Kids Books: Sidekicked – John David Anderson

This charming, funny middle school adventure seems ideal not only for reluctant readers but for any kid transitioning from comics to print novels. Anderson’s wit will appeal to both parents as well as kids (I mean, how perfect is it that this young hero’s superpower is not strength or the ability to fly… but super sensitivity? :-)) I picked up the book because the author was compared to Frank Cottrell Boyce–and that’s not off the mark. This story strikes a nice  balance of action, adventure and mystery while also engaging in real-life issues of loyalty, bravery and the gray areas between right and wrong.

Anderson’s first book, Standard Hero Behavior, got a starred review from Booklist and I was happy to see this new book get a starred review from Publishers Weekly in a review that not only lays out the plot but does a good job of underlining why the book is so satisfying.

Thirteen-year-old Andrew ‘The Sensationalist’ Bean is part of the H.E.R.O. program for aspiring sidekicks, but his mentor, the legendary Titan, is an alcoholic no-show, leaving Andrew to fend for himself against supervillains and their deathtraps. When the infamous Dealer returns from the dead and reunites his deadly henchmen, the entire city is put at risk. Adult heroes are vanishing, their sidekicks are under attack, and someone associated with H.E.R.O. may be a traitor. Amid the chaos and danger, Andrew tries to embrace his heroic potential. Anderson tackles some heady topics, including superhero morality, teenage confusion, and divided loyalties, playing with the usual comic book tropes without treading on overly familiar … There’s a lot to enjoy, from memorable characters to a complex yet accessible plot, in this superhero story that any comics fan will enjoy.”
Publishers Weekly (starred review)

Sidekicked (9780062133144) by John David Anderson. $16.99 hardcover. 6/25/13 on sale.

 

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