My rating: 4 of 5 stars
When Tommy's life begins unraveling the summer before junior high, the Create A Character contest for
I've already forgotten how I learned about this book but it sounded interest. '80s nostalgia, coming of age tale, etc. I had the issue of He-Man magazine as a kid with the create a character contest in it. Oddly enough, the winner, Fearless Photog, wasn't actually made into 2012, something a twitter peep filled me in on.
Anyway, this was a fun coming of age tale with some grim beginnings. Tommy's parents' marriage is on the rocks, his best friend has turned his back on him and joined up with a bulling shithead, and, damn it, that Create a Character contest is his one glimmer of hope.
SPOILER ALERT - Tommy goes on an odyssey across multiple states with only Fierce Phantos as his companion as he goes up against Skullagar and his minions on his journey to find the contest winner and ask him to pull some strings and get Tommy's Mechani-Ghoul character made into an action figure.
First, I'll get my gripe out of the way. This is a Young Adult book written in the last couple years. It's also got a pretty good helping of 1980s nostalgia in it so who's the audience supposed to be? That's pretty much my only gripe.
I found Tommy all too believable as a nerd who was betrayed by friends for more popular ones as a kid. As a father, I was mortified at how little Tommy's parents were paying attention to him. Sure, their marriage was falling apart but they still had a kid to take care of.
The quest aspect was believably done. Tommy's friendship with Fierce Phantos was well done and left up to interpretation for the most part, although what was Carlos looking at and what's with the REDACTED Tommy picked up at the end? I also liked that Tommy's quest did him good but didn't completely fix everything. Still, the ending was very satisfying.
I wonder if any effort to secure the Masters of the Universe license was made for this. It was a little odd that they referenced TV, comics, and movies from the '80s but He-Man and the Masters of the Universe became Masculon and the Order of Cosmic Champions. Whatever. Everyone knew what they were talking about.
Four out of five stars.
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