didn’t create a lot of tension for me, but it might for a much younger reader. At one point, they infiltrate a lab facility and the small talk Jake engaged in had me laughing.

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