SciFi Book Review: School for Sidekicks

School for Sidekicks by Kelly McCullough

Evan Quick has spent his whole life dreaming of becoming a hero. Every morning he wakes up and runs through a checklist of test to see if he’s developed powers over night, and every day it is the same thing – nothing. No flying, no super strength, no heat rays or cold beams. No invulnerability – that always hurt to check – no telepathy, no magic. Not even the ability to light a light bulb without flipping a switch. And now, he’s finally ready to give up.

But then, the class field trip to the Mask Museum is interrupted by a super villain attack, and Evan somehow manages to survive a death ray. Even better, Evan’s favorite Mask, Captain Commanding, shows up to save them all — and when things go very wrong, it’s Evan who finds the strength to come to Captain Commanding’s rescue.

Yet the hero’s reception Evan is expecting never happens. Before he even gets the chance to say hello, Evan is bundled away to The Academy, an institution derisively called The School for Sidekicks by its students. Forced to take classes like Banter Basics and Combat with Dinnerware, while being assigned as an ‘apprentice’ to Foxman – a Mask widely considered a has-been — Evan starts to worry that he’ll never be able to save the day‚Ķ

Evan Quick loves superheroes and hopes to be one so badly that he checks each morning to see if he has developed powers. I thoroughly enjoyed this, as I remember reading The Girl With the Silver Eyes as a young girl and occasionally checking to see if I could move things with my mind. No luck. But Evan suddenly receives powers and actually saves his hero’s life during an attack. But his hero isn’t everything he thought.

School for Sidekicks is a fun and fantastic book for young X-Men fans. There is plenty of humor, mystery, intrigue, fun characters, codenames, and action. I had a good laugh at one of Evan’s classmates nicknamed Speedslick, which of course reminded me Speedstick. And some not-so-scary heroes and villains named after fluffy creatures were pretty funny too. I’m hoping this release gets a series, but it works well as a standalone too. The excitement builds to a big finale that doesn’t disappoint.