My T reading this morning was the first half of the Guys Read: Funny Business ARC I recently yoinked from a friend. All signs point toward its being creative, hilarious, and appealing even to girly old me, but I've known that since hearing most of its authors speak on a BEA panel. Six stories later (well, five stories and a note about why one author's story wasn't ready for the ARC), I have lots of good things to say about the collection as a whole, but "Will," by Adam Rex, stands out.
Will goes to THAT school, the one people keep writing books about. The one where kids keep finding out they're wizards, demigods, or other fantastical protagonists. His class keeps shrinking, and the crucial years of early adolescence are passing rapidly for Will with nary an owl in sight. It's becoming clear that Will is nothing inherently special. But (spoiler) when danger strikes him and his remaining classmates, he manages to save the day--not by winning the magic-powers lottery, but rather of his own free... well, you get the idea.
The story does a great job of showing the power of personal choice and the ability of mortals to make their own destiny and all, but it does more than that. It lets kids in on the joke. It says to them, "Hey, you know this reading world we belong to? Well, you and I both know it's got a crazy number of magical kids in it. Let's make fun of that--affectionately, of course."
As far as I'm concerned, that's one of the best things humor can do.