Monday, December 19, 2011

Book Review: Kevin's Point of View, by Del Shannon

Title: Kevin's Point of View
Author: Del Shannon
Format: Trade Paperback, 400 pages
Publisher: Flatiron View Books
Publication Date: October 26, 2010
Genre: Middle-Grade Fantasy

Reviewer's Note:  I received this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

When Del Shannon first contacted me to request a review, I was hesitant about accepting, because I didn't care much for the title of this novel.  It just sounded too ordinary to me.  Then I read the plot synopsis included in Mr. Shannon's email, and was quite intrigued.  Next, I looked up the book on Goodreads, read several very favorable reviews, and decided to accept the book for my own review.

Well, I was very pleasantly surprised when I actually got into the story!  This is a really fun read!  Yet, it is also a poignant one, for Kevin, the very appealing title character, is a highly imaginative twelve-year-old attempting to deal with his father's untimely death.  He does this through his own made-up super hero adventures.  Ironically, he ends up stumbling into a real-life adventure that rivals anything he can make up. 

The whole plot revolves around a comically-named gadget, the "Influxitron".  This device, described as "no bigger than a television remote control", is a time machine invented by someone mysteriously known as "RJ".  It was housed at the National Institute of Standards and Technology, and one Devin Talon was assigned to watch over it and its inventor.  There was a catch, however...Devin coveted the device for himself, in order to undo every bad circumstance in his past, as well as gain power over every government on the face of the earth.  It was a simple matter for him to have R.J. die in a contrived 'accident', and then present a mess of scrap parts from a destroyed computer as the smashed-up Influxitron to his supervisors, who believed the little time machine had actually been damaged beyond repair. 

Then Devin was able to take the Influxitron for himself.  Along with his bumbling, rather idiotic -- and pretty much unwilling -- partner, Pudge, he begins to set his diabolical plan in motion...

Enter Kevin Tobin at this point.  Somehow, the package containing the Influxitron ends up at his house, due to a mistake made by Pudge, and the fun begins!  (Although we've already been treated to some very funny scenes, mostly involving Kevin and his stalwart friend, Tony.)

As the story progresses, Kevin and Tony find themselves chased by Devin and his cohorts, and must elude them at all costs.

Amid all the mayhem, the characters go through lots of hilarious episodes.  There's one very funny incident involving a pizza delivery guy, and many others.

Throughout, Kevin retains his aplomb, as he and Tony attempt to thwart the evil plans of the equally comical villains. 

The characters in this quirky novel are stereotypical ones, because the book is not only meant as comedy, but also as a spoof of such things as Saturday morning cartoons, evil villains who want to conquer and dominate the world, and bumbling sidekicks whose errors end up helping the good guys in their endless battle against would-be world dictators. 

The action is non-stop, as Kevin switches back and forth from the real world to his made-up one, in which he uses events in reality as inspiration for his imaginary exploits.  Shannon does a great job of seamlessly flowing from one world to the other, as Kevin also switches super hero personalities according to the events at hand. 

Although I had other books going at the same time, and went back and forth from this novel to them, I did end up getting to the end, where everything is tied up together very nicely, and Kevin has actually become a real hero!  The poignant undercurrent to the story is finally resolved in the end, as well. 

This book is not only for its intended middle-grade audience, but for anyone who enjoys a great laugh and a rollicking adventure.  Imaginative, unique, and kooky, it will bring you out of any doldrums you might happen to be in.  This novel will not only tickle your funny bone, but will totally immerse you in the crazy adventures of Kevin and Tony.  You will run from the villains right along with them, and when they trump their adversaries with their super-hero antics, you'll cheer them on.

You will also identify with Kevin's love for his father, see him do his best to come to grips with his grief, and then try to 'fix' the inevitable... The sobering undercurrent of the novel is not only touching, but is also a tenuous tether to the reality that Kevin wants to escape from -- a reality which no longer includes his father.

So the reader not only laughs, but also wistfully wonders how Kevin will ultimately deal with the loss of his father.  We can all identify with this, since all of us have lost someone, perhaps not through death, but certainly through divorce of simple abandonment.  Kudos to Shannon for throwing in a bit of angst.  Just as a novel focused on drama needs some comic relief, one focused on comedy needs that touch of drama.  Is there such a thing as 'dramatic relief'?  I doubt that any such term exists, but Shannon has surely -- and deftly -- made use of the device. 

In short, is spite of the title, I think this book deserves the highest rating!  I wonder if there's a sequel ahead.  If so, I will certainly want to get it!  And I'm definitely hoping for a movie series, as well!


Del Shannon

Where To Buy: Amazon, Barnes&Noble


  1. What a FUN idea for a book! I'm glad you took a chance on it; sometimes I discover the best books that way.
    And I LOVE the author's name; some readers may remember that there was a popular singer from the early 60's called Del Shannon.

  2. Hi, Rachel!

    Yeah, sometimes one has to go out on a limb in order to discover a great book!

    When I was googling this author to see if he had a website (the book does, but he himself doesn't), I discovered the 60's singer. I had never heard of him before, either.

    Thanks for the comment!! : )

  3. Hi Maria! I've to admit, I haven't read the whole post - I got it for review not so long ago, and I don't want to spoil it too badly! But I've read the first half or so, and wow! I'm so looking forward to it! The characters sound hilarious, the kind of good old fun where you can throw any plot at them and make it amusing.

    Thanks for another great review!

    Ron @ Stories of my life

  4. Oh, you're going to read and review this book yourself? Wonderful! You will definitely enjoy it! I'm looking forward to your review!!

    Thank you so much for your comment, and espeially your complimment! You're so sweet!!

    I gotta go over to your blog and return the favor!! : )

  5. Hi Maria!

    Wow! I'm! I showed your review to my wife and we both agree that this was probably the BEST review I've received so far. Not because of the star rating, but because of how well written it is and also your insights into the story. You seem to have caught every subtle influence and nuance I tried to include while writing. I was especially amazed when you mentioned the spoofs of Saturday morning cartoons, etc. Yes, this is exactly the type of 'feel' I was trying to create in my story. One of my favorite things growing up was getting up early on Saturday's and disappearing into cartoons where everything and everyone was stereotypical, but yet deliciously fun.

    And whether you know it now or not, the term 'dramatic relief' will now forever be tied to you and this review. This was unbelievably insightful and spot on.!

    Thank you for taking a chance on Kevin's Point of View. I really appreciate your efforts and feel very grateful you agreed to read and review this book.



  6. Hi, Del!

    Oh, thank you SO much!!!! I greatly appreciate your wonderful compliments on my review!! I'm truly honored. I'm very glad I decided to take a chance on your book -- it was well worth it!! All those insights I picked up from the story were precisely what made it such a wonderful read!

    As for the term 'dramatic relief', gee, I guess I've coined a term, haven't I? Lol. But that's precisely what I felt. Your inclusion of the loss of Kevin's dad not only gives the story some emotional depth, in the midst of all the kooky goings-on, but also provides a break from the comedy. Very well-balanced, indeed! So I'm quite proud that this term will now be forever associated with me and this review!

    Thank you so very much for your great comments, and you're very welcome for the review! Your book really deserves it!

    And now I hope you start working on a sequel ASAP! Lol. : )

  7. Oh, Del, I just noticed you're following my blog now!!! Thank you!!!!!!


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