The Rise of Renegade X

347p. 978-1-60684-060-3.
Gr 9 Up—Damien Locke lives in an alternate universe inhabited by superheroes, supervillains, and regular people. If you are a hero, a letter H appears on your thumb when you turn 16. If you are a villain, you get a V. On his 16th birthday, Damien gets an X. He is half hero, half villain, the product of a one-night stand between his mad-scientist supervillain mother and superhero father Crimson Flash, otherwise known as Gordon Tines. Gordon is certain that his son will become a full-fledged hero, but the teen is equally certain that he is going to end up a villain, and is counting on admission to Vilmore, the villain academy. While he tries to make life for his father and stepfamily unbearable, Damien's mom is hooking up with the head of Vilmore romantically as well as using her hypno-device to take over the city, and Damien is forced to choose sides. This scenario certainly works as a metaphor for the shades of gray teens have to deal with as they struggle to find their identity. The book is definitely for older teens, as there is a significant semi-explicit focus on Damien's messed-up love life as he tries to reconcile with his villain ex-girlfriend, Kat, while stringing along his new hero love interest, Sarah. This is the YA equivalent of a B movie.—Tim Wadham, St. Louis County Library, MO
Sixteen-year-old supervillain-in-training Damien discovers he's half superhero--and he must spend six weeks with his do-gooder dad. Damien is convinced that his villainy is secure. However, when a plot is uncovered that puts his family and friends in danger, it's Damien who saves the day. The creative premise and action-packed story line, anchored by Damien's smart-alecky voice, will appeal to fans of edgy fantasy.

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