We have a main cast of five characters: Aidan, Ava, Dylan, Emma, and Madison. Outside of the classroom, they are looking to discover mythical places like the “secret world under the city.” Although Ava would love nothing more than to test her fighting skills in such a magical place, she also loves to confidently stand up in the classroom to face the toughest competition. Her determination doesn’t waver, even after rivals present an awesome invention to the class. This rival team is known as “The 5Zs,” because each member’s name starts with the letter “Z.” Despite adversity from failure, Ava’s boldness does not falter, and she stands up and shouts to the rest of the world that her team will compete in the next competition, the All-City Science Fair. Did I mention it’s Thursday, and the submission is due by Monday?
As Ava is the battery keeping this team charged and ready to perform, Aidan is the creator. He builds all of their inventions with a helping hand and some ideas from his teammates. Although Dylan is pessimistic: “Most things Aidan builds don’t work.” The comment doesn’t deter Aidan in the slightest. It’s a testament to this character to watch him get back to the next project to try and make something uniquely extraordinary, while staying extremely optimistic, “This’ll win us the Nobel Prize!” It’s a nice counterbalance to Dylan, who admittedly wants the team to take their time and get it right.
Madison helps to balance the team by coordinating their actions and keeping them focused – first build their project, then have fun at the Halloween Extravaganza. Emma, well, she really likes candy. So much so that her costume is designed after a box of licorice, and she came up with the initial idea for their latest invention. A candy machine! It’s safe to say that going from “a machine that makes any flavor of candy” to “a machine that brings candy to life” might have been the turning point to realize something might not work out very well for our ambitious inventors.
After a few test runs, the team finally finds the right candy – and poof – magic happens right before their eyes. A pinkish-red piece of candy that the team names “Gummy” comes to life, but they soon realize that he has a super sweet tooth. This sweet tooth supercharges its appetite and its growth potential, and before they know it, the Not-So Secret Society has a bit of an unusual problem.
As a parent, this story provides many different aspects to love. One, all of the characters are different and have their own quirks. Aidan is a percentages guy, and is “108% sure” or knows something will be “107% easier.” Ava loves wrestling and steel cage matches and is dying to use some kind of special move on people or monsters. Dylan often states the obvious, makes a joke here and there, and is willing to take action to keep the group moving forward. Emma, besides loving candy and dressing as candy, is also courageous enough to use herself as bait, as candy.
Two, not only should parents really want this story for their kids, but they’ll witness the Not-So Secret Society team members face off against The 5Zs - an arrogant team that believes they’re the best and no one else should ever go against them. It’s an attitude the team has to face, since they’re in the same school, but they do not let it ruin their competitive spirit nor their desire to do things because they love it. This particular feature is something that resonates for me as a parent, which is why it makes complete sense that two parents, also former teachers, created this wonderful story.
Arlene and Matthew Daley wrote this original graphic novel, along with co-creators Trevor and Ellen Crafts, with the help of artist Wook Jin Clark. Clark illustrates this story in a way in which you’ll feel like you’re watching an animated series or movie – one you will see that exemplifies teamwork and an overall positive message that makes you feel warm inside and want to see the utter destruction of The 5Zs.
In addition to a GPG-recommended story for parents, there are 25 one-page comics in the “Mini Comics” added afterwards. They are equally amusing, and you’ll get through those short stories in a flash. This book comes with a “Parent Reading Guide,” as well as additional activities. For more information, go to www.teamns3.com. In case you were wondering, you can call The Not-So Secret Society, NS3. It’s okay; all of the cool parents are doing it.
If you’re looking to purchase The Not-So Secret Society: Tale of the Gummy, it can be pre-ordered prior to its scheduled release on Wednesday, July 26.
We’d like to take this opportunity to thank BOOM! Studios for letting the GPG feature this story. It’s something that makes us proud and happy to see BOOM! interested in seeing their stories looked at through the lens of the Geeky Parent Guide.
What do you think? Would you buy this story in a heartbeat? (The answer is yes.) Would you like to see more stories featured on the GPG? Let us know in the comments below.
Until next time, happy parenting and happy geeking.