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Nothing Can Possibly Go Wrong

Review

Nothing Can Possibly Go Wrong

Charles and Nate are high school best friends, even though they couldn’t be more different. Charles is a basketball star, and Nate is a science nerd who likes to build robots. But they’ve been friends for years, and nothing’s going to tear them apart…except possibly the head cheerleader, Holly, who wants to kill them both.
 
Well, “kill them” is a little strong. But that’s not to say she won’t be the death of them. The same day she breaks up with Charles (via text), Nate reveals that school funding isn’t enough to be divvied up between two important things: new cheerleader uniforms or money for the upcoming robotics compeitition (which, naturally, Nate and his team want to win).
 
Nate hatches a plan to run for student council president so he can divert the money into his robotics, but Holly is not one to sit idly by while that happens. She has her own devious scheme.
 
Nothing Can Possibly Go Wrong, the debut from writer Prudence Shen (teaming with the always excellent Faith Erin Hicks on art), is funny and quick witted. The real story, of course, centers not so much on the high school politics but more on the inner conflict of Charles as he deals with an absent mother (she’s moved to San Diego and gotten engaged to a man Charles has never met) and a distant father who thinks everything can be solved by a camping trip (it can’t). Shen wisely eases into that storyline and gives it time and space to evolve.
 
Nothing wraps up tidily or conveniently (such is life, of course), but resolutions to get reached in small ways. Nothing Can Possibly Go Wrong looks like a standard YA graphic novel, and it seems to be one at the beginning, but the story charmingly disarms the reader as it moves along…and suddenly you realize you’re reading something unexpected. It’s a pleasant surprise.

Reviewed by John Hogan on June 18, 2013

Nothing Can Possibly Go Wrong
by Prudence Shen and Faith Erin Hicks

  • Publication Date: May 7, 2013
  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: First Second
  • ISBN-10: 159643659X
  • ISBN-13: 9781596436596