The title of this book just made me giggle, and it’s so very true! In a world where everything is special and exceptional, nothing truly is, and following in the footsteps of the extraordinary is a far reach for many. Please read on for my audiobook review of The League of Unexceptional Children by Gitty Daneshvari
Jonathan and Shelley are just kids: not first or last picks in sports, not first or last picks in friends, average grades, in fact, they are often forgotten not long after they leave a room. While not Exceptional, these two are completely the opposite, and the perfect fit for a new mission to save the United States from danger and destruction.
The League of Unexceptional Children is the story of how Jonathan and Shelly came to join this group of ordinary kids, tasked with extraordinary missions that use their lack of memorability to solve mysteries, and in this case, save the President of the United States from kidnappers.
Full of moments that shine, Gitty Daneshvari manages to mix in awkwardly comic moments, well suited to the target age of 8 – 11, and not surprisingly, these moments do manage to display just how one doesn’t need superpowers or magic to actually make a difference. Sometimes friendship, solid forward motion and a bit of belief in self is all it takes. I would have liked a more solidly developed backstory for both Jonathan and Shelley, we are given briefer notes about them, not quite enough to present them as fully formed. And, the pairing is an odd one, focuses more on quirks and dialogue that moves from slightly film-noir to present day, this adds to intrigue but does leave some holes and questions overall.
Narration for this story is provided by Amanda Philipson, who has a perky, upbeat style of delivery, well-suited for this story, even as her variations in tone and delivery for the characters was less than I expected. The characters do have strong individual voices that were not always presented as such, but her delivery of dialogue and funny moments are solid. A decent performance that I wish had more distinction for characters, but didn’t take away from the content or context.
It wasn’t perfect, but the story is fun and filled with enough action, humor and true to life moments that kids ages 8 and above will find it a fun read. More importantly, the true lesson of this book is a subtle one, differences can be made when you try to do your best.
Stars: Overall 3 Narration 3 Story 3.5
Title: The League of Unexceptional Children
Author: Gitty Daneshvari
Genre: Middle Grade Fiction
Narrator: Amanda Philipson
Published by: Hachette Audio
Published on: 20 October 2015
Source: Hachette Audio
Audio Length: 4 Hours
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Are you average? Normal? Forgettable? If so, the League of Unexceptional Children is for you!
This first book in a hilarious new adventure series is for anyone who's struggled to be noticed in a sea of above-average overachievers.What is the League of Unexceptional Children? I'm glad you asked. You didn't ask? Well, you would have eventually and I hate to waste time.
The League of Unexceptional Children is a covert network that uses the nation's most average, normal, and utterly unexceptional children as spies. Why the average kids? Why not the brainiacs? Or the beauty queens? Or the jocks? It's simple: People remember them.
But not the unexceptionals. They are the forgotten ones. Until now!
A copy of this title was provided via Hachette Audio for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.