Hi guys! Today’s review is on The Right Hook of Devin Velma, the long-awaited sophomore standalone novel of Jake Burt, who wrote the heartwarming debut Greetings from Witness Protection! I definitely enjoyed his first novel, so I was really excited to be able to have the opportunity to read his next one! If you had missed it, Jake was recently on my blog with Rebecca Donnelly in August’s LILbooKtalk on “Back to School: Instilling a Love of Reading in Students.” Don’t miss it–it was an amazing discussion! I hope you enjoy this review!
About The Right Hook of Devin Velma
From the author of Greetings from Witness Protection! comes another unforgettable middle-grade novel about friendship and family.
Devin wants to hit it big on the internet by pulling a stunt at an NBA game–one the entire nation will be watching. Addison can’t turn Devin down, but he can barely manage talking to his teachers without freezing up. How’s he supposed to handle the possibility of being a viral sensation?
Addi’s not sure why Devin is bent on pulling off this almost-impossible feat. Maybe it has something to do with Devin’s dad’s hospital bills. Maybe it all goes back to the Double-Barreled Monkey Bar Backflip of Doom. Or maybe it’s something else entirely. No matter what, though, it’s risky for both of them, and when the big day finally comes, Devin’s plan threatens more than just their friendship.
With memorable protagonists and a wonderful supporting cast, The Right Hook of Devin Velma is a one-of-kind knockout in middle-grade fiction.
The Right Hook of Devin Velma releases from Feiwel & Friends on October 2nd! Pre-order it today!
Disclaimer: I received a free ARC of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This will not affect my review in any way. Please note that this review is based off an uncorrected galley, so changes could have been made in the published draft.
When I first started The Right Hook of Devin Velma, the story did not click with me at first, and I had to set it down since I wanted to read another book at the time. Weeks later, I decided to restart and pick it back up, and I did not ever want to put it down. I finished most of it in one sitting. The Right Hook of Devin Velma is a charming story about two young boys attempting to preserve their friendship and their families as they formulate a plan to gain fame and fortune. Throughout the story, I laughed and I cried. I cringed and I celebrated. I loved and I understood. Ultimately, it made me feel grateful that I have a tremendous outpouring of support from my three best friends and my caring family.
The biggest strength about The Right Hook of Devin Velma is that it felt real. It felt so authentic. Nothing felt stretched–it made the crazy and the extraordinary feel like real life. I was able to understand and feel Addi’s anxiety and his conflicted conscience as he felt torn between helping Devin and avoiding the limelight. Although I don’t have medical anxiety, I connected very well to his worries about himself and his friendship–and I was able to saw how scary even the smallest situations felt. I could feel Devin’s desperation to be a viral sensation so he could earn money to help pay for his father’s medical bills and relate to him wanting attention not only from the whole world but mainly from Addi. The Right Hook of Devin Velma was brimming with so much emotion that readers might end up in tears as they finish this story. What makes this story so special is that we all have a little bit of Addi and Devin in us.
I also loved seeing the amazing family dynamic in the Gerhardts and the Velmas. They were both very loving families that cared for Addi and Devin–something that needs not to be overlooked in MG contemporary fiction. The Velmas had five generations under one household, and it was such an amazing pleasure meeting G, Double-G, and Triple-G throughout the story. In addition, this story definitely packed in a whole bunch of humor. From the Warriors vs. Clippers jokes to Triple-G’s denture antics, I had such a memorable and enjoyable time hanging with Addi, Devin, and their families! I certainly hadn’t laughed from a book as much as I did with The Right Hook of Devin Velma in a long time.
Jake Burt does not disappoint readers with his sophomore novel. In fact, I think he upped his game with The Right Hook of Devin Velma in my opinion (Greetings from Witness Protection! is still an amazing story, no doubt). Addi and Devin’s stunts as they strive for fame and fortune are filled with gut-busting humor, heart-wrenching struggles, and love from family and friends. This story is certainly MG contemporary at its finest and a prime example of why I love this genre so much. Readers of all ages will have a fun time as they become friends with this dynamic and unique duo.
Jake Burt is the award-winning author of Greetings from Witness Protection! The Right Hook of Devin Velma is his second novel. He lives in Connecticut, where he also teaches fifth grade, plays the banjo, and runs around on the ultimate frisbee field.
“A friend is someone who knows all about you and still loves you.” — Elbert Hubbard
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