Wednesday, April 17, 2013

'The Odd Job Squad' by Karl Fields

Karl Field


Thirteen-year-old Ander Cartwright is an expert on two subjects: fortune cookies and payback.

Especially payback.

When he’s not struggling with algebra, Ander is the leader of an anonymous revenge club that operates within the walls of Marina Middle School. Got a beef with a classmate? Shoot Ander’s crew an email and, if your case if legit, they’ll deliver some retribution on your behalf.

It’s not easy to right wrongs and stay under the radar at the same time. That’s why Ander developed three simple rules designed to keep him and his friends from blowing their cover.

But when Ander spots the opportunity to settle an old score of his own, he ignores his own rules, setting off a chain of events that threatens to blow his cover, and it’ll take all the butt-kicking, detention-dodging skill he can muster to keep a lid on his secret.

Read an excerpt:
I chuckled. “Sounds extreme, don’t you think?”

After basketball, making fun of Christian was Shooter’s favorite sport, but when I looked her way, she wasn’t even close to paying attention, sitting off to the side and staring at the floor.

“Yeah,” Joe said. “I don’t like Greg either, but all he did was trash the guy’s shirt.”

Christian nodded back to the email. “A brand new shirt and Alan’s mom made a huge deal out of it.”

Alan had skinned one of his elbows pretty good, and when his mom saw what had happened, she wanted to call the school, but Alan begged her not to do it. Joe had a point. On the one hand, it was just a shirt, but then again, we’d all been Snots – that was when we got the idea for the revenge club. I wouldn’t have wanted word getting around that I needed protection from my mom, either.

“Okay. I’m in.” I raised my hand, calling for a vote. If it wasn’t unanimous, no go. We didn’t have a lot of rules, but “All In” was one of them, and nobody messed with the Big Three.

Christian’s hand shot up next. “Definitely. Even Snots don’t deserve to be treated like that.”

“As long as we keep it even,” I reminded him.

Joe and Shooter voted in favor, and that’s how we ended up outside the gym two days later for a Drive Thru.

The pounding of a basketball and squeaking of tennis shoes against hardwood were good signs: game on.

**My thoughts**

This book was a lot of fun! Middle school sucks. Bullies abound. Girls are snotty. Boys are dumb. Everyone does stupid things that hurt each other. So, enter the Odd Job Squad. Their goal is to get revenge on kids who are acting like total schmucks. Those who do the embarrassing end up getting embarrassed themselves. Only, eventually even those supposed do-gooders who are plotting revenge are going to get themselves into trouble.

I usually try to take mini breaks while reading books, but the adventures of Ander and his friends kept me snickering and glued to the Kindle. Before I knew it, the book was over! 

While their antics are quite unlikely to happen in real life, Ander, Shooter, Christian, and Joe are entertaining as they plot ways to retaliate against their nasty classmates, particularly Stacia. I wish I could have been so creative back in the day!

It sounds like there could easily be more adventures with this crew. I hope to read more of them some day!

Buy links: Amazon \ Barnes & Noble \ Kobo

Karl Fields is a writer of fiction for teens and young adults. His other interests include jazz, golf and collecting flash drives, the more unusual the better. He was an army brat and by the seventh grade, he had attended six different schools on three continents. His first book, The Odd Job Squad, is about the exploits of three eighth graders who operate an anonymous revenge club at their school. He recommends that you not attempt the stunts portrayed in this book. His second, Instant Preplay, is about a boy who discovers that his DVR records shows before they air. He recommends that you get one of those if you can.

One commenter from each stop will win a box of "Pinks," which are pink fortune cookies that Ander, the main character has a fondness for. One $25 Amazon gift card given to one random commenter at the end of the tour. One $15 Amazon gift card given to a tour stop host. Follow the tour for more chances to win!



  1. Thank you for your thoughts. I must say I love the thought of having a good chuckle as I read.


  2. Thanks for the review! I think a lot of tween books fall a bit on the unrealistic side...but maybe that's because tweens haven't been jaded like us older folk and still can believe in the impossible...not to sound all new agey and weird lol

    andralynn7 AT gmail DOT com

  3. Hi Andi,

    Thanks so much for being today's host. I'll stop in throughout the day, so if anyone has a question for me, feel free to ask!

  4. Sounds like a fun read.


  5. Thanks for your thoughts about Karl's book. I'll ask the opinion of not only the blog owner but the author too. I am an old(er) lady. I do like some films geared towards the younger generation (teens, tweens, and twenty-somethings) but some I find just TSTL. The YA books I've read have been chosen carefully for their subject matter. That said, do you think I would enjoy reading this book? It sounds fun, but...well, I'm debating it right now. I'll take opinions from anyone who cares to jump in with one!

    kareninnc at gmail dot com

    1. I think you hit the nail on the head when you said "fun." With the exception of a situation being dealt with by one of the characters, that's how I'd describe this book. It's hard for me to say whether or not you'll like it, but I will tell you that several adults who have read it have enjoyed it, including one of coworkers who happens to be a grandfather. So there you go.

  6. Sounds like a fun read :) Pleased to find your blog today, new follower.

  7. I really think this sounds like a really unique and awesome book for tweens.

  8. I hope to see more of this series, too! It sounds super fun!


  9. Nice excerpt and review

    bn100candg at hotmail dot com