Thursday, October 16, 2014

Thursentary: Almost Super by Marion Jensen

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I won Almost Super by Marion Jensen from the Go Teen Writers giveaway, and it was good. So guess what? I’m gonna review it!

(Also, it is good manners to review books you received for free, if you were not aware.)

I have also decided to move my star rating to the top of the review instead of the bottom, so if there is a spoilers review (although this one isn’t) you can know the simple bits without reading my critical flair.

Star Rating: 4/5
Because: humor, sibling action, family action, identifiable characters, girls could play too, older characters, bad guy, good story

The Rundown (via Goodreads)
via Goodreads

“Each leap year, on February 29th, at 4:23 p.m., every member of the Bailey family over the age of twelve gets a superpower. No one knows why, and no one questions it. All the Baileys know is that it's their duty to protect the world from those evil, supervillainous Johnsons.

Today, Rafter Bailey and his brother Benny are finally going to get their superpowers. Benny wants to be a speedy, and Rafter hopes he gets super strength so he can save the day just like his grandfather. But when their powers arrive, they are, well, duds. Rafter can light matches on polyester, and Benny can turn his innie belly button into an outie.

Suddenly Rafter and Benny's world is turned upside down. Especially when they realize that Juanita Johnson, the villain in Rafter's algebra class, thinks that her family are the superheroes and the Baileys are the villains.

What if everything Rafter thought he knew about superheroes turns out to be a lie? He may not have an awesome power, but with the help of Benny and an unexpected friend, he could just be almost super.”

Spekalation: My First Thoughts (Top 8 Edition)
[We’re going for no spoilers this time, but read at your own risk.]

1. humor :: it’s supposed to be a funny book, so don’t look so surprised. Still, my favorite memory while reading this book was describing the silly super powers to my family at the dinner table—they were laughing, and they hadn’t even read the story!

2. sibling action :: now that I think about it, of the 60+ books on my favorites shelf, approximately 6 have siblings who play important roles in the story—everyone else is an only child and/or an orphan. (That sounds a little depressing, doesn’t it?) It’s nice to see Rodney, Rafter, and Benny romping around, and not being too much in conflict with one another—sure, they pester each other, but for the most part, they’re a normal family… but with superpowers.

3. family action :: again, I read lots of books about people with absent or dead families. It was a nice change to see a talented family get a chance for some action. And, for the record, the intrafamilial respect for their powers was sweet.

4. identifiable characters :: despite the fact that I’m long out of middle school (thank goodness) I really identified with Rafter. He really wants to have strength—not just physical, but the kind that can bring calm to a restless family. That’s the kind of kid I can admire.

5. girls could play too :: Juanita is the third of the main trio, which is a little standard where girls are concerned (Percy Jackson, Harry Potter, etc.), but that isn’t really the cool part. Superhero stories usually have an awful lot of guys, but in this book, there are moms and grandmas and cousins and friends who get in on the action too. (Admittedly, there were more guys than girls, but still. Batman knows like, three girls total.)

6. older characters :: it’s a little bit interesting that Nick Fury is pretty much the only old guy in Avengers. Also, it’s a little bit interesting that people like to write about orphans. This isn’t that kind of book, fortunately, so there’s a little bit of adult wisdom at the kids’ disposal. Fascinating.

7. bad guy :: as I hope you’ve figured out by now, I do so love the bad guys. And the bad guy (I’m not gonna tell you who it is, because you can have your own fun figuring it out) is a doozy, as these stories go. (Of course, he isn’t dapper, dashing, romantic, or sleek, which are my favorite, but I suppose I’ll just have to do without.)

8. good story :: I was not bored, and I would read it again. Information was revealed at a good pace, I felt like there was good characterization, and the storyworld made sense. Which is totally boring of me to say but I thought it might help.

I have a funny story. I got a bunch of coupons in the box the book came in, and with it came a $160 voucher for a wine casket thing—which is funny, because this book is intended for elementary schoolers and middle schoolers. (It is illegal for them to buy wine, if you aren’t getting why it amuses me.)

It is a shiny voucher, though, so it is safely tucked inside the book for safekeeping.

Anyway! The book says it is for kids 8-12 and I’m not going to argue with the packaging, but I will say that if the norm revolves around superheroes, dealing-without-powers, and brainy kids, you might just want to give it a read.

Have you read Almost Super? What was your favorite silly power? If you haven’t, do you think this is a book you may want to read?


  1. This is a great review heather! One of the bests I've seen:) I love how you categorize your thoughts in different sections!:) Seems like such an interesting book to read, I've gotta hunt it down haha:)
    The Journeys of My Beating Heart

    1. What can I say? Lists are my favorite way to share my thoughts, even in book reviews! But if you do end up reading it, be sure to let me know what you think!


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