Almost Super by Marion Jensen
Source: eARC (HarperCollins)
My rating: 5 of 5 stars :star :star :star :star :star
Thank you to Harper Collins for providing me an advanced reader copy of this book, in exchange for an honest review.
This was one of the best middle-grade books I've read in a long time. It was surprisingly funny (I wasn't expecting to laugh so hard!) and also just a really good story.
Almost Super starts off right away by being incredibly entertaining. We meet The Bailey family, who is a superhero family. Rafter Bailey is excited because he's about to receive his very own super power at approximately 4:23 pm on Feb 29; alone with his brother Benny. So Rafter and his brother Benny anxiously await to get their powers with the rest of their family (each member has a unique power). Will he get super speed? Super strength? Maybe he'll just get super brains like his older brother. They don't know what powers they'll get but they know they want to be heroes. Save the day.
Unfortunately, things don't quite go as planned. Bailey and Benny get their powers, but ..they're not useful powers. It's pretty hilarious, I don't want to spoil anything but it involves belly buttons and matches on polyester. The boys are worried though, something's up. No one in the entire extended family has gotten legit powers. Is this some new dastardly scheme?
Rafter's prime concern/suspect is Juanita Johnson. She's a Johnson *angrily shake fist in air*; she comes from a family of super villains. Things with her family and her new powers are also strange though and Juanita wants to know why. What if she's telling the truth and her family isn't what they seem to be? Who is pulling the strings?
As Bailey and Benny bumble their way through finding themselves (with or without having a super power) they learn a lot along the way. What does it really take to be super?
I love the idea of a super hero family. It did remind me of the movie The Incredibles, which I loved. The difference was the family was just...so funny. I had no idea there could be this many humorous situations in one short book! The conflict was creative and understandable-- two important traits for middle grade. I loved the pacing from the start. I didn't want to stop and I read most of the book in one sitting. For me, that's a sure sign of an excellent middle-grade novel; you don't want to stop.
Marion Jenson is definitely an author I hope to hear more about. I can't wait to read the next book in the series and find out what happens with the Johnson's and Bailey's! I recommend this book if you want to have a laugh (or ten). It was a super fun story with a lot of important lessons about courage, family, and doing the right thing.
“Got it.” Benny said. “Although I wish I'd brought a pair of suspenders.”
“Suspenders? Benny... What are you talking about?”
“I have a hard time talking to girls,” Benny said. “I never know what to do with my hands. If I had a pair of suspenders, I could hook my thumbs under the straps.” (Pg 46 of ARC)
“Iron resolve. Ferocious courage. And a healthy dose of insanity. That's what makes a superhero. Not some amazing power.” (Loc 325 of ARC)
December 24, 2013
ARC Review: Almost super by Marion Jenson
(aka Dee) has loved reading for as long as she can remember. She loves many things: fantasy novels, young adult fiction, her cat, painting, and horror films from the 70s. Diamond is a grad student at UCLA. She's pursuing a Master's in Library and Information Science.