Parents' Choice Foundation: Reviewing Children's Media Since 1978

Geeks, Girls, and Secret Identities

Geeks, Girls, and Secret Identities

Fall 2012 Fiction
Ages: 8 - 12 yrs.
Author: Mike Jung
Illustrator: Mike Maihack
Publisher: Scholastic
ISBN: 9780545392518
Hardcover Price: $16.99

Vincent Wu is the 12-year-old president of the Captain Stupendous Fan Club. It's just him and his two friends, George and Max, but they know everything there is to know about Copperplate City's resident superhero.

They conduct meetings, talk about girls, trade notes on the other fan clubs and race to battle scenes to cheer their hero on against monstrous robots and other super threats. It's all pretty run-of-the-mill, until Captain Stupendous starts acting really weird. And then Vincent's secret crush, Polly, starts acting weird, too.

It's a far-fetched and fun story and Mike Jung seems to have had a ball writing it. He plays with, and pays homage to, all of the elements of classic superhero stories from Superman to Mr. Incredible. The action is swift, the thrills are big, and the smashes and crashes and reveals are exciting. Behind the superhero scenes, though, lies the ordinary angst of middle school-things like bullies, girls and popularity. Vincent also has his parents divorce to contend with, which includes a father who's remote and awkward and a mother who dates.

Like any good hero story, everyone pulls together when there's trouble-in this case a formidable nemesis who might finally do Captain Stupendous in. The kids are courageous, the adults are bumbling with good intentions, and Polly gives readers a strong heroine to root for. This catchy title promises a lot and doesn't disappoint.

Teresa DiFalco   ©2012 Parents' Choice
Teresa DiFalco is an award-winning ghostwriter, writer, and mother in Vancouver, Washington. She's been a contributing editor for Parents' Choice for over ten years. She's a strong speller, a menace at badminton, and makes a decent soufflé.

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