Saturday, February 28, 2015
Book Review: Almost Super by Marion Jensen
Author: Marion Jensen
Enjoyment Rating: **** (if I were a ten-year-old)
Source: Library copy
Rafter and Benny Bailey are sure of two things: 1) on the first leap year after their twelfth birthday, they will get a super power (just like everyone else in the Bailey family), and 2) they will use this superpower to fight the Johnsons, the supervillains who live in town. But when February 29th rolls around, Rafter and Benny are disappointed to receive (ahem) underwhelming powers-- Rafter can light matches on polyester and Benny can change his belly button from an innie to an outie. When they return to school, the find an unusual ally in Juanita Johnson, and together they learn that there are bigger fights, manipulations and subterfuges going on than the skirmishes between the Baileys and the Johnsons.
Almost Super is everything a ten-year-old reader would love. It's funny, with plenty of action. But as an adult reader, I appreciated the deeper themes of the novel. Rafter, Benny and Juanita come to realize that there's more in life to being super, and that the way a story has been framed for them their whole lives might only represent a partial truth. They also discover something I think kids might both embrace and fear-- the idea that adults don't have all of the answers. Almost Super was an entertaining read for me, and one that I'm sure my kids will enjoy as well.