My name is Owen Birnbaum, and I’m probably fatter than you are.
In the interests of full disclosure, my review copy was supplied by the author.
Twelve year old Owen Birnbaun, is a genius and a brilliant inventor. But he’s also a fatty, probably the fattest kid in his school in fact, and he has to suffer daily humiliation of name calling and bullying, from both his fellow students and his Gym teacher (why is it always the Gym teacher? )
But more importantly someone is steeling Owen’s Oreos!
Owen must navigate the daily hell that is the Martha Doxie School, while also solving the mystery of the cookie thief, and completing his Nemesis project.
You see, there is another mystery Owen needs to solve. Something dreadful happened almost two years ago, and Owen believes that his invention, Nemesis, is the only way to unlock what happened.
Of course, Owen can’t see the wood, for the trees, and Owen must discover that sometimes the answer is in the here and now, not the past, and no matter that he is 57% fatter than the national average, when it comes to it Owen Birnbaun’s heart is far bigger!
I wasn’t sure what I was going to make of this one, when Ellen emailed me to ask if I wanted to review it, I’ve not read a lot of what is classed as middle-grad fiction, even though I have read tonnes of young adult stuff, but the plot intrigued me, and I thought the cover was fantastic, so I agreed to give it a go.
I’m so glad I did. Owen, is a wonderful self-depreciating character, and I loved getting to know him and his sarcastic wit. while following his journey, as he finally starts to put the events of the last two years behind him, and regains the belief in himself to move forward.
The reason for why Owen is searching for answers, comes with a sucker punch of a revelation at around the mid point of the story, and Ellen Potter makes a fantastic job of making sure this informs the story rather than overwhelming it. The revelation itself, only makes you feel for and like Owen even more. Desptie his worries he is obviously a fabulous brother.
Thankfully, while there are lessons for Owen and the reader to learn (about making assumptions about people – the story line about Mason Ragg the kid, Owen first suspects is stealing his Oreo’s perfectly captures the ill-informed rumour mills that schools can be) it never slips into issue mode, and concentrates on telling Owen’s tale.
Pitched perfectly for the 9-12 year old market, it will be enjoyed by many others too, I’m sure.