This book has been on my reading list for a while, seeing as I fell in love with the concept merely with the title alone. You see, I am a genius of unspeakable evil and I was class president (Class of 2002, Howell High School...I have the varsity jacket to prove it), so naturally it was a given that I read this book. For varying reasons, I hadn't fit it into my reading schedule until recently. My girlfriend's car broke down, so that meant I had to drive her to her shift at J.C. Penney's. Not content to just drop her off at the mall (only to have to go and pick her up again), I wandered around Borders and found this book in the Bargain Bin for the third time. The other two times I'd managed not to succumb to the pressure of purchase, but the third was too much to ask. I opened the book and started reading it, just to make sure I could justify the shelf space. Needless to say, we know how that story ends.
However, if I were as evil as Oliver Watson, I could have just taken the book. You see, Oliver has everything he could ever dream of. Water fountain that covertly dispenses Root Beer and Chocolate Milk? He's got that. A zeppelin? Owns one and uses it to relax. A Pit Bull trained in the Basque language to possibly maim or kill an enemy? He calls her Lollipop. All of these things are simple to acquire when you're the third richest person in the world. But as Oliver finds out, there's one thing that's hard to buy while making it look like you didn't...an election. You see while Oliver is a genius to himself and his audience, his parents and his peers think he's...well, rather dim. It's the perfect cover to hide behind if you don't want anyone catching onto your extracurriculars, but it does make achieving goals rather difficult. Still, Oliver is about to give it his all, and his all might not be good enough. Which would mean it's time to rig things and take what he wants anyway.
The concept, if in a typical Childrens/Teens author's hands, could falter very easily and would probably be deemed too simplistic. This isn't the case with Josh Lieb's writing, and I wouldn't doubt him for a second. This may be his first novel, but he's been Executive Producer of a little cable news show you might have heard of called "The Daily Show", so one could assume his writing prowess would assumably be matched only by his wit. I'm pleased to say that he not only meets those expectations, he exceeds them swimmingly. Don't be fooled by the book's setting or marketing, because while this is a story of a young kid's drive for world domination it's written in a style that seems like it has Adults in mind as well. Also, this book really is laugh out loud funny.
Between smatterings of Pop Culture references (FYI: Your kids will ask you who Captain Beefheart is. It's unavoidable with this book.), details of the various machinations young Watson uses to get what he wants, and some hysterical visual aides, it's hard not to like this book for what it is: a really good, family friendly comedy. Six words I don't utter too much around these parts pretty much sum this book up. In fact, as soon as I finished the book, I handed it to a friend. Upon seeing the title, he laughed his head off just like I did. Ultimately, that is the true sign of a good book: it's good enough that you'd hand it off to someone else to read instead of just letting it gather dust on the shelf. If I have anything to do about it, I am a Genius of Unspeakable Evil and I Want to Be Your Class President will not be sitting on my shelf for long in the coming months, simply because it's too good to hide in a Bargain Bin.
Next Up: A Shore Thing by Nicole "Snooki" Polizzi