Published by Katherine Tegen Books
Summary: Max hopes that middle school will give him a new start, but an hour into his first day, he’s already had a humiliating interaction with some eighth-grade bullies. In desperation, he writes to Master Plan, a famous villain who’s in jail after defeating a beloved superhero. The two start exchanging letters, and Master Plan, who was a fat kid like Max, offers advice on how to be cool and outsmart your enemies. Max is thrilled with his new image, but occasionally troubled that his new personality doesn’t always correlate with being a good friend and a kind person. When a showdown with his tormentors results in disaster, Max realizes that Master Plan has been using him and makes a decision to follow his own heart and sense of what’s right. The story ends with a bit of a cliffhanger, but also with the knowledge that Max knows himself and will be okay whatever the outcome. 272 pages; grades 4-7.
Pros: An inspiring story about learning to be yourself set in a fun world populated by superheroes and villains. It’s refreshing to see a message about body positivity aimed at boys.
Cons: I wonder if kids who feel the embarrassment and shame Max experiences at the start of the book would be hesitant to be seen reading a guide to “being a fat kid”.