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The Adventures of Blue Avenger Paperback – August 8, 2000


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 229 pages
  • Publisher: HarperTeen; Reprint edition (August 8, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0064472256
  • ISBN-13: 978-0064472258
  • Product Dimensions: 6.8 x 4.9 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #826,455 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Irony, silliness, and the deepest questions of the human soul blend together delightfully in this funny, original novel by Norma Howe. The day David Schumacher turns 16, he decides to ease the pain of his father's death by legally changing his name to "Blue Avenger," after a comic book hero he created when he was 13. Armed with his new nom de plume, David hopes to abolish handguns, win the love of Omaha Nebraska Brown (the new girl at school), and create the first guaranteed weepless lemon meringue pie. He also wouldn't mind discovering the answer to the mystery of all mysteries: "Are we truly the masters of our fate or merely actors on a stage, playing our parts in a predetermined cosmic drama over which we have no control?" Through a crazy course of coincidences (or perhaps predestined circumstances) Blue Avenger ends up accomplishing almost all of the monumental tasks he has set for himself. Yet he never quite answers that question of free will, a conundrum that Howe leaves the reader to wrestle with until the very last page. The text is peppered with "facts," such as the detailed death of a particular sow bug and the prediction of an earthquake in a certain California subdivision, which seemingly have no bearing on the story. But Howe ties all of these factoids and statistics together in the finale with a flourish reminiscent of Louis Sachar's Newbery award-winning Holes. Teens who enjoyed the mental jigsaw puzzles in Sachar's excellent novel will no doubt also dig The Adventures of Blue Avenger. (Ages 12 to 15) --Jennifer Hubert --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Publishers Weekly

David Bruce Schumacher has been drawing comic books featuring a superhero for three years, but on his 16th birthday he decides that it's high time that someone actually do something about the world's problems. Accordingly, he dons his late father's fishing vest, puts a towel on his head, ? la Lawrence of Arabia, and renames himself Blue Avenger after his creation ("The" is a lousy first name, he decides). Almost instantly the skinny redhead becomes a hero, first by saving the high school principal from killer bees, then by secretly arranging treatment for an acne-ravaged friend and ultimately effecting an end to handgun violence in Oakland, Calif.Amaybe even the entire U.S. In this canny and sophisticated fable, Howe (The Game of Life) interpolates her loopy plot with serious discussions of philosophy, teen romance, a recipe for "weepless" lemon meringue pie and finely honed characterizations. Especially endearing are the hero and Omaha Nebraska Brown, the feisty gal he's drawn to by his own free willAor is it determinism? Throughout, Howe edgily challenges the reader to decide whether the events related therein (allegedly with the help of an extraterrestrial) are due to chance or fate. The story's teasingly open ending will inspire delighted conjecture. Ages 12-up.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

All in all, I would recomend it to anyone who is looking for great summer reading.
Lynn Weatherby
I also liked the book because of that the book was very interesting and wanted me to keep on reading it until the end.
Nancy Rogers
Howe connects her characters and her readers to the world beyond their immediate experience.
J. M. Grafton

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

19 of 19 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 15, 1999
Format: Hardcover
This is a wonderful book, which is fairly well described by the reviews above. It is a kind of real-life fantasy, where the main character adopts a comic-book superhero persona and immediately starts living a comic-book superhero type existence, where he is instantly popular at school and nothing serious goes wrong. (In some ways, this book is like a teen version of Laurie Colwin's Happy All the Time. There is no traditional conflict, not among peers, not between kids and parents or teachers or society. There are tragedies, but they are all in the past.) The themes are mature: sexuality (a very sweet version of it), personal responsibility, the ways in which people advance themselves at a cost to others. The author is very ambitious, and not all of what she tries works, but a great deal does. One issue: my wife mistakenly bought this for our 10-year-old son, for whom it is clearly inappropriate. It is not so clear what group of kids should read it. Kids old enough to appreciate a condom-buying scene (a high point in the book that is clearly, if coyly, divorced from the conventional reasons for buying condoms) and smart enough to like the frequent philosophical discussions and ironic authorial intrusions will generally have moved beyond Young Adult fiction. They may resent the undercurrent of goody-goody preachiness (the protagonists predictably and enthusiastically opt for chastity; there is a lot of anti-vulgarity propaganda) and the odd reticence that produces a great deal of very unspecific talk about sex ("He pondered the difference between love and lust." "Their hormones were raging.Read more ›
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Lynn Weatherby on June 30, 1999
Format: Hardcover
The Adventures of Blue Avenger is overall a very good read. It starts off fairly intriguing, and the plot continues to develope chapter after chapter. This is not a book where you will skip parts, as I... er... well, tend to do.
This novel has great character development. The main characters are lively, intelligent, and people who you'd like to be friends with. An interesting thing about this book is how the social life of Blue (the main character) is portrayed. It seems as if there really isn't any teenage nastiness, or at least not much of it. I think this makes it better than the average book, even though it may not be that realistic. It's refreshing to not read about teen social problems every single page.
Another great thing about this book is the way it works through philosophical questions, mainly the ever-lasting predestination versus free will question. The author brings the questions up throughout the story just enough to keep it largely interesting, but not overkill.
I would say that this book is more appropriate for ages 12 and up. Some of the subjects in it are not something you'd want an eight year-old to read, despite the cover.
All in all, I would recomend it to anyone who is looking for great summer reading. I know that sounds really vague, but it's the truth. I was skeptical when it arrived, but as soon as I started reading it, I was hooked!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By arkm on November 25, 2000
Format: Paperback
that a book on such a serious topic could be so much fun to read? If someone had come up to me and asked "Would you like to read a book about free will?", I probably would have just said "No way." But Blue Avenger turned out to be one of the funniest things I've read in a while. It all starts on his 16th birthday, when David Schumacher decides to change his name to Blue Avenger after a character he created. In doing so he becomes a unique sort of superhero, simply solving everyday problems, like finding the perfect lemon meringue pie recipe. (I tried it, and it really honestly doesn't weep.)There's plenty of humor along the way, as in the memorable condom-buying scene and classroom discussion. There's a romantic side, thanks to his close friend Omaha Nebraska Brown. There are small seemingly meaningless moments that come back in the end, somewhat like Harry Potter. And of course, there's the free will issue- it really makes you think without taking over the story or getting boring and technical. I knew very little about free will before reading this, but now I can honestly say I have an opinion on it.
Is it realistic? Not really. But will it make you think and laugh out loud? You bet. And that's the whole point anyway.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Joseph W. Smith III on October 22, 2000
Format: Paperback
I find it hard to believe that only a few reviewers gave this book 5 stars. I'm inclined to agree with the obviously youthful reader who declared, "This is the greatest book ever written!" It's not, of course -- but it's an awful lot of fun.
Beautifully written, laugh-out-loud funny, sad but not painful, and brilliantly constructed, with as meaty a consideration of fate and free will as you are likely to find in a work of contemporary fiction. NOTE TO THE HIGHBROW CROWD: Ya don't have to use long sophisticated arguments to get the heart of a matter like this; if this book doesn't get you thinking about personal responsibility, then you probably aren't used to thinking much.
NOT FOR KIDS UNDER 14, it contains some sexuality and vulgarity but comes down squarely on the conservative side of these issues.
Everything you could ask for in a "young adult" novel; don't miss it.
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