Friday, July 26, 2013

Book Review: Sidekicked by John David Anderson



Release Date: June 25, 2013
Publisher: Walden Pond Press
Pages: 384
Received: ARC from publisher
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars


Summary

From Goodreads:

Andrew Bean might be a part of H.E.R.O., a secret organization for the training of superhero sidekicks, but that doesn’t mean that life is all leaping tall buildings in single bounds. First, there’s Drew’s power: Possessed of super senses – his hearing, sight, taste, touch, and smell are the most powerful on the planet – he’s literally the most sensitive kid in school. There’s his superhero mentor, a former legend who now spends more time straddling barstools than he does fighting crime. And then there’s his best friend, Jenna – their friendship would be complicated enough if she weren’t able to throw a Volkswagen the length of a city block. Add in trying to keep his sidekick life a secret from everyone, including his parents, and the truth is clear: Middle school is a drag even with superpowers.

But this was all before a supervillain long thought dead returned to Justicia, superheroes began disappearing at an alarming rate, and Drew’s two identities threatened to crash head-on into each other. Drew has always found it pretty easy to separate right from wrong, good from evil. It’s what a superhero does. But what happens when that line starts to break down?



Review

Super powers!

I'm a super sucker for books with super powered characters. I like playing around with the idea of powers and seeing all the nifty new ways characters can use their powers. Sidekicked had some pretty standard fare super powers (laser beams, strength, speed, agility, etc), but main character Drew's incredible sensory powers were both new to me and awesome!

I'm not sure I'd want all of them myself (I don't need to be able to smell the garbage any better than I already can), but I'd have a blast with most of them. Though Drew didn't use his powers as often as I would have liked, I loved every single scene when he did use them.

And, ok, I know it isn't noble or anything, but I especially loved when he used his super hearing to spy. I know there's a lesson about how it's wrong to snoop, but anyone who has ever even considered picking up a glass to give their eavesdropping a little boost can relate to Drew on this one.

Underdogs!

Drew is scrawny and not particularly suave, which would be fine in a normal MG book, but Drew is in a super hero book, so he totally stands out. His classmates (they're all heroes in training) are all stronger, faster, and, in Drew's opinion, a lot more useful than him.

Plus, their super hero mentors actually acknowledge their existence and save them if they're in trouble. Drew's super hero is too busy getting drunk and feeling sorry for himself. Of course, this all served to make Drew the fictional equivalent to that scrappy little shelter mutt that never fails to make my heart melt.

And, of course, we all know underdogs have a habit of winning the day. I won't give away the details, but rest assured, they're fist-pump worthy.  

Plot and stuff

Here's where I had to take away a few points. This book is LONG, and unlike some long books, I actually felt the length here.

There are a lot of pages that don't really advance the plot much. It was my love of Drew that kept me reading, but I wish there had been more action to hold my attention. Which is not to say there wasn't action, because there was and it was fantastic, but there were also a lot of lulls.

I did see the villain coming, but I think most MG readers will be surprised. Even knowing the big reveal, I still thought it was a pretty inventive twist that gave the villain a lot more depth than I was expecting from a MG super hero book. Big points for that.

Bottom line

Sidekicked reads like a standalone, but with room left for a sequel or companion novel. I've heard there's one in the works, and I'll for sure be reading it when it releases. John David Anderson is a new-to-me author who I'm definitely going to be keeping my eye on.

The balanced blend of humorous and serious makes Sidekicked a great choice for classroom reading. Funny enough to hold youngsters' attentions, but with enough depth to spark numerous discussions.  


Explanation of rating system: Star Rating Key 


Do you have any questions about Sidekicked that I haven't addressed?
Feel free to ask in the comments!

14 comments:

  1. I also love books with superpowers so thanks for putting this one on my radar. I'm disappointed to hear that you really felt the length as I even felt the length a bit in the Healy books despite their fast pace. I'm not sure if I would feel this one really dragged on.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. See, I didn't feel the length with the Healy books at all. I think it all depends on how you click with the books. I hope you like Sidekicked! There was a lot more depth to it than I was expecting.

      Delete
  2. Oh, I am definitely checking this out! The best part of every superhero story is the sidekick!

    Great review.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The sidekicks steal the show for sure!

      Delete
  3. Sounds really cute!!
    I have seen this one around and I really like the concept.
    Thanks for the review, the superpowers sound cool and like they could cause lots of trouble.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It was cute! I can totally see you liking it.

      Delete
  4. Sounds really sweet. The only part I'm reluctant about is that you said its long and it feels like it. I also don't like the cover art - yeah I'm picky! :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Aw, I love the cover art! Though I think it makes the book look lighter and more humorous than it is. Which is not to say that it doens't have its light and funny moments, but the cover doesn't hint at any of the deeper, darker stuff.

      I can see you liking it. You might struggle a little with the length, but I think if you like the characters then you'll enjoy this book.

      Delete
  5. I love books with superpowers too so I'll see if this one is available at my library even if the book felt a little long. I also like that Drew's superpower is unique but I'm wondering why his superpower is a secret from his parents (as mentioned in the synopsis). Were they not born with superpowers of their own?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. His parents are not born with super powers, but they are somewhat aware of his powers, kind of, in a way. :P You'll have to read it!

      Delete
  6. "Of course, this all served to make Drew the fictional equivalent to that scrappy little shelter mutt that never fails to make my heart melt."
    Underdogs are the best characters to root for! And haha to the use of super hearing to spy :). I maaay have been doing the same thing just yesterday...

    "There are a lot of pages that don't really advance the plot much. It was my love of Drew that kept me reading, but I wish there had been more action to hold my attention. Which is not to say there wasn't action, because there was and it was fantastic, but there were also a lot of lulls." <-- That's really surprising for a MG book. I thought that lengthiness was generally discouraged because of MG reader attention span. And lots and lots of bonus points to the villain having depth! That's generally my issue with MG books.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. lol, I knew someone would appreciate the spying potential! :P

      I'm always surprised at how long some MG books can be! It seems like ever since Harry Potter, all bets are off on length.

      Delete
  7. Awww...sounds like a cute read! Who doesn't love a great underdog!

    ReplyDelete

It's all about friendly conversation here at Small Review :) I'd love to hear your thoughts!

Be sure to check back again because I do make every effort to reply to your comments here.

Because I am absolutely terrible about following through with blog awards, I can't in good conscience accept any more. Thank you very much for thinking of me though!

Spam WILL be deleted. Attacks on myself or other comments WILL be deleted.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...