Sidekicked by John David Anderson: A Great Introduction to THE RISE OF RENEGADE X and DULL BOY

With not nearly enough power comes way too much responsibility.

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?

All I hoped for when I started reading this book was that it would be like Dull Boy and The Rise of Renegade X. That’s not because I had low hopes for this book, that’s because DULL BOY and THE RISE OF RENEGADE X were so good.

For those of you who haven’t read those posts and even those of you who did, let me just mention the fact that–while I was reading those books, that I didn’t know whether to put it on Tweens Read Too or RealityLapse. I ended up putting on RealityLapse, but that’s beside the point.

The point is, this book made me realize what DB and TRRX would have had to be like to fit into the tween section of the web. I’m not saying that’s a bad thing, what I’m saying is that DB and TRRX are optimized for the teen audience, and that this book is not.

There are some books that can fit both into the tween world and the teen world and still be fun for both categories of people. For me, this book is not one of them.

This story made me smile. I could sympathize with Andrew, and I thought that the superhero bits, the romance in this book and Andrew’s journey was a lot of fun. The humor in this story didn’t make me laugh out loud, but it did make me chuckle mentally. (If that counts.)

I can most definitely see the appeal to this story. I think it’ll go over with it’s targeted audience very well, but personally–I think TRRX and DB were better rounded books when it came to writing, characters, story and audience appeal.

I thought that this book was great though. Besides the fact that it really didn’t need to be as long as it was, I loved how Andrew grew and learned over the course of this story. I also really enjoyed his support network and the way that Anderson set up his characters. I think that this book was a really great introduction to TRRX and DB and I’m interested to read STANDARD HERO BEHAVIOR now. 4 stars.

pg count for the hardback: 384

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