Publisher's Note:  

"Evan Quick, Hero's Log, May the 25th… and darn it - I just can't do this. I'm never going to be a Mask. Get over it Evan."

Evan Quick has spent his whole life dreaming of becoming a hero. Every morning he wakes up and runs through a checklist of test to see if he's developed powers over night, and every day it is the same thing - nothing. No flying, no super strength, no heat rays or cold beams. No invulnerability - that always hurt to check - no telepathy, no magic. Not even the ability to light a light bulb without flipping a switch. And now, he's finally ready to give up.

But then, the class field trip to the Mask Museum is interrupted by a super villain attack, and Evan somehow manages to survive a death ray. Even better, Evan's favorite Mask, Captain Commanding, shows up to save them all -- and when things go very wrong, it's Evan who finds the strength to come to Captain Commanding's rescue.

Yet the hero's reception Evan is expecting never happens. Before he even gets the chance to say hello, Evan is bundled away to The Academy, an institution derisively called The School for Sidekicks by its students. Forced to take classes like Banter Basics and Combat with Dinnerware, while being assigned as an 'apprentice' to Foxman - a Mask widely considered a has-been -- Evan starts to worry that he'll never be able to save the day…

This book was sent to Compass Book Ratings for review by Feiwel and Friends

School for Sidekicks

by Kelly McCullough

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Overall Review:  

Thirteen year old Evan Quick is a superhero fan boy extraordinaire; he knows all the Hoods, all the Masks, and all trivia.  His dream to be a Mask someday is all-consuming and frankly borders on slightly embarrassing. Yet, since all is possible in fiction, it miraculously comes true, but not quite as he expects.

This is a middle grade book that starts a bit slow, meanders some, and at first is fairly standard.  There are a plethora of minor characters that tend to blur together.  However, keep reading!  This is a story that gets stronger and stronger, and more and more interesting.  Complications, nuances, and revelations are introduced that take this book in a new and intriguing direction.  The dialogue is strong and Evan Quick's earnestness and dedication will hook even the most jaded reader.  This novel is left wide-open for follow-up book and it is a series any superhero lover, or action-lover, should keep their eye on!

Review of an digital Advance Reader Copy.

Content Analysis:  

Profanity/Language:  3 religious exclamations; 1 derogatory name; 8 scatological words.

Violence/Gore:  Characters play simulated superhero game; report of radiation bomb going off and many deaths resulting; character bangs head; character shot with a green laser beam; character abducted and hostages taken; superheroes fight in brief, non-detailed scene with blasting, smashing, etc.; verbal threats are made upon separate occasions; students attend a class on how to fight with household objects; students are in a life-like fighting simulations; students fight using their superpowers; superheroes briefly battle (using cheese); superheroes fight each other with intent to kill; character practices with weapons; character breaks nose (mention of blood); character speaks of desire to kill another character; explosion, destruction of property, minor injuries; character throws object and breaks another object; extended fight scene (general descriptions) with injuries, mention of blood, and implied death, destruction of property via energy blasts, swords, superpowers.

Sex/Nudity:  Reference to "Dad's moms, the ballerina-turned-choreographer and her wife"; boy kisses a girl; a girl kisses a girl.


Mature Subject Matter:  

Death, bullying, moral ethics, alcoholism, personal and family crises.

Alcohol / Drug Use:  

Character is a known alcoholic; character asks a thirteen year old if he knows how to make a martini; character takes a breathalyzer test.

Reviewed By Cindy
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