I was excited to read Almost Super because I had read favorable reviews and it has a great premise: superhero family battling super villain family (although usually no one gets hurt because he superhero code is to defeat the villains–not injure or kill them) over generations. Then the newest generation (including our main character,Rafter Bailey) receives their powers…and they are “worthless.” Hoping for super strength or speed the youngest generation receives abilities to unclog toilets and change a bellybutton from an inny to an outie.
The underlying message is, of course, that one can be “super” without super powers. Rafter, his brother Benny and Juanita Johnson–of the dreaded super villain family–come together in a way that is both radical and frightening for their parents and grandparents.
There are parts of the book that zoom forward and live up to the possibilities for adventure, humor and storytelling but there are also too many other pages where the dialogue and plot development plod along at an incredibly slow pace. I was usually two to three plot points ahead of the story. I don’t mind predictability as long as the journey is interesting and well-crafted. Unfortunately that is not the case in Almost Super. My guess is that young readers ages 8-10 will enjoy this one the most. Almost Super tries really hard to live up to its potential, has some good moments, but ultimately fails to do so.
If you are truly interested in these types of themes I recommend the N.E.R.D.S. series by Michael Buckley, The Girl Who Could Fly by Victoria Forester or The Great Cape Rescue by Phyllis Shalant