School for Sidekicks by Kelly McCullough
“Life is harder than it looks in the comics, or in books or movies for that matter. I’m sorry you’re getting that lesson so early.Life is the hardest thing there is.”
Genre: Middle Grade Science Fiction Publisher: MacMillan Format: ARC
Source: Received from the publisher through Red Ballon’s Teen Book Club in exchange for an honest review Rating: ★★★☆☆ (3/5 Stars) Synopsis:
Evan Quick is a GIANT superhero geek who dreams of one day becoming a superhero himself. Every morning he checks to see if he’s developed his powers overnight, and every day there’s nothing. No flying, no super strength, no invulnerability—that always hurts to check—no telepathy, no magic. Not even the ability to turn off the alarm clock without smacking the switch.
But then Evan somehow manages to survive a supervillian’s death ray, and is sent to the Academy for Metahuman Operatives. Unfortunately, his new school is not what he expected, and instead of fighting bad guys, Evan finds himself blacklisted, and on the wrong side of the school’s director. If Evan ever wants to realize his dream, he must convince his “mentor” Foxman, a semi-retired has-been, to become a real hero once again.
If I’ve learned anything from being obsessed with superhero novels and reading every single one I’ve been able to get my hands on since sixth grade, it is that they are ridiculously hit or miss. As in, they are usually really great or really weird. And, well, occasionally they are just really mediocre.
School for Sidekicks is unique in that it managed to be both really weird and pretty great too.
This book starts out with a pretty cookie-cutter superhero world: heroes and villains that were given superpowers by a radioactive event, people in awe of these powers, and a government organization to try to manage all of these new walking safety hazards. But it is really all so much more. One of the best parts of this book was watching the main character figure out all of the mysteries surrounding him.
However, unfortunately the book wasn’t only strange because it was supposed to be. The main critique I have of this book is that the pacing was a little weird. There would be chapters that would pass rather uneventfully and the next chapter would be constant action and reveals.
That said, this was still a really funny and interestingly strange read. As a middle grade superhero novel, it did not disappoint.