Sidekicks

Sidekicks

4.3 16
by Jack D. Ferraiolo
     
 

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Batman has Robin, Wonder Woman has Wonder Girl, and Phantom Justice has Bright Boy, a.k.a. Scott Hutchinson, an ordinary schoolkid by day and a superfast, superstrong sidekick by night, fighting loyally next to his hero. 

But after an embarrassing incident involving his too-tight spandex costume, plus some signs that Phantom Justice may not be the good guy

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Overview


Batman has Robin, Wonder Woman has Wonder Girl, and Phantom Justice has Bright Boy, a.k.a. Scott Hutchinson, an ordinary schoolkid by day and a superfast, superstrong sidekick by night, fighting loyally next to his hero. 

But after an embarrassing incident involving his too-tight spandex costume, plus some signs that Phantom Justice may not be the good guy he pretends to be, Scott begins to question his role. With the help of a fellow sidekick, once his nemesis, Scott must decide if growing up means being loyal or stepping boldly to the center of things.

Praise for Sidekicks
*STARRED REIVEW*
“Scott’s present-tense narration keeps pedal to the metal from start to finish, and readers will be quickly won over as the two super-strong, super-fast, super-likable protagonists face both inner conflicts and a Dark Knight–ish villain as deeply psychotic and scary as he is super powerful. Look for more twists than a pretzel factory and a possible sequel.” –Kirkus Reviews, starred review

*STARRED REVIEW*
“A delightfully clever take on superheroes with this unpredictable adventure. Engaging territory as Ferraiolo reveals the story’s true depths.” –Publishers Weekly, starred review 

“An exciting, lightning-paced superhero plot that is also a thoughtful examination of superheroism.” 
The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books

“Ferraiolo starts the cape-flying action right from the opening pages. Ferraiolo is delightfully unafraid to inject irreverence into the superhero formula, adding plenty of humor to the high adventure high jinks.” 
Booklist

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
For his sophomore novel, Ferraiolo (The Big Splash) delivers a delightfully clever take on superheroes with this unpredictable adventure. Scott "Bright Boy" Hutchinson has been the youthful sidekick to grim avenger Phantom Justice for most of his life, and he enjoys the nightly fights against evil, especially since it's the only social life he has. When the fiendish and superintelligent Dr. Chaotic escapes from prison, his sidekick (and Scott's nemesis) Monkeywrench returns as well. Business as usual, until Bright Boy and Monkeywrench accidentally learn each other's secret identities. Now, forced to interact in real life, they discover they have more in common than they thought, a connection their respective mentors are none too happy with. But as Scott starts to find a measure of happiness, a series of revelations shatters his worldview. Now the sidekick must decide whose side he's really on. What starts as a tongue-in-cheek sendup of the superhero genre (complete with puberty-related embarrassing moments, costume malfunctions, and purposefully clichéd dialogue) rapidly swerves into new and engaging territory as Ferraiolo reveals the story's true depths. Ages 10–14. (May)
School Library Journal
Gr 7–10—Bright Boy, sidekick of Batman-like superhero Phantom Justice, aka Trent Clancy, rescues a beautiful female hostage from the clutches of evil Rogue Warrior, but is powerless to conceal his erection that is all-too-obvious in his yellow tights—a costume that the live helicopter news feeds show he has clearly outgrown. His humiliation extends even to the kindergartners at his exclusive private Manhattan school and Phantom Justice is inexplicably unsympathetic, telling Bright Boy, aka Scott, to "control it." Their nemesis, Dr. Chaotic, escapes from prison and with his sidekick, Monkeywrench, provokes a confrontation. In the dustup, Monkeywrench is revealed to be a girl—Scott's classmate Allison—but she also discovers his identity. Long story short, they fight and flirt, fall for each other, and soon learn to prefer quiet conversations and kissing to fisticuffs. Two sections of white font on black pages reveal that Phantom Justice is a fraud, in cahoots with his evil counterparts, paid by giant corporations to stage their fights so as to provide them with free publicity—all those live helicopter news feeds. Further, PJ coldly plans to murder the troublesome sidekicks, just as he's disposed of other collaborators he no longer needed. This is a fast-reading, cleverly told, entertaining tale, sort of a graphic novel without the pictures. Although loose ends abound, the fun is in the boy-meets-girl story. Readers will be entertained and will hope for a quick sequel to fill in the gaps.—Joel Shoemaker, formerly at South East Junior High School, Iowa City, IA
Children's Literature - Claudia Mills
It's not easy being the thirteen-year-old sidekick to a superhero. Worse is when you have to wear bright yellow tights to match your moniker of "Bright Boy." Worse still is when those bright yellow tights reveal a certain kind of below-the-belt reaction to holding a beautiful rescued maiden in your arms—and reveal it on national TV—and when you have to go to middle school the next day as plain old invisible Scott Hutchinson and hear your classmates howling with laughter over "your" public humiliation. Ferraiolo's hilarious premise develops riveting complications when Scott/Bright Boy discovers the identity of his nemesis sidekick Monkeywrench, who happens to be his very own classmate, and when he has to explore deeper questions about the legendary rivalry between his own mentor/hero Phantom Justice and Monkeywrench's mentor/anti-hero Dr. Chaotic. Comic dialogue, action-packed fight scenes, shocking character revelations, and plot twists galore make this a funny, suspenseful, thought-provoking page turner. Bright Boy gets more than just a new costume; he learns what it takes to grow out of the role of sidekick and into the role of hero in his own right. Reviewer: Claudia Mills, Ph.D.
ALAN Review - Raef Williams
Scott Hamilton is not the average teenager. When he's not completing his homework or finishing a term paper, Scott is flying across rooftops and halting crime by night as Bright Boy, loyal sidekick to the dynamic crime fighter Phantom Justice. After his latest heroics saving a hostage from the hands of masked villain Rogue Warrior, Bright Boy has a slight wardrobe malfunction and becomes the laughingstock of criminals, fans, and the entire school! What makes matters worse is the discovery that his evil archenemy Monkeywrench is actually the pretty girl who sits in front of him in science class, Allison Mendez. What begins as good old-fashioned hate turns into romance between the two. Scott must make a decision: will he remain loyal to the cause of defending justice, or will he fall for his sworn enemy, whom he must ultimately deliver to the law? Reviewer: Raef Williams
Kirkus Reviews

The author who made a splash with The Big Splash (2008) takes the "costumed superheroes" genre out for a joyride, and anyone who comes along will never read comics the same way again. Six years as Bright Boy, sidekick to crime-fighting superhero Phantom Justice, has left Scott a teenager with no life, no friends and revealing yellow tights that show the news cameras every bit of the involuntary hard-on he gets after heroically rescuing a beautiful victim. Then another seemingly devastating development: He and arch-nemesis Monkeywrench (Dr. Chaotic's sidekick) both lose their masks in battle, and Monkeywrench turns out to be not only a girl, but one he knows from school. This leads to a giddy, liberating romance, as well as cool costume makeovers and sensational publicity after the cameras catch some of that love action. It also earns them death sentences from their respective employers, who turn out to be very different from their public images and not at all willing to be edged out of the limelight by supporting characters. Scott's present-tense narration keeps pedal to the metal from start to finish, and readers will be quickly won over as the two super-strong, super-fast, super-likable protagonists face both inner conflicts and a Dark Knight–ish villain as deeply psychotic and scary as he is super powerful. Look for more twists than a pretzel factory and a possible sequel. (Superhero fantasy. YA)

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781419701856
Publisher:
Amulet Books
Publication date:
04/01/2012
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
336
Product dimensions:
5.40(w) x 8.10(h) x 0.90(d)
Age Range:
10 - 14 Years

Meet the Author

Jack D. Ferraiolo is the author of The Big Splash. He grew up in southern Connecticut and lives in northern Massachusetts. As the head of development at a children’s animation production company, he has developed and writes for WordGirl on PBS, for which he won an Emmy. Visit him online at www.jackferraiolo.com.

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