Hide or Seek (The Superpower Protection Program)

Hide or Seek (The Superpower Protection Program)
Author(s)
Co-Authors / Illustrators
  • Chris Silvestri
Publisher Name
Permuted Press
Age Range
10+
Release Date
April 11, 2023
ISBN13
978-1637587010
ISBN10 or ASIN
      
Nick Pappas—a teenage boy with nascent superpowers—has his world turned upside down when he’s taken into witness protection after his superhero father is murdered on national television. But things are not what they appear to be in the small town he’s relocated to. He soon discovers that, not only is it populated with family members of super villains, but it’s also a prison and he’s considered one of its most dangerous inmates. He can’t be sure who to trust, and to make matters worse, he’s developing powers of his own—with no way to control them.

Editor review

1 review
Uncovering the truth of a new reality
Overall rating
 
4.0
Plot
 
4.0
Characters
 
4.0
Writing Style
 
4.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
 
N/A
What worked:
I’ve read a few books where kids have superhero parents but Nick’s father has been a questionable parent. The summary accompanying this post sums up the plot nicely as Nick and his mom are herded to Crucible where his mom says they’ll be able to live safely. Their handler seems shady and all of Nick’s questions are answered with ambiguity and vagueness. There are no connections to the outside world and Nick finds everything just a bit off. His name is changed to Theo and his former identity as Nick is erased from all digital footprints. The only place Nick exists is in his own mind. Crucible is the place his father wanted Nick and his mother to relocate in case of trouble but something’s amiss.
The initial pages seem like the book is headed toward an action-adventure but it develops into a mystery of sorts. Nick doesn’t like not knowing what’s going on with his life so he’s determined to figure out the secrets surrounding Crucible. Characters frequently warn him that his every move is being watched so it sometimes feels like Nick is a lab rat under the control of an unseen organization. Characters fear punishment when they don’t “follow the script” and it’s unclear which characters are the good guys and the bad guys. Nick’s not even sure if he can trust his new “friends” since they won’t tell him the truth and try to avoid him. The author allows Nick to ponder his new reality throughout the book and doesn’t reveal the true nature of Crucible until the plot nears the end.
The author endows the teenage characters with some uncommon powers. Nick’s temper causes him to become hot and fiery but he has no idea how to control it. Jerry is a curious character because they don’t identify with gender pronouns and are actually three people in one. I won’t elaborate but this character causes Nick a great deal of confusion in the first half of the book. Another boy is able to transport to different locations although his magic comes at a price. A girl is able to absorb and redirect energy, which can come in handy. It’s unknown if the adults have powers but it’s silly to assume none of them do. Mirrors have a special place in the plot and contribute to the eerie atmosphere of Crucible.
What didn’t work as well:
The blurb accompanying the post reveals way more than it should so opportunities for surprise are lost. This book is listed with middle-grade titles on NetGalley, Amazon lists it for grades 3-4, and the main character is sixteen. It can easily be read by middle-grade students since it’s not violent, vulgar, or embellished with sexual moments.
The Final Verdict:
The listings don’t say this book is the first of a new series but I assume that’s the case. It feels like this book is setting the stage for a sequel since there are issues left unresolved. Overall, the mysterious story is entertaining and I recommend you give it a shot.
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