- Teen Boat! The Race for Boatlantis
- written by Dave Roman
- illustrated by John Green
- published by Clarion Books / Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (2015)
- Roar Score: 4/5
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.
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.)