Avery’s got a secret and he doesn’t know how to live with it. Why is this happening to him? How can he control it? What can he do with it? Can he be the only one to have it?
It, in Sarah Cross’ smart, quick, and fun first novel, Dull Boy, is superpowers. In Avery’s case, super strength and the ability to fly. He prowls around his town trying to find people to help (he’s got a complex about putting his gift to good use); tries to stay under the radar so he doesn’t end up in a test lab; and attempts to figure out why & how these powers have started changing his body and his life.
Soon he lands in a high school for at risk kids (his strength looks a lot like vandalism run amok) and there he connects with a seemingly odd-ball group of teens: genius but ultra dorky Darla; sexy and artistic Sophie: brooding Nicholas; ultra-suave and secretive Jacques; and most illusive of all, angry Catherine. As their friendships develop, they start to learn about their powers and each other in the face of everyday teen struggles and a more menacing one in the form of a too-good-to-be-true “family” of kids just like them, mentored by the secretive and persuasive super-powered adult, Cherchette.
Having just seen XMen: Origins last night, Dull Boy was a perfect read today. Dull Boy’s foundation mixes elements from XMen, Sky High, the early (and best) days of Smallville, Hancock, Mystery Men, Heroes and other comic/superhero stories (my favorite is when Darla channels the villians from Scooby Doo: “You would’ve gotten away with it if it wasn’t for us meddling kids”). Cross delivers an action-packed thrill ride with likeable characters, the right balance of plausibility and fantasy, and a keen understanding of the struggles teens have to fit in and make sense of the world around them.
- Posted by Cori