Review posted May 31, 2013.
Amulet Books, New York, 2012. 208 pages
This book is silly, over-the-top fun. Lenny's friend Casper saves his money and buys the one-of-a-kind Heidelberg Handlebar Number Seven fake mustache. It is so good, that next thing Lenny knows, Casper is able to mesmerize anyone and everyone. He goes on a crime spree, takes over the town, and threatens to take over the country. Only Lenny knows the mustache is fake, so only Lenny can stop him. Well, only Lenny and Jodie O'Rodeo. (Why she is so smart kind of went by me quickly.)
After the first robbery, Lenny tries to give the FBI an anonymous tip, but Casper knows it was him and then convinces everyone -- even Lenny's parents -- that Lenny is the Evil One, the one responsible for all the crime. He has to go into disguise. Good thing it's Halloween.
Tom Angleberger never goes for plausibility with this one, but he does have fun giving us a genuine, nerdy middle school kid caught up in the middle of events beyond his control.
No, I didn't find it believable. I did find it fun. Here's a section from the first chapter:
Don't ever buy a fake mustache at Sven's Fair Price Store.
Sven's Fair Price Store is an awesome place, and I recommend it if you want to buy fake tattoos, fake noses, fake thumbs, fake eyelashes, fake tuxedo shirts, fake books that have secret compartments, fake laughter machines, fake fog makers, fake feet, fake teeth that you wind up, fake teeth that you stick in your mouth, fake gum that snaps people's fingers, fake dog poop, or fake people poop.
But the fake mustaches are just too good. They're made out of real human mustache hair. Apparently, there are men in Belgium who grow their mustaches for a year, then cut them off and sell them to the Heidelberg Novelty Company.
This makes the fake mustaches really expensive. But they're worth it . . . if you really want a good fake mustache -- which you don't! It'll only lead to trouble. That's what I'm trying to tell you.