Teen Boat! The Race for Boatlantis


Just when I thought every original idea had already been taken, used, recycled, and rebooted to death, along comes Teen Boat! – perhaps the most original concept I’ve read all year.

I somehow missed the first book in the series, which came out 2012, but it’s not necessarily required reading before tackling the sequel: The Race for Boatlantis.

In a nutshell, our protagonist is Teen Boat, an ordinary high school teenager that happens to be able to transform himself into a boat. Yep. And there’s no secret identify nonsense. His entire school knows he can turn into a boat, and it’s apparently no big deal.


Well, he used to be a big deal. I guess being half yacht makes you particularly popular with the ladies, but a rival soon comes to town: Teen Bot. Teen Bot has a rich daddy (i.e., he’s an arch nemesis), but his transforming powers are, ahem, less than impressive.

The school announces a boat race (because apparently this is a thing high schools do in Teen Boat’s world), with the winner receiving the coveted Orca’s Cup, which legend says leads the way to the mythical underwater city of Boatlantis . . . where boats are at the top of the social ladder.

The race, as they say, is on.

This is all told with tongue planted firmly in cheek, but the characters all play everything very seriously. In other words, Teen Boat and his friends (and enemies) think all of this is completely normal, but creators Dave Roman and John Green present everything with a sly wink to the reader.


Anthropomorphic submarines, icebergs, and chairs are all par for the course here. As are a string of nautical puns that will make you groan on every other page.

I wasn’t kidding about this being the most original concept I’ve read all year. And over on the Teen Boat website? They even have SONGS! Songs about Teen Boat!

I’m in love.

Recommended for practically any age, but there’s some quick smooching between teens, so – you know – it’s your call.


(Disclosure: HMH provided me with a review copy of this book. All opinions remain my own.)

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Jamie is a publishing/book nerd who makes a living by wrangling words together into some sense of coherence. He's the founder and owner of The Roarbots and also a contributor to Syfy Wire, StarWars.com, and GeekDad. On top of that, he hosts The Great Big Beautiful Podcast, which celebrates creativity in popular culture, science, and technology by talking to a wide variety of people who contribute to it.