Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Book Review: The Accidental Hero (Jack Blank and the Imagine Nation)

Media Type Reviewed: Audio Book
Title: The Accidental Hero (Jack Blank and the Imagine Nation)
   *Series: Jack Blank Adventure #1
Author: Matt Myklusch
Publisher: Aladdin
Pages: Paperback; 496
Release Date: April 26, 2011 (first July 10, 2010)
Source: Author
Intended Reading Group: Middle Grade
Content Screening: Mild Fantasy Violence
HDB Rating: 5 Keys to My Heart
Recommended to: Readers who love action, adventure and a wonderful protagonist all rolled into one book!

Add it on: Goodreads / Shelfari / Amazon / B&N
All Jack Blank knows is his bleak, dreary life at St. Barnaby’s Home for the Hopeless, Abandoned, Forgotten, and Lost—an orphanage in the swampland of New Jersey. Covertly reading old comic books is Jack’s only solace. But his life changes forever when he meets an emissary from a secret country called the Imagine Nation, an astonishing place where all the fantastic and unbelievable things in the world originate. Including Jack.

Jack soon discovers that he has an amazing ability—one that could make him the savior of Imagine Nation and the world beyond…or the biggest threat they’ve ever faced.

Where do I start with this? Seriously, I wish that Jack Blank had been in my life when I was a young reader! The Accidental Hero (originally titled Jack Blank and the Imagine Nation) is such a brilliantly written book. Complete with an fabulous world, amazing characters, and tons of positive messages, this is the type of book that I would put into the hands of reluctant readers. I guarantee that they will fall in love!

I absolutely have to start with the original world that Matt Myklusch builds in the Imagine Nation. This is the type of place that dreams are made of. A world populated with superheroes and villains. With more futuristic technology than you can wrap your head around. The type of world where a young boy can thrive, especially one with a huge imagination! Super fights are common. Cars fly. I can't even explain to you how much I loved the Imagine Nation! I wonder if I believe hard enough, if I might be able to move there myself.

Then there is my love for Jack himself. I really enjoyed watching him grow from the quiet, scared boy in the orphanage into the brave and strong character that he ultimately becomes. Jack is the perfect role model for both boys and girls of any age. He knows his limits, he admits when he's scared, but he chooses to fight anyway. He's selfless, kind and so witty. Best of all though, Jack's character is written so vividly that it's easy to believe that he might just be your best friend. Following him through his adventure is made all the more amazing, simply because Jack is so amazing himself.

Finally, and I feel like this is a big part of why I loved this story so much, The Accidental Hero has so many fabulous messages to share with young readers. Jack's story isn't always happy. It isn't always easy. Still, along the way he meets some amazing people who teach him important life lessons. To be strong. To be brave. To be a friend. It is so inspiring! My all time favorite?  "Never underestimate the power you have over what happens today. Never forget the power today has over tomorrow." (pg 467) All of these come into the story without feeling preachy. It's magical.

If you couldn't already tell from my raving review above, I give this book my highest seal of approval! The Accidental Hero is the whole package. If you have a reluctant reader at home, boy or girl, put this book in their hands. I see so much potential for this to become their new favorite series. Skeptical? I have one word for you to say as you hand it to them: Robo-Zombies. Get this book. You won't regret it!

FTC Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. I was not monetarily compensated for my opinion.


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