Cover Appeal: Very Clark-Kent/Superman! Will appeal to 6th and and early 7th graders for sure. May disguise the book's serious undertones.
"There's something that happens when you discover the truth about someone. I know a little about this. The truth changes everything." Sydney, Alias
Everybody wears a mask. The mom mask. The good child (hopefully not a) mask. The put-together human bean mask.
Andrew Macon Bean, 13, wears one professionally. Sort of. He's in the Highview Environmental Revitalization Organization (H.E.R.O.) group at school were 3 times a week for a double period he gets to learn how to be a sidekick to one of Justica's Supers!
MWF, Andrew and his five friends (well, Gavin is technically his nemesis for Jenna's affections, but still) use the watchman's, Mr. Masters, special minute freezing watch and go to the basement to practice their craft. All the while waiting to be "combat ready" so they can go and help their assigned Supers.
Except Andrew. The Titan has disappeared and left him hanging. Literally. Over a pool of acid. If his Super doesn't think he's worth saving, Andrew wonders if he is.
"When you're a teenager, everybody is waiting for you to be something or somebody else--" (28)
I loved the sense of humor Drew brought to everything. He deals with the real struggles of relationships and school with a touch of sarcastic wit. He questions everything and does not give up. Even when everybody and everything points to that very course of action. He suffers setbacks but he has HERO to look forward to. The one place he feels totally like himself. He doesn't have to hide, in fact, he's encouraged to use his gifts to the best of his ability.
Until he's not.
An old super-villian comes back from the dead and breaks the minions out of jail. They don't just want to rob places and gather cool death rays, they want to find and kill all the Supers and their sidekicks. But, the sidekicks are requested to stand down. So what was all the training for? What else is going on?
Both storylines were vital to getting through the book - Drew's struggle to fit in and the Supers struggle to stay alive. But, for me, the draw was definitely how Drew is learning to live with who he is. To accept his gifts and his limitations. He has to learn to rely on himself as well as trust others. He's been let down many times. But he gets back up because he has the Code to help him through.
The Code is also used to justify some questionable activities - both Drew's and others. Anderson successfully places that battle in the midst of everything that happens in this book. Who interprets the rules and how closely are we bound by those interpretations?
On a more playful note, I totally loved the sly Chapter titles - Remember the Titan is all about Drew's Super, The Titan - and how so many bad things happen on a Tuesday!
"That's my approach to most of life most of the time: ignore it." (12)
"He looks like the kind of person who plays six sports and kicks puppies, though I think he really plays two and I'm making the puppy thing up." (35)
"Just because the TV's broke don't mean I don't know what's going on." (284)
I really like Superhero-type books. Among my most recent reads were Geeks, Girls and Secret Identities (Jung, Mike. Arthur A Levine Books (Scholastic), 2012. 320p. $16.99. 9780545335485) and Sidekicks (Ferraiolo, Jack. Amulet Books (Abrams), 2011. 320p. $16.95. 9780810998032). What I loved is how these books gave a different but still entertaining view of the genre. Much like Sidekicked does.
I give it 4 stars because I was immediately engaged in Drew's inner turmoil: having to keep secrets from his family, not feeling normal unless he was his sidekick-self, falling for the girl that is his best friend. I also loved the twists and sense of humor that Anderson throws in.
My only beef was the love triangle. The jock vs the nerd. The girl chooses the jock. That brought it down from 5 stars for me. Otherwise, I really enjoyed it and highly recommend Sidekicked to middle school librarians and classroom teachers.
You can have your very own SIGNED hardcover copy of Sidekicked by John David Anderson!
Open to US Residents only. 13 and older.
1 entry per person/email.
Closes July 28, 2013, 11:59 pm. EST.
Winner announced August 1, 2013.
UPDATED: Won by J. Howard! Hope your classroom enjoys it as much as I did!