Many moons have passed since I was a Young Adult, but that didn't lessen my enjoyment of this book. I loved the cover immediately and quickly fell in love with the whole concept of an ordinary teenager caught up in a web of intrigue in a small, fictional town. The idea that someone as average as Joe clearly was, could be a hero and help to foil a major criminal plot was a good one. Wright, I think, handled the character of Joe very well, never forgetting that he was a normal teenager with all the angst and self-doubts that goes with that species.
The characters Joe came across in his quest to unravel the mystery were "heavily" drawn, by the writer almost to the point of caricature, which is not a criticism and suited the style of the book very well. We had the crusty, gruff, ex-detective, with a heart of gold underneath the grizzled exterior. We had the beautiful, somewhat magical, slightly older women heroes that tantalised the teenage Joe with their beauty, but were wise enough not to mess with Joe's relationship with his equally gorgeous, young girlfriend. The archetypal school bullies put in an appearance later in the tale and in some ways took over the story with their antics. I particularly enjoyed the pranking scenes. Finally, we had Joe's faithful and loyal sidekick Mod who became the butt of many of the bullies' pranks.
All in all, it was a delightful romp through high-school days, with all the appropriate moral lessons to be learned in a tale such as this. I understand this is Wright's first published novel and I think he should be congratulated on a fine job. It was a fun, easy and error-free read.
I do however have to address the style in which the dialogue is written. The author has chosen to write the novel like a screenplay, which I found difficult to follow at times. This is the first time I've seen this technique used in a novel and although I have no problem with authors experimenting with different styles, it can be a problem for an "indie" author, as I know full well myself. I admit to at times having to re-read a section of dialogue just to confirm who had actually said what to who. That being said, as I got further through the book and got used to the style, the readbility improved for me a lot.
This is a fun, entertaining and thoroughly enjoyable book. The four stars I give it in no way detracts from my enjoyment of the story, it is merely a reflection of the unusual dialogue presentation.
Read this book, you'll enjoy it. I look forward to more work from the pen of this talented author Belart Wright.
You can check out Average Joe and the Extraordinaires here: http://amzn.to/1JKkBgs