Sophy Henn, Pizazz vs The New Kid, Simon & Schuster, February 2021, 208 pp., RRP $14.99 (pbk), ISBN 9781471194153
Pizazz is an unusual name for a girl, and it does cause her some annoyance, however it isn’t the most unusual thing about Pizazz. She is a superhero from a family of superheros who live in mainstream society. At any time, whether Pizazz is at school or in another location, she can be called upon to respond to a disaster, rescue someone and, on occasions, save the planet – as instructed by Wanda her pet dog who is the conduit for secret messages from Mission Control.
Most of the time, Pizazz is just a school kid wanting desperately to be popular, but she does trip over her cape quite often and awkward things just seem to happen to her and around her. Her goal to be one of the cool kids seems to slip even further when a new kid arrives at the school; a kid called Jett who also happens to be a superhero.
Pizazz just can’t understand how superhero status makes Jett super popular and super cool. Why can’t there be two cool superheroes at school? But Serena, the leader of the ‘Populars’ seizes the opportunity to cause division between the two superheroes by organising contests between Pizazz and Jett to see who is the best.
This is the second book of the Pizazz series by Sophy Henn that I have had the pleasure of reading. The graphic comic book illustrations and specialised fonts present a boldness that captures the readers’ attention from the very first page. It is the perfect medium to convey the ups and downs of Pizazz’s life as she tries to fit in, and adapt to, the complexities of schoolyard relationships. The direct dialogue of Pizazz is engaging as she takes us into her confidence sharing her secrets and disappointments in journey style language. And we can all relate to the raised ‘eye roll’ as the pre-teens expression of displeasure of which Pizazz is an expert. It’s not all hard going for Pizazz who ultimately uses her wisdom and intelligence to win friendships and companions. Everyone will be on Pizazz’s side. She is one lovely kid.
Reviewed by Jennifer Mors