Just Jake by Jake Marcionette Book Review

Just Jake by Jake Marcionette
Illustrations by Victor Revis Villa
Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap
Release Date: February 4, 2014

Jake is made of pure awesome. Problem is, the kids in his new school don't know it yet. Following a few simple rules to raise his awesome quotient, Jake navigates his new school, neighborhood bullies, and one strange kid who may be even more awesome than anyone can imagine.

For the Wimpy Kid lovers, Jake is simple book with a character who is anything but humble, just like Greg Hefley. The biggest difference between the two is that Jake is (or says he is) actually awesome and Greg just imagines that he is. There were the usual tropes, an older teen sister that he hates, the moving to a new city, a bully, and a weird kid. The plot was rather simplistic, with no subplots beyond sibling rivalry and no winks to the reader like in Wimpy Kid. Part of the whimsy of the Wimpy Kids books is that Greg really does think he is great and it is the reader who is aware that he is self-centered and a terrible friend. For Jake, there is no such depth to the plot or the character. Jake is awesome, now he just has to prove it. Truth be told, there really wasn't anything awesome about Jake. He is an average kid with a passing talent at drawing and a knack for finding other kids who have similar awesome potential. He isn't a bad or mean character, he is just entirely self-centered.

 The clip art and illustrations are what will draw the reader into this story though. It is perfect for the reluctant reader and also written on a reading level that would make it perfect for students moving from chapter books into middle grade fiction.