A tween book review of the new middle-grade fiction novel The Super Life of Ben Braver—the first book of a funny new adventure series that combines superheroes, comic strips and an ordinary middle school boy.
I tucked my 11-year-old into bed one night last week with Marcus Emerson’s brand new book The Super Life of Ben Braver. Since she’s big into superheroes, I had a feeling it was going to be a hit with her.
Filled with art and comic strips, The Super Life of Ben Braver is the story of an ordinary middle school boy. Ben loves TV and comic books and peanut butter cups. But when he hears a kid scream for help one day, he decides to be like his favorite heroes and tries to save the day. Things go really wrong—which leads Ben to a secret school where kids learn to control their superpowers.
Since it sounded similar to other books she loves (the NERDS series from Michael Buckley, for one), I was pretty confident she would devour this one—but even I was surprised when I woke up the next morning and asked her how it was. She had read the entire book!
Here’s what she had to say about it.
What did you think of The Super Life of Ben Braver?
It’s an amazing book. I literally read it in three hours. I started at bedtime and then stayed up really late so that I could finish it.
I liked it because I could relate. Ben’s around my age and he really likes comic books and superheroes and stuff. I would probably be friends with him in real life.
Could you give us a brief synopsis of the book?
One day in the summer right before school starts, Ben wants a peanut butter cup so he rides his bike to the store to get some and he hears a cry for help. Because of all of the superhero comics he reads, Ben knows that if he goes towards the cries for help, it will be the beginning of an adventure but if he goes home he can eat his peanut butter cups and play video games (which I probably would have done). He ends up riding home because he doesn’t want his peanut butter cups to melt. But then he feels bad, so he goes back and his life changes forever.
Ooooh, how so?
Well, something major happens and he ends up being put into a coma for a few days because he was sticking up for the person crying for help and it didn’t go very well. Then Ben finds himself at a school for superheroes. He makes new friends. There’s a secret evil plan going on. They can tell something is going wrong but they don’t know what. They try to figure it out and they have their suspicions of who it is.
Did you have a favorite character?
Jordan! He’s so funny. He’s one of Ben’s friends. His powers are invisibility, but he doesn’t know how to change back so that he’s visible again. He likes to trash the school and pull pranks on the kids.
What did you think about the illustrations?
I love the illustrations! They’re just like comic book illustrations. I liked that he reads comic books and he likes comic books and so the illustrations of this book are similar. They made the story funnier and there were also chapters where it was just comic strips, so they definitely add to the story.
Can you think of a book that’s similar so that if kids like it, they’ll also like this book?
James Patterson’s Middle School series. The kids in the book are the same age and they’re both about school. They also have fun illustrations.
What grownups are saying…
“Fans of superhero fiction will laugh out loud and identify with aggressively regular Ben. Just the right mix of mystery and kooky fun.” ―Kirkus Reviews
“A clever hybrid novel that’s sure to be a hit with the comic-cartoon crowd and fans of superhero tales.” ―School Library Journal
“A crazy fun ride―action-packed and loaded with laughs!” ―Max Brallier, New York Times-bestselling author of The Last Kids On Earth
Enter to win a copy of The Super Life of Ben Braver!
Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group has been kind enough to offer one lucky Cuddles & Chaos reader a copy of The Super Life of Ben Braver. You can enter through the Rafflecopter below between now and March 15th, 2018 at 11:59 pm EST. The giveaway is open to US/Canada only (sorry!).
Please note that you can get bonus entries by tweeting the message in the Rafflecopter once a day!
For more book picks, check out our What We Read series and our list of 30 Picture Books Your Family Is Guaranteed to Love. You can also now shop my favorite books in my Amazon store.
Macmillan Children’s Book Publishing provided us with a copy of the book for review but all opinions are our own.