Searching for Super

Book review by
Blair Jackson, Common Sense Media
Searching for Super Book Poster Image
Thinner story, less character depth in action-packed sequel.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

All about superpowers and action. 

Positive Messages

Strong messages about loyalty, resourcefulness, working as a team, and the importance of family.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Rafter Bailey is creative, industrious, determined, and driven by loyalty and friendship to do whatever it takes to save his friend and defeat the enemies of his family. He's also a bit reckless, but the stakes are high and worth the risk.

Violence & Scariness

Plenty of chaotic, cartoonish violence -- walls and windows being smashed, people fighting each other, things being thrown -- but no one ever gets badly hurt. October Jones is a truly evil, threatening, power-mad foe, like a James Bond villain, but he's clearly no match for resourceful kids on a mission.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Searching for Super is an action-packed sequel to Marion Jensen's hilarious and exciting Almost Super, about two families of superheroes battling a third family of evil-doing superheroes in the town of Split Rock. Though there's a fair amount of violence (and menace) throughout, it's definitely exaggerated and implausible cartoon violence, in which no one seems to ever get badly hurt, let alone die. Because the story begins soon after the first book's adventure ends, familiarity with Almost Super is an absolute prerequisite for getting the most out of Searching for Super. Otherwise, readers will be very confused.

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What's the story?

Picking up more or less where Almost Super left off, we find the young heroes of the first book -- Rafter Bailey and his brother, Benny -- lying low since the villainous Jones family robbed them and their whole extended family of superheroes of their unique powers. Rafter and Benny are determined to get their powers back to fight October Jones and his criminal clan and to save the town of Split Rock from their evil ways. It appears that Rafter and Benny's cousin, Thimon, just might be able to grant their wish, but things are not what they seem, and the road to defeating the Joneses and freeing the captive Juanita Johnson, Rafter's best friend, will be perilous and complicated. Can the Baileys and Johnsons defeat October Jones once and for all?  

Is it any good?

Though Searching for Super has the same comic tone as its hilarious predecessor, Almost Super, the story isn't nearly as interesting and there isn't much character development. We don't learn much new about Rafter and Benny, and their parents and various other funny and eccentric family members, prominent in the first book, are barely in this one. And though the close friendship between Rafter and Juanita -- developed over the course of the adventures depicted in Almost Super -- provides extra incentive for the brothers to take on the evil Jones family after they take Juanita prisoner, she's hardly in the book, either. 

There are plenty of action scenes worthy of a high-octane action movie, and one very clever plot twist, but overall the story is a bit thin, the tone slightly dark. Marion Jensen's an entertaining writer, but he didn't give himself as much to work with this time out. The first book, which rightly drew comparisons to the charming animated film The Incredibles, is much better in all respects.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about superheroes. Why are stories about them so popular? What others have you read?

  • Have you read Almost Super? How do you think Searching for Super compares?

  • If you could have any superpower, what would it be?

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