Phoning it in? Um, yeah. Have been. I'm fine during the school year with spending time on the computer, but I really don't enjoy it when I'm at home. I went to Put-In-Bay for a couple of days last week (no electronic devices at all, and lots of biking and walking), so that didn't help. I do have at least one book a day scheduled through the whole summer and have definitely been reading. I also look for new titles through Feedly. But commenting? Not doing so well. Summer blogger blues, I guess.
Thank YOU for still making the rounds! Here are some more blogs to look at:
It's Marvelous Middle Grade Monday at Ramblings of a Wannabe Scribe and What Are You Reading? day at Teach Mentor Texts.
Both sites have lots of links to reviews about books that are great for
the 4th through 8th grader. It's also Nonfiction Monday at Playing by the Book.
Anderson, John David. Sidekicked.
25 June 2013, Walden Pond Press
ARC provided by the publisher
Andrew possesses super powers-- but only when it comes to sensing things. He's supersensitive to anything he can taste, smell, feel or hear, which is only marginally useful. Luckily, he has Mr. Masters, who has started a H.E.R.O. group at the middle school for students with powers, thinking that if it's so obvious, no one will figure it out. Mr. Masters trains the kids, and also sets them up with Supers as their mentors. Drew's is the Titan, who took down a particularly nasty criminal, The Dealer, several years ago, and has retired from public life. When people keep attacking Drew, he suspects that it's really the Titan that everyone is after. The Dealer has escaped from prison and is back with three of his four Jacks-- the Jack of Hearts being the one killed the Titan. When Mr. Masters is kidnapped by the Jack of Clubs, Drew knows that he needs to do something. Jenna, whose Super, the Fox, is the only one who seems to be able to take care of the Dealer, helps him, and there is a bit of a romance between the two. No time for that, though, when The Dealer takes most of the Supers out of commission, and the Sidekicks are really the only ones who can save the day. Not everyone with super powers is fighting on the side of good, however, and Drew finds a surprising enemy while trying to save the day.
Strengths: Super hero books have been very popular, and students who like comic books often beg for more, so this will definitely fill that niche. Drew is a character to whom they can relate-- he's part of the crowd, but less powerful than everyone else. Good romance and ensemble cast adds depth to the story, and auxiliary characters like Mr. Masters are finely drawn. Lots of good descriptions and some funny turns of phrase highlight the good writing, and the cover is just the right shade of "grown-up" cartoon to appeal to middle grade readers.
Weaknesses: At over 370 pages, this was awfully long. I think the story could have been tightened up a great deal, especially when the target demographic is taken into consideration.