Middle school students have reading interests that run the gamut from Diary of a Wimpy Kid to Twilight. Sometimes as a parent it is hard to know what is age appropriate for your child. Through this blog, I will try to help parents make informed decisions about what is available in our library. I am hoping that this blog will be a resource for our parents, and that we can all work together to make our students life-long readers!

Thursday, April 7, 2016


by Tera Lynn Childs
From the publisher:
"Kenna is tired of being "normal". The only thing special about her is that she isn't special at all. Which is frustrating in a world of absolutes. Villains, like the one who killed her father, are bad. Heroes, like her mother and best friend, are good. And Kenna, unlike everyone else around her, is completely ordinary— which she hates.

She’s secretly working on an experiment that will land her a place among the Heroes, but when a Villain saves her life during a break-in at her lab, Kenna discovers there’s a whole lot of gray area when it comes to good and evil and who she can trust.. After all…not all strength comes from superpowers."

While I enjoyed the plot and characters in this book, I was very surprised and disappointed by all of the bad language in it. I have 3 different series by this author in our library and they are all really clean reads (as far as I know). When I was researching this book, I saw that Booklist had recommended it for grades 9-12 and I thought that was weird because it was Tera Lynn Childs, for heaven's sake! So I ignored Booklist and went with the other reviewers recommended ages (listed below). I'm still glad I got it for our library, but I won't recommend it as much as I would have without all the language. 

Setting the language aside, this book was an exciting ride! It started out with a bang and just kept going. I liked that the main character was "powerless" in a superhero world, but still spunky and able to take care of herself. The secondary characters were exciting and likable. I loved the superhero/villain plot. I know it has been done many times now, but it is still fun. It's actually hard to review this without giving too many things away, but I enjoyed a lot of things about it and it definitely kept my interest from the first page. It checked off several of my YA lit pet peeve boxes, but somehow I still liked it. (Predictability, insta-love, teenagers good - all adults bad...) There is quite a bit of humor in this book. I love the descriptions of Riley, the best friend's brother. He is portrayed as a blonde nitwit with a Superman complex. His superpower is flying and he wears a cape everywhere - but he swears it's just a coat. I could picture him so clearly with his perfectly coiffed hair and his ridiculously straight posture. Kind of a Dudley Do Right with a cape instead of a Mountie hat. It is nice to have that comic relief in it as there are some seriously villainous activities going on throughout. When you finish the book, you should go back and read the preface over again. It will make much more sense. As per usual with YA lit these days, it leaves you with a big cliff-hanger. Let's hope there is no middle-book slump with the next one. 

Areas of concern:
*At least 70 uses of cuss words - the most prevalent being the *s* word used around 30 times. The *f* word is only used in an acronym. There are also a few vulgar British-isms.
*There is a fair amount of violence with a scene of disturbing torture - but it wasn't very graphic.
*A couple instances of pretty intense kissing. 

Suggested Ages:
Booklist - Grades 9-12
Kirkus Reviews - Ages 12-15
School Library Journal - Grades 7-10

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