Fisher has inherited his parents’ scientific genius as well as their social awkwardness, and he becomes determined to put the former to use in combating the latter after tiring of being invisible to everyone except a gang of bullies. Sneaking a supply of his mother’s experimental accelerated-growth hormone, he creates Fisher Two, a clone he deputizes to deal with middle school (while the real Fisher stays home playing video games). Complications and humor ensue as “Two” proves to be far better liked than the original, getting involved with girls, pranks, a Palo Alto controversy concerning french fries and ducks, and a mysterious bad guy who is after the aforementioned hormone. Throughout, Fisher offers observations (“in science, there are rules for everything. But people don’t behave according to rules”) and drawings of his inventions and secret plans. The story is quick flowing and if first-time author Castle can clone this fun in future sequels, he’ll be popular for sure. Grades 4-7. --Andrew Medlar
Castle’s debut, the first in a planned series, strikes just the right balance of humor and action and is sure to keep young readers turning the pages. Fisher’s struggles to fit in, to relate to girls and to uncover and preserve his true self feel genuine, making him a misfit and unlikely hero worth rooting for.An inventive new take on the traditional bully story.
– Kirkus Reviews
Heavy doses of self-deprecating humor, high-tech wizardry, and goofy middle-school antics add up to an amusing and action-packed adventure
. – Publishers Weekly
Endearingly awkward and eminently likable (despite what his classmates might think), Fisher is a protagonist to root for
, and his ultimate triumph over both the bullies and Dr. X offers a pleasing bit of wish fulfillment to any kid who has ever dreaded the beginning of the school week…[R]eaders will likely end up fantasizing about what they could get away with if only they too had a Two. – The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books
Debut author M.E. Castle's humorous novel about a geeky science genius will impress middle-grade boys everywhere
… Paired with illustrations, Popular Clone
is accessible to new chapter book readers and just right for fans of Michael Buckley's NERDS series. – ShelfAwareness for Readers
This fun novel is for kids who like Anthony Horowitz’s “Alex Rider” series (Philomel) and can handle the challenging scientific vocabulary. – School Library Journal
I recommend Popular Clone
for middle school aged students and anyone who can relate to just wanting to avoid bullies and conflict. Anyone who has ever faced a crisis in self-esteem will see a little bit of themselves in Fisher.
This is the first book from a new author in what promises to be a very entertaining series
, full of humor, suspense, middle school drama and nifty high-tech gadgetry. – The Buffalo News