Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Middle-Grade Book Review & Giveaway: The Rotten Adventures of Zachary Ruthless

Author: Allan Woodrow
Illustrator: Aaron Blecha
Release Date: April 26th, 2011
Publisher: HarperCollins
Source: Swiped the ARC out of the author's hands--literally!
Reviewer: Hilary Wagner
Giveaway: ARC and matching bookmark

Okay, so I met Allan at a recent author event we both appeared at in Chicagoland. The book signing portion comes along, and wouldn't you know it, Wagner and Woodrow are sitting side-by-side! I know Alan from the SCBWI, but had never met him in-person, so as you can imagine, when he pulled out a stack of those bright purple and green Zachary Ruthless ARC's, I got real chummy, real fast! Long story short, Allan's a super cool guy, and his debut novel THE ROTTEN ADVENTURES OF ZACHARY RUTHLESS is just as funny and fantastic as he is!

About the Book:
Zachary's lifelong dream is to join SOURBALLS, the world's most evil gang of super villains. But first he must perform a horrible deed. Zachary is forced to battle the horrible Mayor Mudfogg and others, not only to join the Society Of Utterly Rotten, Beastly And Loathsome Lawbreaking Scoundrels, but to survive.

What I Thought:
Boll weevils, rubber cockroaches, mustard, zombies, zucchini flavored gum, hypnotizing glasses, and of course a Box of Rotten...these are just a handful of the oh so handy things you'll find in THE ROTTEN ADVENTURES OF ZACHARY RUTHLESS.

The first book in the series, which follows around ten year old Zachary Ruthless, who, as you can guess by his name, is NOT exactly the sweetest kid on the block, is laugh out loud hilarious! I read it with my eight year old son, who was laughing his eight year old head off throughout the book, even dragging me (well, I wanted to see it, but I acted like I was being dragged) onto the website, a fun addition to the series, not to mention a great place to "Shop Evil"!

Woodrow has done a masterful job at relating the mindset of middle-grade kids, especially the naughty ones (which led me to some regret after reading, because he's only given my son more ideas on how to drive me insane!) This book is great for kids at all reading levels, and like the Wimpy Kid series, it will pull any reluctant reader out of their shell. It reads quickly and it's fast pace and action will allow even the most restless of readers to stay sitting for the whole book. Illustrator, Aarron Blecha, does a great job as well. The illustrations are perfect for the tone of the book and really add to the action.
Allan Woodrow
All-in-all, excellent debut! I'm so glad Allan so graciously allowed me to pilfer a copy! My son and I loved every minute of it, even though my son is now plotting his first horrible deed, hopefully it won't involve mustard. That stains everything! ;)

As a special bonus, Project Mayhem is giving away the ARC of THE ROTTEN ADVENTURES OF ZACHARY RUTHLESS, plus a matching uber cool Zachary Ruthless bookmark to one lucky reader. To enter the giveaway, follow the Project Mayhem blog and leave a comment! Winner will be announced Tuesday, April 1st!

You can pre-order this awesome book now and be sure to check out the Evil Bad Guy Stuff website!

xoxo -- Hilary


  1. me me me me! I've had my eye on this book for a long time. I will eventually read it! :)

  2. No, ME. I just started reviewing middle grade books for the Champaign Urbana News Gazette and I'll review it. ;-)

  3. Great review, Hilary! I can't wait to get my hands on this. Thank you so much.

  4. I've always liked "boy" books (Hardy Boys, etc.) This would be great to get in on a new series from the start!

  5. You guys have to check out the book's website! Hilarious! :)

  6. I agree with all the comments so far. Sounds like an exciting new series!

    margodll (at)

  7. I can't wait to get my hands on this series. My two boys are going to LOVE it- rubber cockroaches and all!!!

    Michelle Schaub

  8. This sounds great, a bit like Artemis Fowl, perhaps? Great review, thanks Hilary.

  9. This will be perfect for my classroom! Although hopefully my students won't pull any pranks on me after I read it to them ;-)

  10. Um ... can Project Mayhem members enter too? If so, COUNT ME IN. :)

  11. Ha! Tim you're funny! You can play as long as you write another book about the boy who howled!! ;)

  12. This book looks like tons of fun. I'd love to get a copy to share with one of the young readers in my life. No! SERIOUSLY! I'd share it...

  13. This looks like a fabulous book. Great review.

  14. Thanks for the great review, Hilary. I'm glad your son liked it. I hope I didn't give him too many ideas, though. If you have any weapons: shrink rays, zombie-lasers, ear-melting darts, you know things like that, you might want to keep them locked away for the next few weeks until he gets it out of his system and reads something a bit more friendly, like Charlotte's Web.

  15. I've been anxiously awaiting this book! Alan was kind enough to stop by my blog awhile back and do an interview. And Aaron Blecha stopped by as well. Both awesome guys. I can't wait to get my hands on this book. What rotten deed do I need to do to get it! (insert evil laugh)

  16. The Rotten Adventures of Zachary Ruthless sounds like it would be awesome in my school library.

  17. Hooray for fabulous MG books! Sounds like a fun read.

  18. I can't believe I missed this! My boys would have loved it! Guess I'll have to order a copy. :)


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