Unbelievably Boring Bart
Unbelievably Boring Bart

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Annotation: Brainy twelve-year-old Bart attracts little attention at his new middle school near Hollywood, California; but whenever he can get around his gym-coach father, he secretly hunts electricity-guzzling aliens.
Catalog Number: #172115
Format: Perma-Bound Edition from Publisher's Hardcover
All Formats: Search
Copyright Date: 2018
Edition Date: 2018
Illustrator: Bonet, Xavier,
Pages: 258 pages
Availability: Available
New Title: Yes
ISBN: Publisher: 0-316-41153-1 Perma-Bound: 0-7804-3360-2
ISBN 13: Publisher: 978-0-316-41153-0 Perma-Bound: 978-0-7804-3360-1
Dewey: Fic
LCCN: 2017035235
Dimensions: 20 cm.
Language: English
ALA Booklist
A home-coded computer game becomes a lonely, persecuted middle-schooler's ticket both to stardom and revenge. Aside from being the designated victim for a trio of bullies, Bart is so invisible that teachers sometimes even mark him absent. But he's secretly crafted Hecklr, an augmented reality app that covers the town in spidery "alien invaders" who can only be banished by (family-friendly) creative threats. When the app escapes his control and becomes a local craze, Bart performs a bit of programming legerdemain that sets up his three tormentors for humiliating public defeats, after which he himself steps out of the crowd to "save the day." The authors kit out their nerdy narrator with a nuanced supporting cast headed by a clueless but educable divorced dad as caregiver, and a new chat friend, Aaliyah (depicted as African American in Bonet's informal ink drawings), who turns out to be a wheelchair-using agoraphobic neighbor cyberschooled at home. Similarly beleaguered readers will glory in Bart's utter triumph en when that triumph is the discovery that revenge isn't really that sweet.
Kirkus Reviews
Bart hides behind a boring facade while secretly working on a video game.Though Bart claims to be boring, frequent illustrations of the inventive ways Bart sees the world mark him as entertaining from the start. Then Bart discloses that he's been tasked with defending the Earth against an invasion of the tech-eating Lerkians—only to reveal the phone app he uses to do so is really a game he's invented that takes inspiration from his difficulties with bullies. When the game goes viral, Bart finds himself spending all of his time debugging it, which comes between him and his only friend—a cyberschooled girl who lives in his apartment building but whom he talks to only via a Snapchat-esque app. With the announcement that a popular YouTube channel will be coming to town to cover Bart's game, Bart decides to use the show and his proceeds to get revenge on his three bullies—but the turnabout doesn't work out as he hopes. The bullying storylines play out with nuance—though neither the bullies nor Bart face official consequences for their actions, the interactions lead to introspection and growth. Introverted, white Bart is happy that people like his game, but he prefers a smaller friendship circle—especially his neighbor friend, who is eventually revealed to be a girl of color with disabilities.Wish fulfillment with surprising meat. (Fiction. 7-12)
Publishers Weekly
This illustrated novel blends coding, video games, aliens, and bullies into one snarky stew. Bartholomew Bean, unassuming new kid at school, wears his self-given title of -most boring middle schooler in the universe- like a badge of honor. That-s because he-s concealing a thrilling secret project: a virtual reality game app. -Boring Bart- endures transgressions from three school bullies all day, and at home brushes off bonding attempts from his sports-obsessed father in favor of tweaking his game. When his app goes viral, Bart wrestles with whether to reveal his identity and use the app to get back at his tormentors. A frenzied denouement-livestreamed for all to see-sort of allows both. Patterson and Swierczynski pepper their text with tech terms and serve up breezy pacing and of-the-moment subject matter. Bart-s narration sometimes has an overly knowing tone that can prove grating, but its teamwork-themed conclusion is laudable, and the final pages nicely tee up Bart-s promised next outing. Ages 8-12. (Sept.)
School Library Journal
Gr 35 Bartholomew Bean, an excessively boring middle schooler, and his gym-teacher dad have just moved to Rancho Verdugo, CA. Bart is used to being invisible and living in his own world; his new environment is no different. Until, that is, Bart creates an augmented reality (AR) app, Hecklr, that brings an alien species, the Lerkians, to destroy all the technology in Rancho Verdugo. When the app craze takes over the country, Bart decides to change the code to exact revenge on his bully enemies right before they live stream the game on a popular gamer's channel. Despite what could have been a promising premise, the story line falls flat. Quibbles about augmented reality and virtual reality aside [the app is clearly an AR program, but is referred to as VR (virtual reality) through the entire book], Bart's motivations are confusing and his character is one-dimensional. It is unclear how Hecklr actually works, and its widespread popularity while only being actually playable while in the town of Rancho Verdugo is baffling. Even the chapter design is perplexing; chapter headings are denoted by an illustration of gems, coins, and heartsthe iconic currencies of a "pay to win" game. However, Bart mentions that his game is free to play and he's not in it for money. VERDICT Unbelievably Boring Bart holds far too true to its name. Skip it. Taylor Worley, Springfield Public Library, OR
Reviewing Agencies: - Find Other Reviewed Titles
ALA Booklist (Thu Nov 01 00:00:00 CDT 2018)
Kirkus Reviews
Publishers Weekly
School Library Journal (Fri Jun 01 00:00:00 CDT 2018)
Word Count: 24,069
Reading Level: 4.8
Interest Level: 4-7
Accelerated Reader: reading level: 4.8 / points: 4.0 / quiz: 196578 / grade: Middle Grades
Invisible creatures are attacking the school, and a 12-year-old boy is the only one who can stop them in this fun, hilarious middle grade novel.

Okay, so maybe Bartholomew Bean is only a hero in the video game app he created. But if he reveals his identity as the genius behind the game, he'll become the most popular kid in school! Or he could secretly use the game to get back at his bullies . . .

Press Button A: Reveal
Press Button B: Revenge

Which would you choose?

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