Book Cover

A congenitally blind boy discovers
that he’s a superhero.

When his dad took him aside for “the
talk” when he was 12, wisecracking Phillip expected a humiliating lecture on
sex. Instead, he learned that, like everyone else in their small town, he’s a “custodian”:
a superhero. Phillip has inherited telekinesis, which his blindness
complicates. Relegated to the special education class at Freepoint High School,
Phillip befriends Henry, an overweight, telepathic wheelchair user; Bentley,
who has cerebral palsy and a hypersmart mind; Freddie, whose asthma hampers his
power of gigantism; and James, also blind, who teleports. When a mysterious
villain appears, the friends—dubbing themselves “the Ables”—must combine their
skills to save the town. Scott’s debut squanders an intriguing premise in a
cliché-riddled plot; fans of superhero fare will guess twists long before they’re
revealed. Preachy, expository dialogue and Phillip’s summary-laden narration slow
the pace, and weak character development renders even tragedy flat. Despite the
(mostly) realistic portrayal of Phillip’s blindness, stale disability tropes
abound, including disability-negating superpowers, Phillip’s “fantastic
hearing,” and the glaringly infantilizing portrayal of a teen with Down
syndrome as a “big teddy bear” with “the mind of a
young child in the body of a grown man.” Most characters are assumed white;
Henry is black. Occasional line drawings illustrate the text.

For an action-packed superhero tale sans
egregious stereotyping, skip this and stick with Rick Riordan’s The
Lightning Thief
(2005). (Fantasy. 12-15)

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