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by Matthew Cody

Book list When 12-year-old Daniel's family moves to Noble's Green, Pennsylvania, to be with his dying grandmother, new neighbor Mollie introduces him to her oddly assorted friends. He soon learns they all have superpowers. In fact, for 70 years talented kids have been responsible for the pattern of rescues that has allowed Noble's Green to call itself the safest town on earth. But what does it mean to be a hero? Although he can't fly or become invisible, Daniel is a pretty good detective, and he gets caught up in helping his new friends avoid losing their powers when they turn 13, as has been the pattern. A nearly complete set of 1940s superhero comics and some original drawings play an important role as the comic-book villain and hero both seem to have come to life. This first novel has an intriguing premise, appealing characters, and a straightforward narrative arc with plenty of action as well as some serious moments. A mystery and adventure treat for middle-school boys, who will clamor for a sequel.--Isaacs, Kathleen Copyright 2009 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright American Library Association. Used with permission.

School Library Journal Gr 5-7-Noble's Green is the "safest place on Earth." At least that's what the sign says when 12-year-old Daniel and his family move there to live with his cancer-stricken grandmother. His neighbor, Mollie, and her friends soon become his friends, and he discovers that they all have superpowers that many of them use to protect their town. Although Daniel doesn't have a superpower, he is very smart and loves detective stories like Sherlock Holmes, which come into play as he works to discover why the children have these powers, and why they lose them upon reaching their 13th birthday. A fire in an old orphanage, a meteor strike, a scary abandoned quarry, a comic book hero from the 1940s named Johnny Noble, and a villain in disguise all play a part in the mystery's solution. Matthew Cody's novel (Knopf, 2009) is narrated by Gary Dikeos. He provides a unique voice for each of the main characters, and his pacing and tone convey the excitement of this celebration of comic books and the true meaning of a hero from the tale's beginning through the inevitable battle between good and evil in the final chapters. A good choice for reluctant readers.-Ann Brownson, Ballenger Teachers Center, Booth Library, Eastern Illinois University, Charleston (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Kirkus Resembling a Golden Age comic without the pictures, this tale pits a group of small-town children with superpowerscall them "preteen titans"against a shadowy menace that robs them of those powers on their 13th birthdays. Coming to town with his family to care for his dying grandma, Daniel quickly spots his neighbor Mollie and her friends performing incredible feats. Soon he's in their confidence, as they demonstrate combinations of super-speed, super-strength, enhanced senses and the ability to turn invisible. All of them can also hear the clock ticking, however. Gifted not with superpowers but a sharp mind and a fondness for Sherlock Holmes stories, Daniel sets out to discover how and why his new friends, like generations of their predecessors, are being robbed of their abilities. Where those abilities come from never enters in, but the obligatory wily supervillain does, leading to a titanic climactic battle. Cody wears his influences on his sleeve, but has some fun with them (one lad's "power" is a super-stench) and crafts a tribute that, unlike M.T. Anderson's Whales On Stilts (2005), is more admiring than silly. (Fantasy. 10-12) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Publishers Weekly In a wholly satisfying debut, Cody tackles themes of heroism, sacrifice and coming-of-age, as played out in a comic book-inspired good vs. evil scenario. Soon after arriving in the small town of Noble's Green, Pa., where his family has moved to take care of his ailing grandmother, 12-year-old Daniel Corrigan discovers the existence of real-life superheroes. In this town, certain kids develop superpowers, which they use in secret to perform good deeds (for the most part). One catch: as soon as they turn 13, their powers and all related memories vanish. As Daniel forges a friendship with these extraordinary youths, he uses good old-fashioned investigative skills rather than superhuman abilities to uncover the secret of their powers' origins and the dark force that has been preying on the town's children for decades. What do comic books from the 1940s, a pulp hero, a burned-down orphanage and a pair of superhuman bullies have to do with the mystery? It all comes together in a tightly woven narrative characterized by a persuasive premise, memorable characters, a bit of intrigue and a sense of wonder. Ages 10-up. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Gr 5-7-When Daniel Corrigan and his family move to Noble's Green, he notices that some of the kids there seem rather odd. After one of them miraculously saves his life, they admit that they have superpowers, but that they come with a price. They will lose them, and all memory of ever having them, when they turn 13. Because Daniel is the only one without these talents who knows about them, it becomes clear that he must find out who or what is sapping his friends' unusual abilities. Eric, their leader, believes that the secret lies in a series of old comics about a superhero named Johnny Noble, but Daniel's investigation reveals a far more sinister and dangerous villain, and the children must somehow defeat this monster. This book is a loving tribute to comic books and superhero stories. It starts out slow, but gradually gains a momentum that leads to a genuinely affecting conclusion. This is definitely a good pick for reluctant readers.-Tim Wadham, St. Louis County Library, MO (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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