Nothing Can Possibly Go Wrong had been on the radar for a while. I was not completely convinced until a few weeks ago when I saw it sitting next to another book at the library that I wanted. I figured it was a sign to get it them. I went home and read it. Prudence Shen’s story is decent. It is a solid story about friendship and being a teen with issues. It has its stereotypical moments (the nasty cheerleaders, the basketball jock trying to not be “jus” a jock, science vs. sports), but overall was not unpleasant to read. Granted, I was not a huge fan of the characters individually, as most are two dimensional, but at the same time they are mostly realistic as well. There are some fun moments (a set of twins have some lines that are both funny and cringe worthy. To say the least, they are not very PC).
What I enjoyed that despite being a Teen Story about friends, frenemies and dealing with pressures of family, there were a few nontraditional elements as well. The main one is, the geeks/science kids are diverse and not stereotypical (yes, they are “geeks” but not pimples, uncool or Nerds). There is a female and it is no big deal (yes, she can be a little “girly” but not “wimpy”), people of color and the jock and science kid are friends, but they are not always on the same page (stereotypical, but at the same time, this was the strongest friendship, you see this lasting pass high school). The other part was, yes, they build a robot, but to get their goal they take their robot to a Killer Robot Competition (or a battlebot competition). This was a fun twist to the “geek/robot” storyline. There is another twist at the end that saves the book from being typically cliche, adds some humor and actually is more realistic than anything else.
What I was disappointed in was the lack of color in the illustrations. In fact, they were completely black and white. I understand color is expensive, but perhaps something someplace could have been worked out. Also, this was one of the earlier graphic novels/First Second Books, so I am assuming they were “learning the ropes” for the contemporary audience. Faith Erin Hicks is a great artist but was limited by the standards of the time. This does make it hard sometimes to realize who is speaking, or some of the action.