Mayhem and Madness: Chronicles of a Teenaged Supervillain

Holiday House. Aug. 2019. 304p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9780823442553.
Gr 6-10–In a typical suburban town, on an average street, in a boring house, one boy makes a discovery that changes his life forever. In a secret cave built 20 feet below his house, Bailey discovers an armored suit that can fly and launch rockets and is resistant to pretty much any outside threat. His first conclusion is that this is the link to his missing father. Could his dad be Mayhem, the supervillain who robbed from the rich and gave to the poor? The “mechanical monster” who has not been sighted in years? In this action/adventure novel, one teen sets out to master the art of being a supervillain in hopes of finding his long-lost father. While the overall plot will entice hi-lo superhero fans and adventure enthusiasts, the underdeveloped characters, confusing time line, and weak story line will fall short of sustaining reader interest. The protagonist is launched into a conflict before readers get even a glimpse at his persona. The author attempts to add characterization by peppering descriptions throughout the story at inopportune times. The confusing time line is attributed to chapters that flip-flop between time periods. Chapters move from “Now” to “2 Months Ago” to “6 Weeks Ago” to “2 ½ months Ago” and back again. The organization could frustrate even advanced bibliophiles. The narrative is packed with detailed, lengthy action scenes and little plot.
VERDICT Seek other options for your hi-lo superhero fans.

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