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Mighty Jack, by Ben Hatke

Review copy provided by First Second Books.

This is the first in a new Hatke series. For those who have enjoyed Zita the Spacegirl and stand-alone works like Little Robot and (my personal favorite) Julia’s House for Lost Creatures, a new Hatke book is reason to sit up and take notice–a new series perhaps doubly so.

Jack has a single mom struggling to make it all work and a sister–Maddy–who is substantially non-verbal. He wants to help more than he’s allowed to, and it’s all very frustrating. Until a bad trade at the flea market leaves him and Maddy with packets of fascinating alien seeds. Their new garden draws the attention of their sword-fighting neighbor, Lilly, who has ideas of her own about what to do with the creatures who come out of the ground.

Mighty Jack ends on a cliffhanger, and a lot of how I feel about the series will depend on how it’s resolved. So far everybody is doing their best, and everybody has sensible motivations that don’t always work well together. But it’s Jack’s story. How will Hatke keep that balance going? The cliffhanger has me in genuine suspense–how will he resolve it and how soon? It’s pretty rare that I’m not sure. But this time I really don’t know. I’m eager for the next volume, to find out.

Please consider using our link to buy Mighty Jack from Amazon.

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