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Powerless
2015
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Kenna feels inferior because everyone else has some talent or power, so when villains break into the lab where she interns she will not let criminals steal the research that will make her extraordinary too, but secrets are spilled and one of the villainssaves her life, leading her to think about good and evil, heroes and villains, and what it means to be powerful and powerless. - (Baker & Taylor)

Feeling inferior as an ordinary girl in an extraordinary world, Kenna refuses to let criminals steal research from the lab where she interns, but when one of the villains saves her life, she starts to rethink the ideas of good and evil. - (Baker & Taylor)

Kenna is tired of being "normal."

The only thing special about her is that she isn't special at all. Which is frustrating when you're constantly surrounded by superheroes. Her best friend, her ex-boyfriend, practically everyone she knows has some talent or power. Sure, Kenna's smart and independent, but as an ordinary girl in an extraordinary world, it's hard not to feel inferior.

So when three villains break into the lab where she interns, Kenna refuses to be a victim. She's not about to let criminals steal the research that will make her extraordinary too.

But in the heat of battle, secrets are spilled and one of the villains saves her life. Twice. Suddenly, everything Kenna thought she knew about good and evil, heroes and villains is upended. And to protect her life and those she loves, she must team up with her sworn enemies on a mission that will redefine what it means to be powerful and powerless...

The Hero Agenda Series:
Powerless (Book 1)
Relentless (Book 2)

- (Sourcebooks Inc.)

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Trade Reviews

Booklist Reviews

One night, while conducting research in the Elite Superhero Lab, Kenna has an unexpected run-in with a guy who is clearly a villain—a superhot supervillain. He is soon joined by two more baddies set on destroying the lab, all while spouting crazy things about heroes being the evil ones. Kenna, who doesn't have powers of her own, has complete faith in the heroes' goodness and doesn't let being powerless stop her from thwarting the intruders. When her mom disappears soon after and her best friend, Rebel, reveals that there's truth to what the villains said, Kenna is forced to reevaluate the world she knows and her place in it—which includes teaming up with the enemy. Though the corrupt-heroes angle isn't new, Childs and Deebs do slip in a few twists. Kenna proves a feisty protagonist, and romantically inclined readers will appreciate the sparks flying between her and a villain teammate. Issues of identity and trust play out within the action-driven plot, ending with all signs pointing towards a sequel. Copyright 2014 Booklist Reviews.

Horn Book Guide Reviews

In a world strictly bifurcated between heroes and villains, Kenna, raised by heroes, is a superpower-less anomaly. When a handsome teenage villain reveals that (surprise!) the heroes are actually pretty villainous, Kenna joins his mission. The predictable but nevertheless well-executed story unfolds in a small time frame, creating a propulsive sense of urgency, and a closing twist sets up an even higher-stakes sequel.

Kirkus Reviews

A teenager discovers that the line between superheroes and supervillains isn't as sharp as she supposed in this steamy collaboration. Kenna gets her first hints that something is rotten in the Superhero League when a trio of squabbling supervillains breaks into her genius mom's supposedly top-secret lab in a failed rescue attempt. Rescue? Who needs rescue? Kenna's world is about to be rocked: by the discovery that the supposedly upright superheroes are capturing and torturing villains; by the sight of her own goth-punk best friend, Rebel, snogging one of the burglars (!)—and also by newly met Draven, a "dark and scowly" villain with sexy stubble and whose "icy blue irises burn like the hottest flames," whose touch "sizzles," and whose lips…ah. Kenna suddenly finds herself a fugitive engaged, along with a crew of unlikely allies, in a series of schemes to free the captives. In addition to the flaring of romantic torches, the continual, testosterone-fueled bickering of the male cast members and laughable worldbuilding (superpowers come with convenient marker tattoos beneath the right ear for heroes or left for villains) provide at least mild entertainment. The present-tense tale hustles readers along to a climactic, inevitably far-from-decisive face-off. Unsurprisingly, Kenna turns out to be far from the unpowered "ordinary" she had been raised to believe she was. Readers beguiled by this fluff will need to stay tuned. (Romantic thriller. 12-15) Copyright Kirkus 2015 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

School Library Journal Reviews

Gr 7–10—Even though she doesn't have a superpower herself, Kenna has grown up immersed in superhero culture. After a group of villains break into her mother's lab, Kenna's outlook on the superhero world starts to unravel as she realizes that the do-gooders she has always admired are engaging in malicious deeds. Now she must work with the most unlikely of characters (villians!) in order to set things right. There is no shortage of action as this band of teenagers tries to sneak into several well-guarded facilities, but unfortunately other aspects of the novel don't hold together as well. Characters such as Kenna's rebellious best friend "Rebel" and her "dark-and-scowly" love interest are not very original or well developed. While teens in these situations may spend a lot of time arguing about what next step to take, too much of the novel is spent on the characters' bickering. The major theme explored here is the thin line between good and evil, and while there is an interesting parallel that can be drawn to the current actions of U.S. government organizations, most of Kenna's narrative is lacking in subtlety. With a cliff-hanger ending and plenty of dangling threads, there is ample opportunity for a sequel. Marie Lu's The Young Elites (Putnam, 2014) offers a more nuanced portrait of young superheroes and Cory Doctorow's Little Brother (Tor, 2008) presents a better glimpse into corrupt government behavior. VERDICT Fans of fast-paced action and superhero books may enjoy this, but readers looking for more complexity should search elsewhere.—Carrie Shaurette, Dwight-Englewood School, Englewood, NJ

[Page 110]. (c) Copyright 2015 Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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