Adventures of Blue Avenger

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On his sixteenth birthday, David Schumacher changes his name to Blue Avenger. . .

And things start to happen. Within twenty-four hours, David becomes a national hero, starts dating an extraordinary girl named Omaha Nebraska Brown, and bakes an imperfect pie. And that's not all. A tiny sow bug is injured by a lawn mower, some killer bees make their home at San Pablo High ...

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On his sixteenth birthday, David Schumacher changes his name to Blue Avenger. . .

And things start to happen. Within twenty-four hours, David becomes a national hero, starts dating an extraordinary girl named Omaha Nebraska Brown, and bakes an imperfect pie. And that's not all. A tiny sow bug is injured by a lawn mower, some killer bees make their home at San Pablo High School, and there is some activity in the earth's crust.

The connection?

No one knows for certain.

At first, it seems that David's own free will is guiding his momentous decision. But maybe it's something else. Maybe it's the inevitable result of everything that has ever happened to him since his miraculous birth.

To find out more about life and death, romance, gun control, lemon meringue pie, and world peace, you'll have to read this book. The decision is yours.

Or is it?
2001 ALA Popular Paperback for YAs
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Editorial Reviews

To quote KLIATT's July 1999 review of the hardcover edition: On the morning of David Schmacher's 16th birthday, he decides to change his name to Blue Avenger, the cartoon hero he dreamt up after his father's death three years ago: a "secret champion of the underdog, modest seeker of truth, fearless innovator of the unknown." David soon gets a chance to prove himself a hero, by saving his school principal from a killer bee attack. He goes on to create a recipe (included) for "weepless" lemon meringue pie, finds a tactful solution to printing condom instructions in the school newspaper, gets his friend treatment for acne, and is instrumental in getting bullets banned in his hometown of Oakland. Meanwhile he acquires a girlfriend, Omaha, and accompanies her to her brother's wedding—in jail—while they both ponder the question of fate vs. free will. This fanciful novel has something of the zany, folksy style of Sid Hite's books for YAs. There are many asides to the reader and curious coincidences, and the tone is somewhat arch, if entertaining. A fun read for fans of books like A Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. KLIATT Codes: JS—Recommended for junior and senior high school students. 1999, HarperTempest, 232p, 18cm, 99-57779, $6.95. Ages 13 to 18. Reviewer: Paula Rohrlick; September 2000 (Vol. 34 No. 5)
School Library Journal
Gr 8 Up-Actor John Beach is an excellent narrator for this unusual coming-of-age novel by Norma Howe (Holt, 1999). With a unique blend of philosophy, irony, humor and romance, Blue, originally known as David Schumacher, accomplishes the feats of which many teens dream. With an official name change, he assumes the role of his comic book hero, Blue Avenger. Beach's expressive voice is exaggerated, energetic, and enthusiastic, as is Blue. Although his pace varies, it is usually quite rapid, just like the hero on a mission. His speech changes to represent the different ages of the male characters; there is little change for the females. Beach's voice remains spirited when reading the trivia which Howe ties to the plot. He doesn't hesitate to read the many "blankety-blanks" or to burst into "100 Bottles of Beer on the Wall." Sadly, the discussions of condoms and the synonyms for the word "shit" will keep this to more mature audiences.-Claudia Moore, W.T. Woodson High School, Fairfax, VA Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Childrens Book Watch
On the morning of David Bruce Schumacher's sixeteenth birthday he decides to offically change his name to "The Blue Avenger" and become a secret chamion of the underdog, modest seeker of truth, fearless inovator of the unkown, end the slaughter of handguns and conquer the blight of weeping lemon meringue. The Adventures Of Blue Avenger is a thoroughly entertaining story presented in a lively, three audio cassette, unabridged and technically flawless production showcasing the narrative talents of John Beach who does complete justice to Norma Howe's superb tale. Total Time: 4 hours, 20 minutes.
—Childrens Book Watch
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780064472258
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 8/28/2000
  • Series: The Blue Avenger Series
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 240
  • Age range: 13 - 12 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.00 (w) x 7.00 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Norma Howe has written six novels for young adults, including The Adventures of Blue Avenger and Blue Avenger Cracks the Code. The San Francisco Chronicle writes that "Ms. Howe creates rare heroes — exceptional people who happen to be in their teens." To research this book, Ms. Howe traveled to England and Venice numerous times. She lives with her husband in Sacramento, California.

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Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

Scientists say that in human males, a single seminal emission contains something in the neighborhood of 300 million spermatozoa. Given the task of counting 300 million spermatozoa and counting nonstop at the rate of one sperm cell per second, it would take a bleary-eyed tabulator exactly nine years, 185 days, five hours, and twenty minutes to complete the job. Sperm cells are very tiny, of course--so tiny, in fact, that with a small eyedropper and lots of patience, 2,500 of them could be placed on the dot of this i.

(The above quotation is from a new high school biology textbook called B Is for Biology. However, this book will not be approved by the state curriculum committee when it meets next year because the majority of members will say that its “tone is too breezy.”)

So, how many spermatozoa belonging to Police Officer Walter J. Schumacher took off lickety-split toward the waiting egg of Sally Schumacher on a mild April evening sixteen years and nine months ago? Well, even though no one counted, the actual figure was 319,730,929, which was a few million above average--but Officer Walter Schumacher was healthy and in the prime of life. The lucky spermatozoon that did the trick was number 14,889,004, which was truly miraculous, since the resulting baby turned out to be David Bruce Schumacher, destined to be the unlikely hero of San Pablo High. Amazing as it sounds, no other spermatozoon could have accomplished that feat.

When David was six years old, a similar event occurred, in its own way just as miraculous. This time the resulting baby was his brother, Josh'pesky, sometimes funny, always exasperating--a perfect fit in the “little brother”mold.

And then, seven years after Josh was born, on yet another April evening, Officer Walter J. Schumacher became a tragic statistic'the 1,673rd person in the state of California to die in an automobile accident since the start of the year. Who was to blame? What was the cause? Could it have been a double-dip rocky road ice-cream cone and a tiny brown spider? Well, yes--partly. Along with the billions and billions of other events that led up to the accident, the ice-cream cone and the spider could in all fairness be singled out for blame. For if only Officer Schumacher had not stopped to buy the ice-cream cone on his way home from the police station that evening, the crash would never have happened; or if only the spider had not decided at the precise moment he did to take a hike across the windshield of the other car involved in the accident, momentarily distracting the driver, again, the crash would never have happened. But then, if Officer Schumacher had not spotted the empty parking place right smack in front of the Baskin-Robbins, he would never have stopped. So what about the woman who had vacated the parking space forty-six seconds before Officer Schumacher came along? Was she partly to blame? Why hadn't she taken the time to try on just one more dress at the Bon Marché? And consider the driver of the other car--if only he would have sprayed his garage for spiders as his wife had asked him instead of spending all Saturday afternoon watching the game--ah, yes. If only, if only--but into each life some rain must fall, and no one knows when his own private storm will break. But, some would say, two unanswered questions remain: If things are not counted, can they still be numbered? And do spiders really decide to take hikes, or do they just start walking without knowing what in the *#%! they're doing?

Now it is the morning of David Bruce Schumacher's sixteenth birthday'and in a sudden, unusual spurt of boldness he has finally made up his mind to just go ahead and do it. Although he hasn't discussed it with anyone, he has been thinking about this thing for a long time, toying with the idea but never seriously'never really believing he would actually follow through. Because it's crazy'if not altogether crazy, at least slightly crazy. Yes, it is definitely slightly crazy, and that is partly what makes it so appealing: On this very day, David Bruce Schumacher decides, he will officially change his name to The Blue Avenger.

The Blue Avenger is a name (or sobriquet, as some might say) he had dreamt up three years before for a cartoon character he had begun to draw in his loneliness and misery after the ice-cream cone and spider mysteriously joined forces to end his father's life. David had wandered out to the garage to look for something'something of his father's, he didn't know quite what'and there he discovered his dad's blue fishing vest stuffed behind a cardboard box containing motor oil, old rags, and a bottle of Windex. David brought the vest into his room and shut the door. His mother was still at work and Josh was at a friend's, so he was all alone in the house. He held his father's vest up by the shoulders and looked at it for several minutes before slipping his arms through the holes and zipping it up. It was a perfect fit. He closed his eyes and suddenly felt almost whole again. Then he sat down at his desk and started to draw.

David wasn't sure how or why he chose the name The Blue Avenger for his cartoon hero back then, except that he had always loved the word blue, and the color of the vest most certainly played a part. As for Avenger, well, it had such a nice daredevil sound to it--completely different from the placid and studious David. Soon he was spending hours alone in his room, sketching in his amateurish way the imaginary exploits of what turned out to be his own alter ego, filling his private notebooks with multipaneled strips he called “The Adventures of The Blue Avenger.” For his stunning and eye-popping feats, The Blue Avenger always wore a blue fishing vest and a blue terry cloth towel secured on his head with a piece of rope in the style of an Arab kaffiyeh (although at the time, David didn't know the proper name for that particular headdress, having just seen and admired it greatly in a movie video his mother rented called Lawrence of Arabia).

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 4 )
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  • Posted December 30, 2010

    It was okay

    It was pretty good, even made me laugh sometimes, but what was with this "no free will theme" that occured throughout the entire book? Just plain stupid.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 26, 2008

    Spunky Book- Two thumbs up

    I loved it- Blue's wackyness and spunk are evident in everything he does. Howe uses forshadowing extremely well, and in an almost Lemony-Snicket-esque style throws in random facts that later turn out to be essential to the story line in ways that will surprise even the most expirienced reader. Very witty!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 18, 2002

    Funny Book!

    I really enjoyed reading this book, and its two sequels. I love Norma Howe's writing style, the random facts that she throws in, and her character development. I think Blue is the perfect character to become a "hero", and it's a great book for teenagers.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 29, 2002

    Great, funny book

    I really liked the way Howe described the characters! It was a good book! Funny too.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 5, 2000


    THis book was so funny!

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