Monday, December 26, 2011

Sidekicks by Jack D. Ferraiolo

After spending the past six year as sidekick to the famous superhero Phantom Justice, Bright Boy (real name: Scott Hutchinson) decides it’s time for a change. Scott still believes in saving people from evil villains, but can’t he do it while wearing something other than bright yellow tights? The tights are embarrassing to begin with, but when television cameras catch him getting a little, uh, involuntarily excited while holding the very attractive woman he just rescued, Bright Boy becomes a joke. Seriously, even the little kids at Scott’s school are laughing at Bright Boy.

It doesn’t help that Phantom Justice’s archnemesis, Dr. Chaotic, returned to town after a five-year hiatus (translation: he just broke out of prison). Dr. Chaotic’s sidekick, Monkeywrench, was always a thorn in Bright Boy’s side, and now Monkeywrench is back as well. Only Monkeywrench now has a brand new, totally awesome, costume.

So not fair.
Phantom Justice refuses to listen to Scott’s complaints about his Bright Boy costume. Nothing their butler/trainer Louis says can convince Phantom Justice, either. No one else knows that Scott is Bright Boy, which is fine; Scott understands why Bright Boy’s identity must be kept secret. And, hey, at least this means no one knows it was Scott who had that untimely physical reaction.

Until Bright Boy and Monkeywrench lose their masks while battling one night, and Scott immediately recognizes Monkeywrench as one of his classmates.

Jack D. Ferraiolo’s Sidekicks is funny and fast-paced, with unexpected twists that kept me glued to the pages. Ferraiolo, a writer and producer of children's television shows, is as adept at writing action scenes as he is delving into Scott's emotions. And, perhaps due his television background, the story feels tightly written, without any padding or momentum-sapping scenes. Not until the very end of the book (in all honesty, my least favorite part) does Sidekicks lose a bit of steam. However, even taking this into account, Sidekicks is one of my favorite books of the year, an entertaining mix of humor, action, and depth, starring a likable, sympathetic main character.
Book source: public library.

Cross-posted at The YA YA YAs.

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