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Young adult book reviews for ages 12 and up - middle school and high school students

* Rise of the Heroes* by Andy Briggs- young adult book review Rise of the Heroes
by Andy Briggs
Ages 12+ 272 pages Walker Books April 2009 Paperback    

When is the last time you read a book that was just pure, rollicking fun? If you can’t remember (or even if you can), treat yourself to Rise of the Heroes.

The premise is this: superpowers are available for download from the Internet. What happens next?

Just such an opportunity comes along for Toby and his sister, Lorna, along with their friends Pete and Emily. The website appears after an electrical storm causes a power surge. The URL is an incomprehensible string of unfamiliar symbols, and the website itself provides only indecipherable icons to go along with the offer of a free superpower download, good for one hour. Toby does just what any of us would do: he clicks. The next thing he knows, he’s crawling around the walls and ceilings like a spider, in full superhero mode.

While his sister and friends are reluctant to join in, Toby soon convinces them to try downloading superpowers for themselves. On their next visit to the website, they discover more information, including a Jobs board where openings for heroes are posted. As it happens, there’s a bank robbery in their town that needs attention. The kids join in what they still believe is some sort of interactive game, but they learn soon enough that they’ve gotten themselves involved in more trouble than they could have imagined. isn’t the only unusual website out there; also exists, and superfiends are clicking away. One of them – Doc Tempest - is responsible for the bank robbery, and he isn’t a bit happy about being thwarted by a bunch of newbie do-gooders. Just when Toby and friends think they’ve beaten the bad guy, they learn that evil doesn’t play by the rules. Before the day is over, Toby’s mom is kidnapped by Doc Tempest, ensuring that Toby and the heroes won’t dare to interfere with his plot to take over the world.

Author Andy Briggs’s experience as a scriptwriter really shows through in this series debut. Characters are fleshed out quickly, the plot follows through on its promise, and the action never stops. Yes, there are a few life lessons involved, like the one about every action having consequences, but that stuff is incorporated without taking away from the excitement. Rise of the Heroes is a great read – imaginative, satisfying, and almost certainly soon to be a hit television series. Share it with your favorite young reader, or get it for your own secret superhero.
Young adult book reviews for ages 12 and up - middle school and high school students

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