SIDEKICKS by Jack D. Ferraiolo

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When Scott was six years old, being a sidekick to a superhero was awesome.  He got to wear a cool costume and use his super strength and super speed to help Phantom Justice take out the bad guys.  But now at thirteen, “Bright Boy” and his yellow spandex tights that leave nothing to the imagination have become a middle school laughing stock.  Of course no one knows that Scott is Bright Boy; as far as they know, he’s just the friendless loser who sits alone in the cafeteria.  But in a fight with the Phantom’s nemesis, Dr. Chaos, Scott and the Doctor’s sidekick, Monkeywrench, get a glimpse of each other’s faces, and he learns that she is the popular girl Allison from school.  With his identity compromised, Scott tries to befriend Allison to learn her weaknesses.  But as friendship blossoms into something more, Scott finds himself questioning everything he believed about good and evil—and not a moment too soon, because Phantom Justice may not be what he seems.

I really enjoyed this book!  I wish there were a sequel.  I would recommend Sidekicks especially to middle school boys, as puberty is a major theme.  After an accidental and inopportune erection, Scott wonders whether he is normal or “a perv,” but ultimately the reader will see that he is a normal, good kid from his relationship with Allison which is clearly a friendship first and based on respect—and the people calling him a perv turn out to be Evil, so it’s hard to miss the point.  Because of this content, I would hesitate to indiscriminately recommend this book to younger kids or middle school girls who may be uncomfortable with it (just as I rarely recommend books with extensive discussion of “periods” to middle school boys).  But many girls may not find it awkward and just enjoy the book—I certainly did.  I just want to give you a heads up so no one is caught by surprise!

If you liked Sidekicks, you might like Powerless by Matthew Cody.

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