Friday, May 4, 2012


Archvillain (Archvillain #1)
Barry Lyga
Scholastic, 2010
$16.99, Hardcover
April 2nd, 2012

Genre: Adventure, Humor
Age: 9+
Description: One night while on the school’s football field preparing for a great prank, 12-year-old Kyle Camden is knocked out by a plasma shower from a meteorite explosion above the school. When he awakens, he stumbles home and is severely sick for many days. When he begins to recover, he discovers his normal genius skills are even more enhanced, he feels no pain, he can run really fast, appears to be super strong, and best of all he can fly! Kyle’s turned into a superhero! Using his brain, he deduces that it must have been a side effect of being so close to the plasma shower. Soon, however, a mysterious boy, called Mike, appears all over the news—he was found on the football field too, can’t remember who he is, and is apparently showing some odd powers. Soon everyone is calling him Mighty Mike and as Kyle slowly gets his memories back of that night he begins to remember that Mike is actually an alien and he saw he walk out of the plasma shower. He’s sure Mighty Mike wants to take over the world so Kyle does what he needs to do—he becomes the Azure Avenger. Unfortunately, his first plan to defeat and expose the real Mike to everyone (at a parade for Mike he plans to use his Pants Laser to make Mike’s pants disappear and embarrass him) goes haywire resulting in the destruction of the town square and gaining him the nickname of “Blue Freak” and the status of Mighty Mike’s archvillain! When the football field where the plasma shower occurred starts to actually grow and come alive and takes his best friend hostage, Kyle creates a contraption that will suck the radiation out of the earth but not before Mighty Mike blames the whole incident on him, appears to save the day (even though it was Kyle’s device that did it), and takes all the credit. Will Kyle ever be able to expose Mighty Mike for the alien he really is?
Opinion: This is a fun, entertaining take on a young superhero that is truly misunderstood (everyone thinks he’s the villain!). Kyle, as a character, is super smart but is also really self-centered. Mighty Mike acts really charming and shows no real signs of being evil but Kyle is convinced he must have some dastardly plot because he is an alien and that’s what aliens do. Kyle’s frustrations at being mistaken for the villain are quite real (not in his mind) and absolutely hilarious. Sadly, the book ends on a total cliffhanger so readers have to wait for the sequel, which made me a little sad because I thought this was a stand alone title (since it was published in 2010).

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