Childhood’s End

Everybody knows that Superboy grows up to be Superman. Similarly, the Invisible Girl eventually becomes a woman. Unless your name is Peter Pan, you can’t avoid getting older. Even the Tiny Titans will one day grow up to be inducted into the Justice League of America. Nobody stays a kid forever.

And that’s kind of sad, especially for the superkids of Noble’s Green. These kids can fly, walk through walls, turn invisible, manipulate electricity, and do all sorts of crazy things. But when they turn 13 that will be it. Their mysterious superpowers will disappear. One day they’re racing above the clouds and the next day they’re on the ground waiting for the school bus to arrive. Childhood’s end is such a bummer.

But what exactly is going on? Why is everyone losing their superpowers on their 13th birthday? And, more importantly, how did they get their powers in the first place? Up until recently, the kids have been clinging to a bunch of old comic books and conspiracy theories for answers. But now it’s time to get to the bottom of the mystery. Enter Daniel Corrigan, new kid on the block and Sherlock Holmes fan. He can’t fly, he can’t see mountains on the moon, and when he turns 13, he will be the same as he always was. He’s the perfect guy to figure it all out.

Even beyond the mysteries of Noble’s Green, there’s an even bigger question that must be addressed. What does it mean for so much power to be in the hands of such young boys and girls? The kids are solidly righteous (mostly), but are they mature enough to handle such cosmic responsibility? Probably not. Real life is not a comic book, after all. They haven’t even reached puberty yet. It actually might be a good thing that everyone loses their superpowers when they become teenagers. Nobody wants to see a bunch of emotionally immature, mixed up, and self-absorbed superheroes hanging out by the Dairy Queen.

Powerless is a novel intended for pre-teen readers. Yet ironically it’s more mature than most of the superhero novels we read from week to week. We thank the author for not wasting our valuable time. In the end, the mysteries are solved, the villain is vanquished, lessons are learned, friends are made, and the future shines brighter than ever before. But there remain secrets in Noble’s Green that will always be secrets. All the kids agree, there are some things grown-ups are not ready to hear.

Powerless / By Matthew Cody / First Printing: October 2009 / ISBN: 9780375855955]

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