Kid Normal and the Rogue Heroes
“a rollicking adventure, part misfit superhero story, part humorous friendship tale . . .”
Kid Normal and the Rogue Heroes is the sequel to Kid Normal, a rollicking adventure that's part misfit superhero story, part humorous friendship tale, with art thrown in Diary of Wimpy Kid fashion. The authorial asides are reminiscent of the Series of Unfortunate Events, though not as much a feature of the narrative as in those books where the narrator's voice shaped the story.
Some examples to give a sense of the flavor:
“When your boss tells you not to worry and then immediately compliments you, this is an even larger sign that your world is about to implode.”
“At that moment Mr. Souperman strode purposefully into the hall, waving an unnecessary hand for silence. (His hand in general wasn't unnecessary—he found it useful on an almost daily basis. But the wave wasn't necessary, because Mrs. Fletcher had already silenced the room. Look, we're getting bogged down here. Let's close these parentheses and move on, shall we?)”
Some of this commentary works better than others. The humor can feel strained and the action slowed down with too little payoff, but readers who enjoy this kind of thing will be big fans of the book.
The action keeps the story moving as Murph, the leader of the a kid-superhero group, leads his gang against a truly scary supervillain. What makes this story—and series— unique is that Murph, though the leader, is the one kid with no super-power (hence, he's called the Kid Normal of the title). That being normal can be a superpower itself is a nice message and the dynamic between all the heroes works well. There's a mix of girls and boys, each of whom has an odd talent that's not your ordinary superpower. No X-ray vision or mega-strength, though one girl can fly using a Mary-Poppins-like umbrella. Actually, she can fly without it, but uses the umbrella because it looks better.
Readers hungry to read something after they've devoured all the Wimpy Kid books will love this series. And for those too young to launch into Harry Potter, Kid Normal offers a different kind of magical school (really a superhero school). What the book lacks in complicated plotting, it makes up for in humor and brisk pacing.