Friday, May 20, 2011

Sidekicks by Jack D. Ferraiolo

The cover of this book looks like it should be for kids about 8 years old. Wrong! This is definitely a Young Adult book. The reason it is YA book is the first chapter. In that chapter, the superhero sidekick, Brightboy, AKA 15 year old Scott Hutchinson, is rescuing a woman who was thrown off the top of a building by a super villain. As he rescues the very attractive woman, he gets a little more "excited" than he had intended. His "excitement" shows as a bulge in his yellow tights. The event is recorded by national TV and Bright Boy becomes a laughing stock. Although this the kind of problem every teenage boy deals with some time in their life, it makes for an awkward first chapter of a book. Bright Boy's costume malfunction motivates all the events in the first half of the book. He meets a female sidekick and she takes him to the superhero tailor and helps him pick out a less revealing costume. This causes friction with his super hero mentor, who wants him to keep his original costume, but practice better self control. Bright Boy defies his mentor and starts to fall in love with the other sidekick (whose mentor, by the way, is Scott's mentor's arch nemisis). Then, all of the sudden, the book takes an amazing twist, and the reader is thrust into a whirlpool of plot and characters so that everyone who used to be a good guy, is now a bad guy, and visa versa. It is a very well crafted story, and totally unpredictable. It got a well deserved starred review in SLJ, but I noticed that my library does not have a print copy (I downloaded it from NetLibrary). I guess the first chapter was just too much for our selectors. (227 p.)

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