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Luke Parker was just your average comic book fan until his boring, teacher’s pet, helps-old-ladies-across-the-street brother Zack got turned into a superhero. Luke can’t believe the unfairness of it all—he’s the one with the encyclopedic knowledge of everything from Ant-Man to Wolverine! At least he can help Zack—aka Star Guy—with all the important parts of becoming a superhero, like using his newfound powers and deciding whether or not to wear a cape. But when Star Guy gets into super-size trouble, it’s up to Luke—and his intrepid neighbor, Lara—to rescue his big brother and, with a little luck, help him save the world.
* “A non-stop action-packed, laugh-out-loud winner of a story.” —School Library Journal, starred review
“A loving tribute to the genre consumed with capes, masks, supervillains, and great responsibility.” —Kirkus Reviews
"Readers will enjoy the deadpan narration that reveals the unexpected difficulties of being a modern-day superhero.” —Publishers Weekly
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About the Author
Read an Excerpt
My brother is a superhero, and I could have been one too, except that I needed to go pee.
My name is Luke Parker. I’m eleven years old, and I live in a mild-mannered part of the city with my mom, dad, and big brother, Zack. He wasn’t always a superhero, but with a name like Zack you’ve got to wonder if my parents had a hunch that one day he’d end up wearing a mask and cape and saving orphans from burning buildings. I mean, come on! It’s not a name; it’s a sound effect. It’s what you get in a comic when a superhero punches a supervillain. Pow! Blam! Zack!
It seems to me that in life you are faced with clear-cut moments when things could go one way or another. Vanilla or chocolate. Smooth or crunchy. Drop the water balloon on Dad’s head, or hold your fire. It’s up to you which choice to make, and sometimes all it takes to change the way your whole life turns out are four little words.
“I need to pee.”
It was the fateful evening. Zack and I had been in our tree house for about an hour, and I was bursting. I was reading an old issue of Teen Titans by flashlight, Zack was doing his math homework. He’s always been a bit of a teacher’s pet. Before he became Star Guy, at school he was star boy.
“Then go,” he said, solving another quadratic equation with a flick of his pencil. “I’m not stopping you.”
The truth was I didn’t want to go down the rope ladder in the dark. It had been hard enough climbing up it in the first place. It’s not that I’m out of shape or anything, but put it like this: you won’t ever see me on an Olympic podium. I suffer from hay fever and have funny-shaped feet that mean I have to wear these things in my shoes called “orthotics.” When Mom first told me I needed them, I was excited. I thought they sounded like supersoldier power armor, but when they finally arrived they turned out to be bendy, foot-shaped supports and not a cybernetic exoskeleton suit. That was a disappointing Thursday.
I hung my head out of the tree house door. “Maybe I could just pee from here?”
“Out! Get out of here, you disgusting child!”
Zack is only three years older than me, but when I’ve done something to annoy him he calls me a child. Of all the things I can’t stand about my big brother, being called a child is number forty-seven. Not that I have a list.
OK. I do have a list.
Even before he became a superhero, the list was up to sixty-three. Now it’s almost at a hundred. He is very irritating.
I climbed down the rope ladder and went into the house.
When I returned to the tree house a few minutes later, Zack was sitting there silently in the dark. I knew something was up because he’d stopped doing his homework. I grabbed my flashlight and leveled the beam in his face. He didn’t even blink.
“Zack, are you all right?”
“Are you sure? You look . . . different.”
He nodded again, very slowly, like he was working out some complicated thought in his head. Then he said in a croaky voice, “I think . . . something amazing just happened to me. Luke, I’ve changed.”
Now, this didn’t come as a great surprise. About six months before, Dad had taken me aside for what he called a man-to-man chat. We sat in his shed—I think that’s because it’s the most manly room we have—and Dad explained that from now on I might notice some changes in my big brother.
“Zack’s embarking on a great journey,” said Dad.
“Great! When’s he leaving? Can I have his room?”
“Not that kind of journey,” said Dad with a weary sigh. “He’s going through something called puberty,” he went on. “His voice will be different, for instance.”
“Ooh, will he sound like a Dalek?”
“No, not like a Dalek.
“And he will become hairier.”
“Ooh, like a werewolf?!”
“No, not like a werewolf.”
This puberty deal didn’t seem up to much. There was other stuff, to do with privacy and girls, but to be honest, after the letdown about the Dalek and the werewolf I stopped taking it in.
So, when Zack told me in the tree house that something had changed, I knew exactly what to say. I pursed my lips and gave a serious nod like I’d seen the doctor do when he told me I had strep throat. “I’m afraid that you have caught puberty.”
He ignored me and stared at his hands, turning them over and over. “I think I have superpowers.”