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4.6 13
by John David Anderson

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The Avengers meets Louis Sachar in this hilarious and action-packed tween novel by John David Anderson, which Publishers Weekly called a "superhero story that any comics fan will enjoy" in a starred review.

Andrew Bean might be a part of H.E.R.O., a secret organization for the training of superhero sidekicks, but that doesn't mean that life is all


The Avengers meets Louis Sachar in this hilarious and action-packed tween novel by John David Anderson, which Publishers Weekly called a "superhero story that any comics fan will enjoy" in a starred review.

Andrew Bean might be a part of H.E.R.O., a secret organization for the training of superhero sidekicks, but that doesn't mean that life is all leaping tall buildings in single bounds. First, there's Drew's power: Possessed of super senses—his hearing, sight, taste, touch, and smell are the most powerful on the planet—he's literally the most sensitive kid in school. Then there's his superhero mentor, a former legend who now spends more time straddling barstools than fighting crime. Add in trying to keep his sidekick life a secret from everyone, including his parents, and the truth is clear: Middle school is a drag even with superpowers.

But this is all before a supervillain long thought dead returns to the city of Justicia, superheroes begin disappearing at an alarming rate, and Drew's two identities threaten to crash head-on into each other. Drew has always found it pretty easy to separate right from wrong, good from evil. It's what a superhero does. But what happens when that line starts to disappear?

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In this engaging middle-grade adventure, Anderson (Standard Hero Behavior) again examines the idea of heroism, this time through the lives of superpowered sidekicks. Thirteen-year-old Andrew “The Sensationalist” Bean is part of the H.E.R.O. program for aspiring sidekicks, but his mentor, the legendary Titan, is an alcoholic no-show, leaving Andrew to fend for himself against supervillains and their deathtraps. When the infamous Dealer returns from the dead and reunites his deadly henchmen, the entire city is put at risk. Adult heroes are vanishing, their sidekicks are under attack, and someone associated with H.E.R.O. may be a traitor. Amid the chaos and danger, Andrew tries to embrace his heroic potential. Anderson tackles some heady topics, including superhero morality, teenage confusion, and divided loyalties, playing with the usual comic book tropes without treading on overly familiar ground (even for fans of Jack Ferraiolo’s similar 2011 novel, Sidekicks). There’s a lot to enjoy, from memorable characters to a complex yet accessible plot, in this superhero story that any comics fan will enjoy. Ages 8–12. Agent: Quinlan Lee, Adams Literary. (July)
Children's Literature - Toni Jourdan
Welcome to Highview Environmental Revitalization Organization (H.E.R.O.), a covert high school program for gifted children who possess powers that might make them super one day. Well, a superhero, kind of super. For now they are training to become sidekicks matched with superhero mentors, all under the noses of their teachers and parents. Andrew Bean (a.k.a. the Sensationalist) has the extraordinary abilities to smell, taste, hear, see, and touch things that no one else can. Oh sure, flying or super strength might be cooler powers, but he can smell what the neighbors are having for dinner a block away. Andrew is sidekick to the super famous Titan, whose strength and super powers have brought down many super villains; unfortunately, Titan is now he is "off grid" and wants nothing to do with saving lives or mentoring a kid with super senses. That does not stop the Killer Bee from kidnapping the Sensationalist and the Silver Lynx (Jenna, who Andrew has a huge crush on). The villain dangles them over a pool filled with a thousand gallons of hydrochloric acid. Sure, Jenna's mentor saves them just in the nick of time, but the Titan should have been there for Andrew. That is part of the Super Hero Code of Conduct. The Titan has checked out at the worst possible time, because the Dealer and the Three Jacks have broken out of prison, and they seem to have a direct link to all things sidekick and superhero. This is an adventurous look at everything Super from an angle of the sidekick. It is a fun read with nicely written sarcasm and teen angst as this S.I.T. (Sidekick in Trouble) deals with the day-to-day of a thirteen year old kid whose problems are a bit more than zits and girl problems. Reviewer: Toni Jourdan
School Library Journal
Gr 4–7—With his less-than-spectacular superpowers and a partner who never shows up, Andrew finds that his life as a crime-fighting sidekick called "the Sensationalist" is fairly tame. When a mysterious villain captures most of the city's top "Supers," though, the 13-year-old has to find a way to thwart the evil plot and save the day. Andrew's self-deprecating, occasionally sarcastic narration lightly mocks superhero conventions with some fun and insight. Insecurity about his role neatly mixes in with typical middle school headaches, including teasing, romance, and school lunches. While Andrew's self-analysis drags on a bit at times, there are plenty of funny observations about the challenges superheroes face, including financial worries and outgrowing their spandex. The boy's relationships with other sidekicks, his teacher, and the retired Super who rejects him work fairly well to set up some tough personal and moral decisions. They also impact the gradually developing heroes-versus-villains plot, which includes a couple of slightly predictable twists and ends with a battle in which the sidekicks prove their worth. The action scenes are not especially involving, but the clever humor, coupled with some thoughtful exploration into the nature of friendship, courage, and heroism, makes this a solid addition to the field of superhero novels.—Steven Engelfried, Wilsonville Public Library, OR
Kirkus Reviews
Comic-book fans like to talk about how much they hate sidekicks. No one dreams about being Robin. They want to grow up to be Batman. But it turns out that a sidekick is the perfect metaphor for adolescence. Sidekicks are smart, energetic and imaginative--and they have no authority at all. They can't drive or vote, but they can shoot electric bolts out of their fingertips. Anderson's main character is a sidekick named Andrew Bean. Like the best superheroes, he's down on his luck, always forgetting his utility belt when he needs it. Andrew is part of a school environmental club, H.E.R.O., that--in the novel's best joke--doubles as a training program for sidekicks (motto: "WE KEEP THE TRASH OFF THE STREETS"). Andrew's mentor is the Titan, an aging hero who'd rather go out drinking than fight crime. The novel's real theme is disillusionment. Before the last chapter, Andrew will have his heart broken more than once. The best superheroes always do. The book's big plot twists are never much of a surprise, but the smaller revelations are deeply moving. The secret that tore apart the Legion of Justice, which the now-dissolute Titan used to lead, turns out to be very simple and very sad. In the end, the tale is so heartbreaking that it's the perfect training manual for superheroes everywhere. And that means all of us. (Fantasy. 9-12)

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Edition description:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.10(w) x 7.60(h) x 1.00(d)
830L (what's this?)
Age Range:
8 - 12 Years

Meet the Author

John David Anderson is the author of many books for young readers, including Sidekicked and The Dungeoneers. A dedicated root beer connoisseur and chocolate fiend, he lives with his wife, two kids, and perpetually whiny cat in Indianapolis, Indiana. You can visit him online at www.johndavidanderson.org.

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Sidekicked 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 13 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is full of action, adventure, and heart. The narrator, Drew, is fresh and funny, and Anderson creates a world teeming with interesting and flawed characters. Will keep you laughing and turning pages in a hurry.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I definitely recommend this book!!!! It earned it's 5 stars!!!! It's extremely well-written and, honestly, I'm surprised it hasn't gotten more publicity. It's a great summer read (or any other time of the year really), and trust me, you'll love this book!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great book!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I really like the free sample. It has a very funny intro, I am definitely going to ask my mom to buy this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a really funny and light hearted book. Definetly a must read.
Anonymous 8 months ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Really great book!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Ask you mom!? Pfffft, like any one does that! Jk mooooooom, can i buy this book?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great action adventure story for reading any time of year and should keep you with laffs through out the story
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This_Kid_Reviews_Books More than 1 year ago
Middle schooler, Andrew “Drew” Macon Bean couldn’t decide if it was good or bad to be a sidekick. His superpowers (super senses – extra good hearing, taste, touch, sight, and smell) make him super sensitive, so Drew thinks they are super lame. His Super, that he is a sidekick to (The Titan), is a super-drunk. Plus Drew is super-tired of keeping his super-secret identity super-secret. Drew thinks his Super is good for nothing, especially when The Titan doesn’t come to save him when Drew almost died. Instead Drew’s best friend’s Super rescues him. It all gets super worse when The Dealer (The Titan’s arch-nemesis who was thought to be dead) comes back and starts terrorizing the city and The Titan can’t be found. Supers are being kidnapped, and until the only Supers left in the city are The Fox and Mr. Masters (The Sidekick trainer) and the Sidekicks. Drew knows there is a mole in the few good-guys left, so Drew isn’t sure who is trustworthy. Drew has to call on the Super in him to try to save the day! This book is AWESOME!!! I love superheroes! This was one of those books I couldn’t stop reading and I got in trouble for not listening to my parents because I couldn’t put it down (sorry mom and dad). The city that Mr. Anderson created for the story, Justicia, was an awesome setting and it was described very well. There was a bunch of action in this book and the plot was excellent! I was on the edge of my seat – 12 times (maybe more)! ;) Drew was a great character and I could totally understand how he feels. I love characters that have to challenge themselves to do something they think they can’t. I also think Drew was totally believable as an ordinary kid… with lame super powers. :) **NOTE - I got a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It freking is the worst.