My 8 yo daughter absolutely loved this book so I bought it so my husband and I could read it. Imagine my surprise when my husband corrected our pronunciation of the author’s last name (he was familiar with him from ESPN, go figure). My family is superhero crazy– both my girls devour the Avengers, X-men, Spiderman, etc. (the kid friendly versions). And I’ll have to say that Super Hero Squad is one funny cartoon.
Anyway, this book is about a 14 yo that ends up with super powers when his father dies unexpectedly. It’s your classic good vs. evil book although it keeps you guessing on who is good and who is bad. And ultimately, its the struggle of good vs. evil within ourselves too.
Theology: I am my own god
There’s was an old man character in the book with mystical powers and I wondered if he was going to end up as a God-type character, but he didn’t.
The main character, Zach Harriman, struggles with grief over his father’s passing while dealing with his new death which brings on lots of internal anger. In the end he has to decide what kind of man he’s going to be (good). But ultimately, he decides on self-reliance, a typical theme in our American culture where we believe its all about us and we can do everything ourselves.
This is more of a statement on our culture and not a condemnation of the book. We believe that in America if you try hard enough you will succeed (the American dream) but peace comes when we release ourselves to follow our Creator. Submission is the key to happiness, not self-reliance.
If you ask Mike Lupica (interview at http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2010-11-15/entertainment/chi-books-lupica-appearance_1_mike-lupica-comic-books-young-adult-books), he says
“All of my books are about kids getting knocked down and then showing readers what they are made of by getting back up.”
“I always tell the kids in audience that we grew up in different times,” Lupica said. “When I grew up I didn’t have ESPN or cable or laptops and, of course, they do. But, despite that, we are exactly the same because we both love a good story and understand that no piece of technology is better than opening a book to page one and knowing that you are walking into a world that you have never inhabited before.”
That’s certainly admirable.
There is mild violence in the book but its not graphic at all. It’s a comic book turned novel with lots of great dialog, sports metaphors, and cultural relevance.
The book deals with bullying a little, but its more about dealing with grief, internal anger, and finding your way in life
This book is one of the 20 books up for this year’s Bluebonnet Awards for the state of Texas. Kids in 3rd-6th grades get to vote for their favorite book and this one might just win. It’s safe for kids and a good read. It will appeal to boys as well as girls, and husbands who watch ESPN.