Ben Braver can’t shake his fear that something really bad will happen this year: “That’s how sequels work.”
Ben saved Kepler Academy from a mind-controlling supervillain in series opener The Super Life of Ben Braver (2017), but trouble continues to follow him in his second year at the school for kids with superpowers. In addition to lingering nightmares of last year’s horrors, Ben has to deal with a fan club, some “King Kong–size changes” at school, the mystery of the secret 15th student of the school’s inaugural class, the ever present possibility that he’ll be outed as a phony, and a growing sense that something big is happening. Readers should definitely start with the first book in the series, as many of the plotlines build on previously introduced characters and events. In-line comics, together with Ben’s hilarious asides and moments of pure absurdity (see: a jealous, lightsaber-wielding peanut butter cup), will appeal to many, although some casually pejorative language may detract others. While wary readers will anticipate the identity of this installment’s bad guy, clues cleverly dropped along the way will still have budding sleuths eagerly rereading to pick up each thread. The black-and-white illustrations show characters with a variety of grayscale skin tones, but most of the characters, including black-haired Ben and the majority of the adults, have paper-white skin.
Another entertaining outing for those already onboard. (Graphic/adventure hybrid. 7-12)