It's not easy to be Scott. While he has super strength and speed, he's being raised by Trent, aka Phantom Justice, and must perform super hero sidekick duties as Bright Boy. The yellow tights and red cape were cute when he was younger, but after a much televised wardrobe malfunction, he's ready to ditch the costume. At school, he's bullied by Jake and ignored by most of the other students. After being in prison for five years, Bright Boy's arch nemesis, Dr. Chaotic, is back, as is his screeching assistant, Monkeywrench. Since the superheroes all seem to be disappearing, it's up to Phantom Justice and Scott to dispatch the pair, but after one clash, Scott discovers that Monkeywrench is really a classmate of his, Allison. The two become friends, and then things REALLY become interesting. Let's just say that the super hero world is not always what it seems. The twists and turns in this are so delicious that I don't want to give them away.
Strengths: This was great! Not at all what I was expecting, and the interplay between good and evil, always a favorite theme of mine, was brilliant! Scott and Allison's relationship rings true, making this a good book to hand to boys who secretly want a romance book. The superhuman aspect is believable, and the inclusion of embarrassing incidents makes this funny as well. I did like this author's The Big Splash, but the film noir style isn't popular in my library.
Weaknesses: The cover is attractive, but a bit on the cartoonish side. I intend to hand this to a lot of 8th graders, and the cover will make some of them flinch.Also, after an uncomfortable conversation with my surly male resource, we concluded that some of Scott's wardrobe problems could perhaps have been averted with some standard athletic equipment that would probably have been useful when fighting supervillians anyway! Small points; I'm looking forward to having this in my library!
Meyer, Carolyn. Cleopatra Confesses.
It's not easy to be the young Cleopatra, either. From her final moments, she recounts her event filled childhood. Her older sisters resent their father and can't wait to rule the kingdom and enjoy all of the perks ruling offers. Cleopatra, however, is a little more attuned to the people, and knows that her father wants her to rule. Once she starts to share the rule with her father, she develops a crush on Marc Antony, but later, of course, has an affair with Caesar. This is not so much about romance as it is about politics, which have to consume most of Cleopatra's thoughts.
Strengths: The description of every day life make this a valuable book to have. The affairs are described delicately enough that the sixth graders can read this.
Weaknesses: I have to agree with Small Review , who liked this but thought it stopped when all of the real excitement began. I also agree that there were times when the plot didn't seem to go anywhere-- there wasn't much action, more thought. This is similar to the books about the young British queens that Meyer has done, and those are popular, so it may not matter.