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Powerless (The Hero Agenda) Hardcover – June 2, 2015

4.2 out of 5 stars 44 customer reviews
Book 1 of 2 in the Hero Agenda Series

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

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

About the Author

Tera Lynn Childs is the RITA-award-winning and bestselling author of teen fiction about a mythological high school, mermaid princesses, monster-hunting triplet descendants of Medusa, and dark fae princes.


Tracy Deebs is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling and criticially-acclaimed author who writes under many pseudonyms, including young adult novels about surfing mermaids and technological armaggeddon.
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Product Details

  • Series: The Hero Agenda (Book 1)
  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire (June 2, 2015)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1492616575
  • ISBN-13: 978-1492616573
  • Product Dimensions: 5.7 x 1.2 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (44 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #494,687 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
So the world is literally full of heroes and villains, both of whom have powers. Kenna is the daughter of a hero.. her mom is basically a genius that works at a super secret hero facility doing lab experiments to help develop more hero powers or instruments to aid the good guys. Kenna spends her days and nights in the lab helping her mom and doing little experiments for herself. She is powerless. She's what the heroes and villains call an ordinary.

One night some villains break into the lab looking for a relative that they believe is being held captive by the heroes. Kenna holds her own, even with no powers. But she isn't exactly powerless. She is also immune to other people's powers. This is a well kept secret between Kenna and her mom, who used her genius skills to develop a serum for Kenna to take on the regular to stay immune to danger.

And here comes the real interesting part... Kenna stops seeing the heroes and villains as good and bad/white and black. She sees there's a grey area. Now she meets a slew of new people with devastating information that changes everything she's ever known.

This was definitely a fast paced novel with some quick YA romance. I needed a little more world-building to get a better feel of the place. I'm also a little bored of the teenagers falling in love after 3 days of life or death action, but I think I'm just getting old. This was an interesting read, but it felt too short and that a lot of details were missing.
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Format: Kindle Edition
Review courtesy of Dark Faerie Tales [...]

Quick & Dirty: All heroes aren’t good and not all villains are evil.

Opening Sentence: If I could have any superpower, right now, I’d choose the ability to reach through the glass.

The Review:

This was a fun, action-packed read set in a world of heroes and villains where almost everyone has a power, except Kenna. Her being ‘powerless’ is what makes her special but not in a good way. Although she is vulnerable, her genius mother has created a secret serum of immunity shots. As long as Kenna takes these once a week she is immune to all powers.

The story is based around Kenna’s encounter with the villains and realisation that not all villains are bad. Similarly, heroes aren’t all that great either, sometimes committing heinous crimes under the radar. The book explores stereotypes, illustrating that not everything is black and white, good or bad, without getting too deep that you feel you need to re-evaluate your life!

Three days ago, I was an ordinary girl in a superhero world. It wasn’t ideal, but it was tolerable. It was normal. It made sense. Black was black, and white was white. Good was good, and bad was…bad. Villains were bad.
Now everything is topsy-turvy. Nothing makes sense. And as for life being black and white? I feel like I’m drowning in a million shades of gray. Like the suits of the Ray-Ban brigade.

The writing was good, it kept me interested but it was also quite simple, verging on the younger spectrum of young adults. The idea about villains not all being bad was repeated so many times that I felt like shouting, ‘yes we got the message the first 10 times!
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
When I saw Powerless was written by Tracy Deebs along with Tera Lynn Childs, I knew I had to have it because I have LOVED Tracy Deebs' books! Her Tempest Maguire trilogy was a favorite mermaid read of mine so I was curious about this new superhero book! I haven't read too many of those all things considered, especially since I love watching the comic book/superhero movies. But I was not prepared to be totally blown away with Powerless! It was extraordinarily awesome and I am left weeping for more!

Kenna is a normal human girl. Her parents were superheroes, her father died when she was young and her mother is more of the super genius type of hero. Kenna though has her own unique talent thanks to her mom, she is immune to hero and villain's superpowers. She takes an injection every so often that gives her this immunity and it's come in handy a few times, but it's a secret she must keep or else there would be trouble for her and her mom. And in part, it's what gets her into trouble one night while she works in her mom's lab. She's her mom's "ranscriptionist", basically copying her mom's sloppy notes into legible format. One night, villains break into the lab and all hell breaks loose.

It's not long before Kenna learns that there is more going on to the villains breaking in. They were looking for someone they believe the heroes are keeping prisoner, but Kenna isn't quick to believe it all. Until her best friend, Rebel fills in her on a thing or two. It's not really until Kenna's mom gets kidnapped or otherwise goes missing that she's willing to get on board with a rescue mission.

Now Kenna puts aside long held prejudices against the villains and works with them. The heroes have been keeping secrets for too long.
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Format: Hardcover
I received an ARC from the author and yes, I assure you, this is an honest review.

I started this book at 1:30 am in the morning because I'm currently suffering from jetlag after my trip to China. Before I knew it, I finished the book and it was 4 am. Yeah, terrible for my jetlag, but I couldn't put the book down!

Fast-paced and exciting, <i>Powerless</i> is about a world where class hierarchy is divided into Ordinaries, Heroes, and Villains. Although the main character Kenna lives in the Heroes world, she doesn't have any powers herself. Despite that fact, she holds herself up really well in the book. I enjoyed her character a lot, especially when her reactions in certain situations were so relatable. Sometimes I'll get annoyed or frustrated by characters who do dumb stuff (or DON'T do stuff in general), but Kenna had reasonable reactions.

Honestly, the only complaint I have with the book is an explanation of, well, the world. Modern references are used, such as the Vulcan symbol or SWAT team so it HAS to occur in present-day, but how do the Villains and Heroes integrate themselves into society? How does their own separate hierarchy conflict with our own, such as the government? (Because please, why do you need a president when there's a Heroes League?) One of the Villains even mention going to school... so are there separate schools for people with powers? The authors never go through the logistics of it, and I couldn't help but wonder. Of course, the exclusion of such details makes it more easier for the reader to get caught up with the action going on, so it's not that big of a deal for me. Still, it would've been nice to see a little more background.

Speaking of action, the book is filled with it from start to finish.
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