Title: My Gym Teacher Is an Alien Overlord (My Brother is a Superhero, 2)
Author: David Solomons
Illustrator: Laura Ellen Anderson
Genre: Humour, Middle Grade
Publisher: Nosy Crow (7th July 2016)
Zack and Lara have superpowers. Luke has new school shoes and a burning sense of resentment. He KNOWS that aliens disguised as gym teachers are about to attack Earth but will anyone listen? No. So one dodgy pact with a self-styled supervillain later, and Luke is ready to save the world. He just needs to find his trainers.
‘My Gym Teacher Is an Alien Overlord’ is the action-packed sequel to the bestselling ‘My Brother Is a Superhero’, winner of the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize and the British Book Industry Awards Children’s Book of the Year.
(Blurb taken from Nosycrow.com)
Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️ (3 stars)
MY GYM TEACHER IS AN ALIEN OVERLORD is the second book in David Solomons’s My Brother is a Superhero series. The book follows the story of Luke whose elder brother Zack is a superhero. One of Luke’s best friends Lara is also a superhero. Luke is frustrated that his brother has gained superpowers, whilst he lover of comics has not. When he discovers that his gym teacher is an alien set to attack the Earth, he tries telling his brother and Lara but they dismiss him. Frustrated, Luke finds himself allied with a self-styled supervillain on a quest to save the world.
I got hold of my copy of an ARC of this book from a bookshop I visited whilst taking part in the London Bookshop Crawl in February. MY GYM TEACHER IS AN ALIEN OVERLORD is not the sort of book I would typically pick up, as humour is a very subjective thing. This book surprised me; I actually quite enjoyed following Luke’s adventures in this book. The humour didn’t always work for me, but I did like reading this book. Even if it wasn’t quite my cup of tea, there was actually quite a bit about it that I thought worked well.
I really liked the fact that MY GYM TEACHER IS AN ALIEN OVERLORD focuses on and is narrated by Luke. I enjoyed watching events unfold from his point of view, and his frustration with Zack and Lara and just life in general was really vivid. Luke is a very self-confident eleven year old, except about school which he finds quite hard. I also think Solomons did a great job at showing how left out Luke felt by his brother and Lara: Luke’s anger and frustration was believable, and well written. I admired the way that he tried to do his best and the right thing despite the circumstances.
My main frustration with the book was the whole thing seemed a bit…silly, which seems ridiculous to say as someone who enjoys the MCU and several of the televised Batman series. But the way Solomons deals with and portrays superheroes and villains in this book just flat out didn’t work for me. I think this is in part because this book is a little young for me, and in part because the humour in the book didn’t always hit the mark with me. Having said that, I think if you are the right age group and you like superheroes then MY GYM TEACHER IS AN ALIEN OVERLORD is well worth picking up, even if you’ve not read the first book in the series – as someone who hasn’t read it, I found it easy to quickly work out what was going on – though this book might work better if you read the first book, well, first.