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Customer Review

on January 6, 2016
Quinn's attention to detail is excellent, and is presented subtly. In fact, so subtly that, perhaps, only someone with a disability, or someone very familiar with disabilities, will notice some of them. I found myself visualizing exactly what he was describing in Red's movements from my own knowledge of CP. Red's feelings about his disability (his overall weariness of it, his resentment of the restrictions it imposes on his life, his envy of other people's ease of movement) are spot on. Most poignant for me, was Quinn's portrayal of Red's family. The relationship between Red and his mother showed your a understanding of her perspective, and her perspective is one that most mothers of a child with a disability will 'get.' His father is a perfect blend of the typical no-nonsense dad that most kids deal with, yet we see that he is equally devoted to Red, while intent upon making sure he is not 'coddled' .... In preparation for Life ahead. Scott is a typical brother, yet protective when it counts. His brotherly banter with Scott reveals Red to be a typical teenager. Just one with a physical disability.

The impact of the story will not be lessened if the reader has no personal experience with disability. The impact for that cohort of young adult readers is, I believe, exposure to how it feels to have a disability; how Red's family life resembles their own; how he and his family adapt activities to include him; how it feels to be the target of bullying in school; and how those who bully are not only predictable through appearance & mannerisms, but also that they are not really admired by their peers (contrary to their own thinking). Plus, Quinn managed to put some disability "manners" in there as well. Always a good thing.

Quinn gave a powerful depiction of what everyday life was like in high school for Red. He offered subtle 'lessons' within the storyline about various ways that school buildings and schoolwork may need to be adapted. From simple examples of using carbon paper with a student note taker; needing extra time to accomplish a task, or to take a test; and needing a keyboard guard for the computer --- to the difficulty of traversing crowded hallways, and the problems presented by stairs and no access to an elevator. (Which meant the teacher had to move the class to the lower level for one period and he made no attempt to hide his resentment from Red.) Those little details offer authenticity to disabled readers and, hopefully, may raise the consciousness of others. Plus, no doubt, there are many young adults who will relate to the the "treacherous waters" of Red's high school even if they have no disability.

As for the main theme: Red's superpower. As with all superpowers, it is totally unbelievable if one insists upon being literal and fact-based. So that might limit the reader audience if someone can't abide fantasy. But, I mean, come on....Ant Man??? SpiderMan??? Super heroes abound right now. And that is the whole point. This book is supposed to be fun! I found it entirely fun to read about Red slowly realizing his new power, and then being able to gain a sense of personal empowerment that allowed him to move beyond his disability. (Which, I venture to say, is a wish anyone with disability at least occasionally dreams about.)

For reasons stated above, I think this book needs the attention of both audiences: disabled and non-disabled. And, most certainly, teachers. There are few, if any, young adult books that depict a teenager with a disability in a way that is not 'inspiring' but, rather, simply fun to read. And Quinn certainly left a number of avenues open for sequels. Wouldn't it be great to see a series starring a teenage superhero with a disability who, frankly, is also refreshingly incorrigible and downright ornery! Remember the success of The Babysitters Club books? Well, perhaps Quinn has touched upon a need for a series that deals with difficult realities, wrapped in a lighthearted superhero plot that makes you laugh and root for Red.
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4.8 out of 5 stars
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