You know the story. A socially awkward teen gets exposed to gamma rays, or bitten by something radioactive or finds a magical artifact and suddenly becomes the possessor of awesome superpowers. These powers give him the confidence to stand up to bullies, earn him the admiration of his peers and probably win him a shot with that girl he always dreamed of dating. Obviously not all superpower tales go this way, but many do. What is really interesting about these stories, at least to me, is how the hero adjusts to his new found abilities. Does he use them responsibly? Does he take revenge on those who have hurt him? Does he go over to the dark side? Here are three books in which young men are presented with these questions and must decide how to answer.
Hidden Talents by David Lubar
As Martin gets to know his friends at the alternative school better, he suspects that there is more to them than meets the eye. He discovers that they all have psychic powers and goes about teaching them how to use these powers. After the boys gain control over their abilities they realize that they actually enjoy being at the school together, so when the resident bully plans to get it shut down, it becomes their mission to thwart him. This is a very good book that I would recommend to anyone who enjoyed Holes.
iBoy by Kevin Brooks
This book wins the award for silliest premise of the year, which is by no means a bad thing coming from me. Tom is hit in the head by an iPhone dropped from a tall building and knocked unconscious. When he wakes up, he discovers that pieces of the phone have become lodged in his brain and that he has the ability to access all kinds of electronic data as well as create an electric barrier around his skin. Once he has mastered these powers, he decides to go after the gang members who brutally raped his love interest. (While the premise may be silly the content of the book certainly is not.)
Michael Vey: The Prisoner of Cell 25 by Richard Paul Evans
Michael, a ninth grader with Tourette’s, has a secret: he can shock people with electricity. He’s able to keep this under wraps until he discovers a cheerleader at his school has the same power. Along with one of his friends, they set out in search of the source of these powers. That’s when a big, bad, secret organization makes its appearance and things really take off. I’m not a big fan of multiple narration styles in a book (one is first person, one is third), but this one is good enough that it can be overlooked. Recommended to fans of the Percy Jackson series.
Enjoy the beginning of spring everyone. I’ll see you next month when the topic will be TIME TRAVEL. I bet at least one of the selections will have someone going back to fight the Nazis. At least that’s what I would do if I could time travel.