V Is for Villain

V Is for Villain

4.5 4
by Peter Moore

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Brad Baron is used to looking lame compared to his older brother, Blake. Though Brad's basically a genius, Blake is a superhero in the elite Justice Force. And Brad doesn't measure up at his high school, either, where powers like super-strength and flying are the norm. So when Brad makes friends who are more into political action than weight lifting, he's happy to


Brad Baron is used to looking lame compared to his older brother, Blake. Though Brad's basically a genius, Blake is a superhero in the elite Justice Force. And Brad doesn't measure up at his high school, either, where powers like super-strength and flying are the norm. So when Brad makes friends who are more into political action than weight lifting, he's happy to join a new crew-especially since it means spending more time with Layla, a girl who may or may not have a totally illegal, totally secret super-power. And with her help, Brad begins to hone a dangerous new power of his own.

But when they're pulled into a web of nefarious criminals, high-stakes battles, and startling family secrets, Brad must choose which side he's on. And once he does, there's no turning back.

Perfect for fans of The Avengers, Ironman, and classic comic books, V is for Villain reveals that it's good to be bad.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
★ 03/17/2014
In this provocative adventure, Moore (Red Moon Rising) explores the dichotomies of good versus evil and nature versus nurture through the story of a teenage scion of a heroic family who’s forced into a life of rebellion. Because he’s “unpowered,” Brad Baron can never live up to the standards set by his legendary father and brother, but he strives on—until rampant prejudice and casual neglect lead him to make friends with a band of malcontents bent on changing the system through supervillainy. Discovering his latent, illegal power of telepathy, Brad adopts their mission as his own and discovers dark secrets underlying everything he’s ever believed. While Moore’s story stands on its own as a superpowered coming-of-age story, complete with a bad-girl love interest and dramatic scenery-destroying battles, it’s also a subtle criticism of institutionalized privilege—in this case, featuring a society in which flashy physical powers are valued more than less-obvious ones, and normal people are practically faceless bystanders. Come for the fights and tights, stay for the fascinating evolution of a sympathetic villain. Ages 12–up. Agent: Jodi Reamer, Writers House. (May)
From the Publisher

The details are imaginative and believable, as are the social interactions at school and in Danny's home. This is a nifty book to pair with discussions about race and class, and a few direct references to Nazis also make it potentially useful for history connections."—Booklist


Moore ably keeps this novel from becoming simply social commentary by allowing Danny, a kid far more concerned with his new love, his future, and his newly found wulf strength than what he might represent in larger society, to narrate his own transformative experience."—The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books


Moore tackles important issues such as self-esteem, prejudice/discrimination, loyalty, and acceptance, all woven into a teen paranormal adventure drama Fans of the genre will enjoy this different spin on the supernatural."—School Library Journal

VOYA, June 2014 (Vol. 37, No. 2) - Walter Hogan
In a near-future United States, adolescents with extreme talents, such as flying and superhuman fighting strength, attend the Monroe Academy for Powered Teens. Younger siblings of these heroes-in-training, who apparently lack superpowers themselves, can also attend, but they are placed in the academy’s “A-program” for the ungifted. Because his brother, Blake Baron, is a famous alum, now known as the superhero Artillery, sixteen-year-old Brad was initially accepted in the superhero track. But after he is flattened and nearly killed by a superpowered classmate, and has shown no promise of developing any heroic abilities of his own, Brad is demoted to the A-program. As related in the first-person by Brad, after getting over his initial shock and disappointment, he finds a rich underground of fellow rejects and rebels who challenge the prevailing culture of superhero worship. Among the rebels is an attractive girl, Layla, who helps Brad discover that, although he lacks conventional superhero talents like his famous brother, he may have untapped mental powers that are just as potent. In the style of superhero comics, graphic novels, and movies, this story is thin on literary qualities such as character development and buildup of an authentic setting. Its science fiction premise of extreme genetic engineering of humans is flimsy, but the novel does succeed as a parable of rebellion against dominant values and power structures that minority and underdog teens must negotiate in high school and the wider mainstream culture. Brad becomes an interesting antihero, regarded as a villain by society, but the reader may decide otherwise. Reviewer: Walter Hogan; Ages 11 to 18.
Kirkus Reviews
Being the nonpowered brother of a superhero could turn any good kid bad. Sixteen-year-old Brad Baron attends Monroe Academy for Powered Teens with the powerful children and siblings of other superheroes. Having no powers makes this a dangerous proposition, especially in Physical Training, a fact made all too clear when Brad is laid up for several weeks with shattered vertebrae. He's moved (involuntarily) to the alternative program, and not only does he make a few friends, but also discovers teachers who aren't jerks or hero-worshippers. However, his big, dumb brother, Blake, aka Artillery of Justice Force, thinks Brad's new friends make him look bad. Blake's attempts at meddling only serve to deepen Brad's anti-hero sentiments. Brad and his friends form an alliance when he finally discovers his own latent telepathy, and they seek out connections in a world where telepathy is illegal. When they make a startling discovery about the origin of superpowers, what should they do with the knowledge? And will they survive any decision they make? Moore's science fantasy takes place in a recognizable world, and young teens will identify with Brad and his cohorts. Well-crafted characters, moral nuance, and a tale with nice, believable twists make this a great addition to the teen-superhero genre. This is superhero fiction done right. (Fantasy. 12 & up)

Product Details

Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.70(w) x 8.40(h) x 1.30(d)
Age Range:
12 - 17 Years

Meet the Author

Peter Moore (petermoorebooks.com) has been fascinated with superheroes since he was old enough to trip over his own cape. (He didn't make a very graceful hero.) After a brief life of crime (he shoplifted some candy and got caught) he decided to devote his energy to the forces of good. Lacking super-strength, he took to working out and became strong. Lacking super-intelligence, he studied hard in high school and read a lot, which enabled him to attend Vassar College and Columbia University. Lacking superior fighting skills, he trained in boxing and Goju-Ryu karate. Finding job opportunities for aspiring heroes to be scarce, he instead has worked as a screenwriter, college professor, English teacher, film teacher, and guidance counselor. He lives with his wife and two kids in an undisclosed headquarters somewhere in New York state where he allegedly works on his writing. This is his fourth book for young adults. He strongly denies allegations that any character in this book is based on him.

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V is for Villain 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
chapterxchapter More than 1 year ago
V is For Villain is a novel that I have been waiting for ever since I first saw it on Goodreads. I’m a huge fan of comics and everything that comes with them. The heroes and villains. The spandex costumes. The unrealistic body proportions and the storylines (both the good and the bad). V is For Villain takes all of the elements that make up modern comic books, their heroes and the like and throws them into a world where superheroes, supervillains and superpowers are all very real and relatively normal. Brad Baron is the son to the deceased Artillery I and the younger brother to Blake Baron who has taken up the mantle as Artillery II. Brad’s brother is everything a superhero should be. Strong. Handsome. Charismatic and powerful. He’s almost perfect and he is the bane of Brad’s existence. Brad is normal or at least as normal as it gets in this world. Attending a high school filled with powered students and teachers, he sticks out like a sore thumb. Which is what gets him thrown into a program meant for students with meager powers or none at all. This is where Brad meets Layla, a girl with a highly illegal power, and her friends. Through them, Brad begins to think about the world in an entirely new way. Heroes might not be as good as everybody thinks they might be. Especially with their slaughtering their enemies and all the casualties and collateral damage that comes with their heroics. Unearthing the powers inside of him, Brad decides that maybe the only way to do anything really good in this world is by becoming someone bad. Reading V is For Villain was a really fun experience. Brad’s personality is realistic and will speak to a lot of teen readers who fell out of place in their lives. He’s normal. He doesn’t compare to his older brother. He can barely do much of anything until he decides that he’s totally able to and takes up the identity of a villain and utilizes his abilities. Being inside of Brad’s head is a fun experience and does make you question the lines between good and evil. V is For Villain shows that everything is grey and not just black and white. I never imagined that I would be reading a novel where I would actually be cheering on the “bad guy”. The world that Peter Moore has built in V is For Villain is one that readers will quickly get caught up in. This is a version of all those worlds built up in comic books but with actual explanations behind crazy things like skin-tight armor that somehow manages to make you still look attractive, the genetics behind superpowers and so many other things (read the book there are a lot more). Despite this being about as fictional a world as it gets it still felt very realistic and I wasn’t left squinting and wondering how certain parts of it worked. V is For Villain is written in a journal format and has a lot of juicy additions like newspaper articles and quotations from interviews—which is great. But I’m very curious about the way that the novel ends. So many things are left open-ended and I really need to know what happens next (if anything). I sincerely hope that we get some further looks into Brad’s life as a villain because just when things started to get really good the novel reached its conclusion. I would recommend V is For Villain to readers who are big fans of comic verses and the Marvel films (because come on those have been great). Readers who want a coming-of-age novel that incorporates action and superpowers will love V is For Villain. And finally, any readers who want a novel about dark family secrets, darker powers and a sibling feud should definitely give this novel a read.
BooksAplenty More than 1 year ago
3.5 stars Brad's famous brother, Blake, is a superhero, but Brad doesn't have any awesome powers like strength or flight. Brad's only power is that he's really smart. Someday, he'd like those awesome powers to appear - then he can destroy villains like his father and brother. But Brad's newest friends have different ideas about who the real heroes are. And Brad might not be as under-powered as he thinks. V is for Villain is a fast-paced superhero novel. It has many tropes of the genre, so that makes it fairly predictable, especially in the beginning when Brad is feeling terrible about himself and his lack of appropriate powers. I enjoyed how V is for Villain delved into how these superheroes came to be. Much like the X-Men, there's quite a lot of talk about genetics, DNA, and computer programs. However, one thing sets this book apart from others like it: The protagonist is actually a bit of an anti-hero. Peter Moore does a terrific job of transitioning the reader toward a stance that almost takes pity on the villains, and sees arrogance in the heroes. As Brad begins to ally himself with "the enemy," we're not so sure that's the wrong decision. Moore really embraces fuzzy morals, and that makes V is for Villain quite intriguing. The thing that brings this book down for me, other than some of the cliche teen elements, is that the world of the book was pretty underdeveloped. Since it was told from inside the elite world of superheroes, a lot of explanation was missing. For instance, it wasn't really clear how the Heroes interact with "Regulars."
WanderlustTurtle More than 1 year ago
V is for Villain is an exceptionally written book that uses a good deal of motifs and themes that make the reader think. Although this book is targeted mostly for teenagers, I certainly enjoyed reading it. It included a lot of relatable subjects such as bullying and feeling isolated from people and combines it with superheroes ,and let's not forget villains. It really shocked me to see how in depth the author went with his characterization of Brad ,and the dialogue was sarcastically hilarious between Brad and his brother. Defiantly a good, fast read and recommended for any superhero/villain lover out there.