Reviews for Sidekicked

Booklist Reviews 2013 August #1
The community of Justicia may seem like Anywhere, USA, but it's home to an abundance of superheroes--or "Supers" as they are known locally--and Highview Middle School has a secret training class for superhero sidekicks. Andrew "Drew" Bean, one of the six sidekicks-in-training, is not only saddled with the usual middle-school angst but a problematic Super as well. With most of the Supers absent, a crime wave commences and a supervillain threatens. This draws heavily on the beloved superhero genre, and features plenty of hair-raising action and characters knocked about and annihilated. But it is the sarcastic middle-school humor that sets the tone. Drew's take on his teenage problems are well balanced with the unique situations arising from being part of an elite (and somewhat nerdy) team. Big action sequences notwithstanding, this is more about small moments and dealing with less-than-perfect people and circumstances. Those who like their fantasy grounded firmly in the real world will enjoy this one. Copyright 2013 Booklist Reviews.

Horn Book Guide Reviews 2014 Spring
Andrew Bean's superpower isn't something cool like turning to stone or shooting lasers from his eyes; it's being extra sensitive to things like smells and sounds. No wonder his mentor, the Titan, hasn't shown up to help him save the city of Justicia. Abundant action and comedy play nicely against more thoughtful moments about the nature of good, evil, and middle school.

Kirkus Reviews 2013 May #1
Comic-book fans like to talk about how much they hate sidekicks. No one dreams about being Robin. They want to grow up to be Batman. But it turns out that a sidekick is the perfect metaphor for adolescence. Sidekicks are smart, energetic and imaginative--and they have no authority at all. They can't drive or vote, but they can shoot electric bolts out of their fingertips. Anderson's main character is a sidekick named Andrew Bean. Like the best superheroes, he's down on his luck, always forgetting his utility belt when he needs it. Andrew is part of a school environmental club, H.E.R.O., that--in the novel's best joke--doubles as a training program for sidekicks (motto: "WE KEEP THE TRASH OFF THE STREETS"). Andrew's mentor is the Titan, an aging hero who'd rather go out drinking than fight crime. The novel's real theme is disillusionment. Before the last chapter, Andrew will have his heart broken more than once. The best superheroes always do. The book's big plot twists are never much of a surprise, but the smaller revelations are deeply moving. The secret that tore apart the Legion of Justice, which the now-dissolute Titan used to lead, turns out to be very simple and very sad. In the end, the tale is so heartbreaking that it's the perfect training manual for superheroes everywhere. And that means all of us. (Fantasy. 9-12) Copyright Kirkus 2013 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

Publishers Weekly Reviews 2013 May #4

In this engaging middle-grade adventure, Anderson (Standard Hero Behavior) again examines the idea of heroism, this time through the lives of superpowered sidekicks. 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 ground (even for fans of Jack Ferraiolo's similar 2011 novel, Sidekicks). 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. Ages 8-12. Agent: Quinlan Lee, Adams Literary. (July)

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School Library Journal Reviews 2013 August

Gr 4-7--With his less-than-spectacular superpowers and a partner who never shows up, Andrew finds that his life as a crime-fighting sidekick called "the Sensationalist" is fairly tame. When a mysterious villain captures most of the city's top "Supers," though, the 13-year-old has to find a way to thwart the evil plot and save the day. Andrew's self-deprecating, occasionally sarcastic narration lightly mocks superhero conventions with some fun and insight. Insecurity about his role neatly mixes in with typical middle school headaches, including teasing, romance, and school lunches. While Andrew's self-analysis drags on a bit at times, there are plenty of funny observations about the challenges superheroes face, including financial worries and outgrowing their spandex. The boy's relationships with other sidekicks, his teacher, and the retired Super who rejects him work fairly well to set up some tough personal and moral decisions. They also impact the gradually developing heroes-versus-villains plot, which includes a couple of slightly predictable twists and ends with a battle in which the sidekicks prove their worth. The action scenes are not especially involving, but the clever humor, coupled with some thoughtful exploration into the nature of friendship, courage, and heroism, makes this a solid addition to the field of superhero novels.--Steven Engelfried, Wilsonville Public Library, OR

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