Wednesday, July 20, 2011
by Jack Ferraiolo
Batman has Robin, Wonder Woman has Wonder Girl, and Phantom Justice has Bright Boy, a.k.a. Scott Hutchinson, an ordinary schoolkid by day and a superfast, superstrong sidekick by night, fighting loyally next to his hero.
But after an embarrassing incident involving his too-tight spandex costume, plus some signs that Phantom Justice may not be the good guy he pretends to be, Scott begins to question his role. With the help of a fellow sidekick, once his nemesis, Scott must decide if growing up means being loyal or stepping boldly to the center of things. (description from Amazon.com)
Ok, Jack Ferraiolo absolutely cracks me up. I really enjoyed his first book, The Big Splash, a sort-of middle school mob story (see my review here). As in his first novel, Ferraiolo absolutely nails a blend of humor, gritty realism, and startlingly frank questions about people's intentions.
In this novel, that specific feature is even ramped up a notch. When Scott learns Monkeywrench's secret identity, it starts a domino effect, with Scott finding out not only several other secret identities, but learning much more about the people behind each mask. Is every Hero a good guy? Is every Villan truly evil? Scott begins to question the life he thought was so crystal clear.
What makes this book really special, though, is that not only are excellent questions brought up, but Ferraiolo's characters are also inherently funny. I snarfed my way through even the most serious parts and never once felt like I was having to think about right and wrong... I was too busy giggling and rooting for Scott.
I love Jack Ferraiolo's writing style and will absolutely be checking out any books he publishes in the future.