Two of my favorite creators of children’s’ literature, Jason Reynolds and Raúl the Third have come together to create something very special. Stuntboy, in the Meantime is a fun young reader/middle grade novel (I think it borders the two) with a lot of heart and great illustrations.
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The summary, from Amazon:
From Newbery Medal honoree and #1 New York Times bestselling author Jason Reynolds comes a hilarious, hopeful, and action-packed middle grade novel about the greatest young superhero you’ve never heard of, filled with illustrations by Raúl the Third!
Portico Reeves’s superpower is making sure all the other superheroes—like his parents and two best friends—stay super. And safe. Super safe. And he does this all in secret. No one in his civilian life knows he’s actually…Stuntboy!
But his regular Portico identity is pretty cool, too. He lives in the biggest house on the block, maybe in the whole city, which basically makes it a castle. His mom calls where they live an apartment building. But a building with fifty doors just in the hallways is definitely a castle. And behind those fifty doors live a bunch of different people who Stuntboy saves all the time. In fact, he’s the only reason the cat, New Name Every Day, has nine lives.
All this is swell except for Portico’s other secret, his not-so-super secret. His parents are fighting all the time. They’re trying to hide it by repeatedly telling Portico to go check on a neighbor “in the meantime.” But Portico knows “meantime” means his parents are heading into the Mean Time which means they’re about to get into it, and well, Portico’s superhero responsibility is to save them, too—as soon as he figures out how.
Only, all these secrets give Portico the worry wiggles, the frets, which his mom calls anxiety. Plus, like all superheroes, Portico has an arch-nemesis who is determined to prove that there is nothing super about Portico at all.
Buy Stuntboy, in the Meantime here.
Everything I love about Jason Reynolds and Raúl the Third was combined in this novel. Portico is a kid with anxiety and his parents are always fighting. Only he and his best friend know he’s not just Portico but the superhero Stuntboy, capable of helping out all of the neighbors in his apartment building. When Portico’s parents fight, they tell him to go do something “in the meantime” and Portico begins to think of their argument sessions as “the mean time”.
This book was just fabulous. There was such humor and heart to it, and so many things kids will find relatable: divorce, wanting to be a superhero, best friends, anxiety, and being annoyed or bullied by other kids. I was especially obsessed with the positive representation of blue collar, essential jobs like waste management and building superintendents that keep our communities running. One quote that really stuck out to me in this book was “…to hit the ground was nothing but an opportunity to pop back up and keep running.” Like Portico, I have anxiety, and I was inspired by this kid’s constant ability to anchor himself and get back up again even when things around him were falling apart. This was a 5 star read for me, and I think this book will appeal to younger and middle grade kids due to the content and bordering-on-graphic-novel format.
Find out more about how I rate books here.
Stuntboy, in the Meantime by Jason Reynolds
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I love both of these creators and they’ve combined to make something really special with this one.
Book Club Questions
- If you were a superhero, what would your name and powers be?
- What does “in the meantime” really mean?
- Who was your favorite character? Why?
Interested? Buy Stuntboy, in the Meantime.
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