Nothing Can Possibly Go Wrong by Prudence Shen and Faith Erin Hicks, 288 pp, RL TEEN

Nothing Can Possibly Go Wrong by Prudence Shen and Faith Erin Hicks. As with Hicks's fantastic graphic novel Friends with Boys, Nothing Can Possibly Go Wrong first appeared as a webcomic (click to view.) And, as with Friends with BoysNothing Can Possibly Go Wrong is a substantial graphic novel with a big cast of characters and a great story to tell with this tagline: Bad sportsmanship? Sure. Chainsaws? Why not. Running away from home on Thanksgiving? Nothing can possibly go wrong.

And, for those of you who, like me, are fans of Raina Telgemeier's Drama and Smile and on the lookout for graphic novels to read while she works on her next book,  Nothing Can Possibly Go Wrong and Friends with Boys, while a bit of a step up in terms of the ages of the characters, will definitely prove very satisfying.

One of the hardest things about reviewing a graphic novel is writing a substantial piece that doesn't give too much of the story away. And I really don't want to do that with Nothing Can Possibly Go Wrong. While the ending is not a big surprise, getting there is so much fun. When the novel starts, we see Charlie Nolan, the school's "official benevolent jock," getting a break-up text from his girlfriend Holly, the head cheerleader. A minute later, Charlie's neighbor, childhood friend and car owner, Nate Harding, pulls up to give him a lift home. These two have the closest thing I've ever seen to a guy version of "frenemies." Nate is a geek and president of the Robotics Club by way of the fact that his parents let them work in their basement. The club hopes to attend the Annual National Robotics Competition in April but, as Charlie learns when Nate tears out of the school parking lot, the cheerleaders are petitioning the student council for money to buy new competition uniforms which will mean no money for the science club to go to the robotics competition. Even though she broke up with him, Holly is sure she can manipulate Charlie and starts his campaign for student body president without telling him. Nate goes on the attack and begins his own campaign. The dirty tricks escalate until everyone finds themselves in the principal's office, their funding denied. 


That's when things go from, well, fun to funner. If you can't beat them, join them. Nate has a plan that involves the cheerleaders, chainsaws and running away from home on Thanksgiving to compete in the 6th annual Robot Rumble in Atlanta, GA with $20,000 in prize money. Layered into the high stakes competition between the cheerleaders and the geeks is Charlie's personal story and his efforts to come to terms with his parent's divorce and his mother's move across the country. Hicks's illustrations are pitch perfect and her range of abilities - from depicting a fast paced basketball game to a hectic robotic competition - are impressive. It's impossible not to get caught up in the story. It all adds up for a fantastic, fulfilling read!

Source: Review Copy

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