Almost Super

by Marion Jensen (2014)

A Sweet Spot selection. 

Iron resolve. Ferocious courage. And a healthy dose of insanity.

In Marion Jensen’s Almost Super, each of these attributes is as important to members of the Bailey family as are the superpowers they receive on the leap year after they turn twelve. But for brothers Rafter and Benny, those coveted superpowers may just look a little… different.

I sat on the piano bench, stunned. I knew what my superpower was. I knew how it worked. I knew every last part of it, inside and out.

And I knew I would have it for the rest of my life.

Rafter is given the ability to light matches on polyester. Benny can turn his innie belly button into an outie one. Not the types of powers the boys were expecting. Certainly not the powers that are going to help them to rid the world of evil, particularly the super villainous Johnsons.

Told from Rafter’s point of view, the brothers ultimately find friendship in an unexpected place, joining forces with Juanita Johnson (yes, of those Johnsons!) to save their city from the real villains, the Jones family.

I chose my next words carefully. “Juanita. Somewhere out there is a real supervillain. This supervillain stole our powers, along with the rest of our families’. If we can find him, we could get our powers back. Our real powers.”

Marion Jensen presents a witty and exciting saga, and his lively narrative and action-packed storytelling engage readers from page one. Jensen taps into the comic awkwardness that is middle school and, of course, hijinks follow. Yet, a seemingly straight-forward super-hero story ends up revealing lessons below the surface. Beyond the danger and heroics, Almost Super will teach students that thinking for themselves and questioning the status quo are both important parts of growing up.

Almost Super is a great read for families, inviting them to discuss what truly makes a person “super.” Trust, respect, kindness, creativity, understanding, and forgiveness turn out to be stronger than breathing fire or shooting water out of your hands. Families can share in this fantastic adventure that encourages realizing your full potential and being the best that you can be.

As Grandpa Bailey reminds us, “That’s what makes a superhero. Not some amazing power.”

 

 

 

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