Monday, March 30, 2015

Book Review: Almost Super by Marion Jensen

Almost Super is Marion Jensen's debut novel.  (A sequel is also already out.)  And a worthy first novel it is.  It's even up for a Whitney Award this year in the middle grade category!

Two families with superpowers, the Baileys and the Johnsons, live in the same town.  The Baileys are the superheroes, defending all that is good and right and true.  The Johnsons are the supervillians, constantly searching for ways to undermine the Baileys and all they stand for.

Or are they?

Almost Super focuses on brothers Rafter and Benny Bailey who, as the book opens, are just about to get their superpowers.  (Every February 29th, every member of the family over 12 receives their superpower.)  When the clock ticks over to the magical minute of 4:23 in the afternoon, great disappointment reigns.  The new "superpowers" are anything but.

This is a concern.  Especially when the Johnsons daughter, Juanita, appears to have been granted Super Super status with ALL of the superpowers!  Those evil Johnsons must have found a way to steal the Baileys' superpowers!

Except Juanita is acting strangely, not at all like a villain.  And saying things like, "We are the superheroes.  You are the villains."

I don't want to give away too much, but I appreciate the message that it's important to listen to others, getting to know them directly instead of just believing what you've heard (especially if it conveniently reinforces your already-existing beliefs - confirmation bias, anyone?).

An oft-repeated lesson in the story is "having a superpower doesn't make you a superhero.  That you have to earn."  "It's not the powers that make us superheroes--it's what we do with those powers." "You don't need powers to be super."  And finally, "Iron resolve.  Ferocious courage.  And a health does of insanity.  That's what makes a superhero."  And of course, that's exactly what saves the day in the end.

A quick read, a solid story that's really just getting going at the end of the book.  Looking forward to the sequel!

Almost Super
by Marion Jensen
ISBN: 9780062209610
Buy it from Amazon here: (hardcover, paperback, ebook, audiobook)
Find it at a local independent bookseller.
Look it up on Goodreads.
Check it out at your local library (find the nearest one here).

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