Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Other Sellers on Amazon
+ $3.99 shipping
+ Free Shipping
+ $3.99 shipping
The Mighty Odds (The Odds Series #1) Hardcover – September 13, 2016
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
From School Library Journal
Gr 5–8—Martina, Nick, Farshad, and Cookie are classmates who barely know one another. After a field trip to Philadelphia, the four students end up on the same bus back to school. Disaster strikes when the bus gets in a bad accident. Nick is flung from the vehicle while Martina, Farshad, and Cookie are trapped. The tweens manage to save one another and their substitute teacher, Mr. Friend, in the nick of time, with the help of a local Amish boy. Unfortunately, the accident is only the beginning of trouble for this quartet. After getting out of the hospital, each notices that something is different. Martina's eyes change colors. Cookie can read minds when it involves directions. Farshad has incredible strength…in his thumbs. Nick can teleport but only four inches to the left. What actually happened in the crash, and why is their substitute teacher after them? Ignatow brings humor and a big dose of silliness to this new series. Superpowers always seem tempting, but, as these four tweens discover, there's a downside that comes with their new abilities. This is also the case for the book itself. The cast is diverse, but some of the language is troublesome. Cookie is referred to as a "beautiful black pearl" and a "dearest chocolate-skinned empress" by Nick's best friend, Jay. Farshad is nicknamed "Terror Boy" throughout most of the story. Though Ignatow works to unpack the language, and Farshad's nickname in particular, the descriptions of Cookie remain problematic. VERDICT This offering has plenty of reader appeal, with an ending designed to hook kids into the next installment. However, the microaggressions will be an issue for any librarian.—Sarah Wethern, Douglas County Library, Alexandria, MN
"Ignatow turns on its head the classic middle school good kids-vs.-the populars/bullies trope... Hilarious and revealing, this series opener is a must-have."
Top customer reviews
I have to confess that my daughter selected this book and I was not initially all that enthusiastic. Ignatow's writing style though just draws you into the mystery she crafted. The author creates 4 amazingly well-developed characters that each represents a stereotypical "type" of student - the nerd, the outcast, the popular kid, and the artsy kid. As an adult having lived through middle school, it is easy to relate to this diverse group who are generally oil and water to each other. Watching them be forced to work with each other and look beyond the stereotypes made for an exciting plot and a great life lesson too. Each of the characters understood that they were not just the way other people perceived them and yet were not mature enough to understand that the inverse was also therefore true; the other students were more complex than a confining stereotypical box. There is also a fifth character, Jay, who is largely considered the school's oddball and is Nick the nerd's best friend. He is really one of my favorite characters. He is blissfully unaware of what others think about him which allows him more freedom in many ways since he is unfettered by some of the self-imposed social constraints. He is open and funny and speaks in a overly dramatic fashion. I give you all that background to share one of my favorite lines from the book and really I think, the most important "lesson" if you will from reading this. Jay says to Martina the artsy girl, "You are a very surprising lady, Martina Saltis. Why haven't we ever spoken before?"
Part of loving to read is loving words also. A couple of weeks ago I heard someone use the word schadenfreude which means to enjoy someone else's misery or misfortune. I looked the word up and then checked online to learn how to pronounce it correctly. The word seriously rolls off the tongue! My daughters and I have been saying it to each other at random times all week and my youngest even made up a song using the word! Well, you cannot imagine our surprise when on page 63, Farshad, the outcast, is experiencing a sense of schadenfreude when Cookie, the popular girl, gets into trouble on a school field trip. I could not believe this word I had lived my whole life without hearing until the week before showed up in a middle grade book! My daughter and I both did a happy dance and then she called my mom to tell her!
Overall, we loved this book but I would be remiss if I did not warn you that this book ends in a cliffhanger. I personally hate cliffhangers and generally wait until all the parts have been published before reading them. I often knock off a point in the review if a book ends in a cliffhanger and I was not warned. This book really is too good for only 4 stars so I am leaving this as a 5-star albeit a slightly disgruntled 5-star. The next book is due May thirtieth. My daughter and I both agonized over that a bit. I had my 7-year-old calculate exactly how many days until then so I guess it was not a complete loss!
A school bus crashes in a field. No! Don’t worry! No one is killed (that we can tell). And the bus was just full of a bunch of disparate kids without any particular connection to one another. There was the substitute teacher and the bus driver (who has disappeared). And there was mean girl Cookie (the only black girl in school and one of the most popular), Farshad (nicknamed “Terror Boy” long ago by Cookie), Nick (nerdy and sweet), and Martina (the girl no one notices, though she’s always drawing in her sketchbook). After the accident everything should have just gotten back to normal. Trouble is, it didn’t. Each person who was on or near the bus when the accident occurred is a little bit different. It might be a small thing, like the fact that Martina’s eyes keep changing color. It might be a weird thing, like how Cookie can read people’s minds when they’re thinking of directions. It might be a powerful thing, like Farshad’s super strength in his thumbs. Or it might be a potentially powerful, currently weird thing like Nick’s sudden ability to teleport four inches to his left. And that’s before they discover that someone is after them. Someone who means them harm.
Superhero misfits are necessarily new. Remember Mystery Men? This book reminded me a lot of that old comic book series / feature film. In both cases superpowers are less a metaphor and more a vehicle for hilarity. I read a lot of books for kids but only once in a while do I find one enjoyable enough to sneak additional reads of on the sly. This book hooked me fairly early on, and I credit its sense of humor for that. Here’s a good example of it. Early in the book Cookie and a friend are caught leaving the field trip for their own little side adventure. The kids in their class speculate what they got up to and one says that clearly they got drunk. Farshad's dry wit then says, “… because two twelve-year-olds finding a bar in Philadelphia that would serve them at eleven A.M. was completely plausible.” Add in the fact that they go to “Deborah Read Middle School” (you’ll have to look it up) and I'm good to go.
Like I’ve said, the book could have just been another fun, bloodless superhero misfit storyline. But Ignatow likes challenges. When she wrote the Popularity Papers books she gave one of her two heroines two dads and then filled the pages with cursive handwriting. Here, her heroes are a variety of different races and backgrounds, but this isn’t a Benetton ad. People don't get along. Cookie’s the only black kid in her school and she’s been very careful to cement herself as popular from the start. When her mom moved them to Muellersville, Cookie had to be careful to find a way to become “the most popular and powerful person in school.” Martina suggests at one point that she likes being angry, and indeed when the world starts to go crazy on her the thing that grounds her, if only for a moment, is anger. And why shouldn’t she be angry? Her mom moved her away from her extended family to a town where she knew no one, and then her mother married a guy with two kids fairly fast. Cookie herself speculates about the fact that she probably has more in common with Farshad than she’d admit. “He was the Arab Kid, just like Cookie was the Black Girl and Harshita Singh was the Indian Girl and Danny Valdez was the Hispanic Guy and Emma Lee was the Asian Chick. They should have all formed a posse long ago and walked around Muellersville together, just to freak people out.” Cookie realizes that she and Farshad need to have one another’s backs. “It was one thing to be a brown person in Muellersville and another to be a brown person in Muellersville with superpowers.” At this point in time Ignatow doesn't dig any deeper into this, but Cookie's history, intentions, and growth give her a depth you won't find in the usual popular girl narrative.
For the record, I have a real appreciation for contemporary books that feature characters that get almost zero representation in books. For example, one of the many things I love about Tom Angleberger’s The Qwikpick Papers series is that one of the three heroes is Jehovah’s Witness. In this book, one of the kids that comes to join our heroes is Amish. Amish kids are out there. They exist. And they almost never EVER get heroic roles in stories about a group of friends. And Abe doesn't have a large role in this book, it's true, but it's coming.
Having just one African-American in the school means that you’re going to have ignorant other characters. Cookie has done a good job at getting the popular kids in line, but that doesn’t mean that everyone is suddenly enlightened. Anyone can be tone deaf. Even one of our heroes, which in this case means Nick’s best friend, the somewhat ADD, always chipper Jay. Now I’ve an odd bit of affection for Jay, and not just because in his endless optimism he honestly thinks he’ll get permission to show his class “Evil Dead Two” on the field trip bus (this may also mark the first time an “Evil Dead” film has been name dropped in a middle grade novel, by the way). The trouble comes when he talks about Cookie. He has a tendency to not just be tone deaf but veering into really racially questionable territory when he praises her. Imagine a somewhat racist Pepe Le Pew. That’s Jay. He’s a small town kid who’s only known a single solitary black person his entire life and he's enamored with her. Still, that’s no excuse for calling her “my gorgeous Nubian queen” or saying someday they’ll “make coffee-colored babies.” I expected a little more a comeuppance for Jay and his comments, but I suppose that’ll have to wait for a future book in the series. At the very least, his words are sure to raise more than few eyebrows from readers.
Funny is good. Great even. But funny doesn’t lift a middle grade book out of the morass of other middle grade books that are clogging up the bookstores and libraries of the world. To hit home you need to work just a smidgen of heart in there. A dose of reality. Farshad’s plight as the victim of anti-Muslim sentiment is very real, but it’s also Nick’s experiences with his dying/dead father that do some heavy lifting. As you get to know Nick, Ignatow sprinkles hints about his life throughout the text in a seamless manner. Like when Nick is thinking about weird days in his life and flashes back to the day after his dad’s funeral. He and his mom had “spent the entire day flopped on the couch, watching an impromptu movie marathon of random films (The Lord of the Rings, They Live, Some Like It Hot, Ghostbusters, and Babe) and eating fancy stuff from the gift baskets that people had sent, before finally getting up to order pizza.” There’s a strong smack of reality in that bit, and there are more like it in the book. A funny book that sucker punches your heart from time to time makes for good reading.
Lest we forget, this is an illustrated novel. Ignatow makes the somewhat gutsy choice of not explaining the art for a long time. Long before we even get to know Martina, we see her in various panels and spreads as an alien. In time, we learn that the art in this book is all her art, and that she draws herself as a Martian because that’s what her sister calls her. Not that you’ll know any of this for about 125 pages. The author makes you work to get at that little nugget of knowledge. By the way, as a character, Martina the artist is fascinating. She’s sort of the Luna Lovegood of the story. Or, as Nick puts it, “She had a sort of almost absentminded way of saying things that shouldn’t have been true but probably were.” There is one tiny flub in the art when Martina draws all the kids as superheroes and highlights Farshad’s thumbs, though at that point in the storyline no one knows that those are his secret weapons. Other than that, it’s pretty perfect.
It’s also pretty clearly middle school fare, if based on language alone. You’ve got kids leaving messages on cinderblocks that read “Nolite te bastardes carborundorum” or “Don’t let the bastards get you down.” That may be the most realistic middle school detail I’ve read in a book in a long time. The bullying is systematic, realistic, and destructive (though that’s never clear to the people doing the bullying). A little more hard core than what an elementary school book might discuss. And Cookie is a superb bully. She’s honestly baffled when Farshad confronts her about what she's done to him with her rumors.
A word of warning to the wise: This is clearly the first book in a longer series. When you end this tale you will know the characters and know their powers but you still won’t know who the bad guys are exactly, why the kids got their powers (though the bus driver does drop one clue), or where the series is going next. For a story where not a lot of time passes, it really works the plotting and strong characterizations in there. I like middle grade books that dream big and shoot for the moon. “The Mighty Odds” does precisely that and also works in some other issues along the way. Just to show that it can. Great, fun, silly, fantastical fantasy work. A little smarter and a little weirder than most of the books out there today.
For ages 10 and up.
Most recent customer reviews
Title: The Mighty Odds
Author: Amy Ignatow
Review: The first thing I noticed about this book was the...Read more