A tyrannical fourth-grade teacher wreaks havoc in a young boy's life, until a day of reckoning changes everything. When Tobias Wilcox transfers to the McKegway School for Clever and Gifted Children, the order-and-discipline-obsessed Mrs. Ravenbach becomes his fourth-grade teacher. Outwardly cheery and self-aggrandizing, this proud product of a German education is also reminiscent of Roald Dahl's evil Miss Trunchbull from Matilda and Professor Umbridge of Harry Potter fame. Akers employs a mix of grade-school ramblings and complex storytelling strategies to explore censorship, honesty, and the uneven power dynamics among teachers, students, parents, and administrators. Mrs. Ravenbach herself narrates events, and Toby's perspective is folded in via journals, the minutes of the submarine-enthusiasts club over which Toby presides, and school poetry. Judging by the book's potent "un-dedication," Akers, a screenwriter and film-studies teacher, is processing frustrations from his own history with this debut novel, the first in the Amazing Escapades of Toby Wilcox series. The over-the-top kid antics will delight readers with similar challenges... An edgy, subversive revenge fantasy in which kids speak truth to power.
ABC TV interviews William M. Akers
"Mrs. Leni Ravenbach will proudly take her odious and hilarious place next to any Stephen King character who has caused readers recurring nightmares. Why do they call this a “Young Adult” novel? I'm an extremely old adult and I laughed all the way through it."
Norman Steinberg, Blazing Saddles & My Favorite Year