‘Smek for President!’: Hilarious sequel to ‘The True Meaning of Smekday’


Rating: 5 stars

“Smek for President,” Adam Rex’s sequel to “The True Meaning of Smekday,” is another phenomenal piece of work by that author/illustrator. Okay, Okay. The sequel may or may not be quite as beautiful and significant as its predecessor, but it is surely equally funny, perceptive, silly, and brilliant. As a matter of fact, here is my ranking of the top five greatest novels ever written:

1. The True Meaning of Smekday
2. War and Peace
3. Smek for President
4 and 5 (tie) Huckleberry Finn and The Catcher in the Rye

What other novel in the history of the world combines fantasy, science-fiction, political satire, contemporary commentary, everyday rules for loving and living, wonderful thematic material, and a new English dialect (Boovish) which is far more fascinating than even Yoda-talk. Which plot ever before created by humankind is so silly and profound and profoundly silly? None, I submit.

And what other novel so cleverly skewers world political leaders and their ubiquitous amorality, immorality, vapidity, stupidity, and general failure to lead anybody on this or any other planet to anyplace worth going?

The plot, you ask? Here goes: After their failed invasion of earth, the Boov have moved to a new planet and society which they have called New Boovworld. But in this glorious anti-utopia, there is growing political unrest as the forever-President — Smek — is being challenged by dissatisfied young rebels who can see what an empty-headed schmendrick he is. But he will use any nefarious means at his disposal to rid himself of these disgusting upstarts. Into the breach step Gratuity (human) and JLo (Boov), who had saved earth from not one but two full-fledged alien invasions in “Smekday.”

Their adventures, their derring-do, their wit and their courage comprise the rest of the hilarious, absurd plot, all of which leads to an entirely satisfying climax and (even) denouement — presented in both words and pictures.

Where else could you possibly find such delightful craziness? Certainly not in “War and Peace,” I assure you. You should to read this novel novel, as JLo might aver.

Both books would be perfect for middle grade readers, although because of the satire and sophisticated thematic elements, middle school and high school readers (and adults, for that matter) will immensely enjoy this series. (JK)

Please note: This review is based on the advance review copy provided by the publisher, Disney – Hyperion, for review purposes.