“When other guys my age stay up too late on a school night, they’re probably on Xbox Live or finishing some last-minute homework. Right? I’m in the garage with all the lights off, dead-lifting my mom’s car because I don’t have a three-thousand-pound weight set, and hoping she doesn’t notice. Or I’m soaring through the sky, flying under cover of darkness because night is the only time I can risk it. The only time I can really be myself” (Cross, 2009, p.3).
Fifteen-year-old Avery Pirzwick has a secret. He’s suddenly found himself endowed with amazing powers, like super strength and the ability to fly. Keeping his gifts secret, however, hasn’t been easy. Avery can’t always control his abilities and this has gotten him (and his family) into some trouble. He’s eventually sent to an alternative school for troubled youth where he meets other kids like him. Avery and his new friends soon become heroes and attract the attention of the mysterious Cherchette, an adult with superpowers who wants the kids to move in with her…but can she be trusted?
Tweens who enjoy science fiction, fantasy, or superhero comics will love Dull Boy by Sarah Cross! Avery is funny, sarcastic, and true to today’s youth. He’s portrayed as regular fifteen-year-old kid who’s been gifted with extraordinary abilities. Having been given these amazing powers, Avery feels that he “[needs] to do something good with them so [he’s] more than just a destructive force” (Cross, 2009, p.10). I was really impressed with Avery’s sense of responsibility (as we all know, with great power comes great responsibility!), and felt that this sends a positive message to young readers. However, I do feel that Dull Boy might not be appropriate for younger tweens, as Avery’s narration does include some swear words. More mature tweens, though, will be seduced into reading by Cross’s hysterical, exciting novel.
Genre: science fiction/fantasy
Reading/interest level: ages 12 and up
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