cover image Sidekicks


Jack D. Ferraiolo. Abrams/Amulet, $16.95 (320p) ISBN 978-0-8109-9803-2

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)