Stuntboy, In-Between Time (2)

Stuntboy, In-Between Time (2)
Co-Authors / Illustrators
Age Range
Release Date
August 29, 2023
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Portico Reeves is the greatest superhero a lot of people have never heard of. He likes it that way—then no one can get in the way of him from keeping other other people safe. Super safe. He’s Stuntboy. He’s got the moves. And the saves. Except. There’s been one major fail.

He couldn’t save his parents from becoming Xs. Which is a word that sounds like coughing up a hairball. But don’t talk to him about the divorce, because of the hairball thing, and also, it gives Portico the frets.

What’s also giving him frets is his parents living on two separate floors in their apartment building. He’s never fully with one parent or the other. He’s in-between, all the time. The in-between time. And the elevator is busted, so to get between floors means getting past the bullies who hang in the stairwells.

So when Portico and new friend, Herbert, and best best friend, Zola, discover an empty apartment, unlocked, they are psyched. It’s a perfect hideout, and hangout, and it’s not half anyone’s…it’s all theirs. So they decide to make it their own…let’s say with stunts of the drawing kind. Problem is, that gives some Grown Up People the frets, which leads to double frets for Portico. And he’s not sure his arsenal of stunts can combat that.

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After his adventures in Stuntboy, in the Meantime, Portico Reeves is back having adventures with his friends. His parents have split, which led to a lot of "frets" in his world, and he is now faced with another challenge. Since the family has moved into two separate apartments in the Skylight Gardens complex, Portico has to spend the nice with his father and Gran Gran, since his mother is away on a meditation retreat. He usually loves spending time with his father, who has the best job in the world (being a trash collector), but going to his father's apartment confirms in his mind that his family really is split up. He has saved a trash bag full of things his mother was cleaning out, and sets off to his father's apartment with it, thinking that the two will have a good time going through it together. Along the way, he has several adventures. Gran Gran has come to his new apartment to visit and test out the new couch, and Portico and Herbert are introduced to Zola's Grandpa Pepper, who has a job naming nail polish colors and is a very colorful character. There's an empty apartment on an upper floor, and the door isn't locked, so Portico and his friends brave several of the mean teens in the building to visit it. Once there, they decide to draw on the walls using markers, and really make the place feel like their own. They also help Zola's stepfather, the building superintendent (Super), deal with seventeen iguanas in Bean Bosworth's apartment. They use their super skills to capture them and turn a china cabinet into an iguana house. Eventually, Super finds out about the art in the apartment and is very angry, since he has a potential renter visiting soon. Luckily, that renter turns out to be Grandpa Pepper, who is thrilled with the amazing art. Still, Gran Gran is not happy that Portico has done this, and makes him explain himself to his mother before going to his father's apartment. His father tries to get to the root of why Portico has done this, and is somewhat understanding that Portico feels he doesn't have a place of his own since his parents have split up, but admonishes him that he still can't go and deface other people's property.

Good Points
The plot isn't really the draw in this book. Portico's adventures with his super hero persona, and all of his super hero antics and tricks, are the focus, and Raul the Third's exuberant artwork supports the frenetic quality of the text. Since Portico is not only a fan of art, but of television show, there are frequent "commercial breaks" and other asides that add to the boisterous exploits.

The first book had much more information about Portico's anxiety, and while some of that is evident in, it is not as pervasive as it was in the first book. It helps that Herbert is an ally now, rather than an adversary, and that Portico has the steady presence of this Gran Gran and Zola, as well as his mother and father, who are not able to fight when they are not in the same apartment.

This is definitely a book more suited to middle school students, even though the cover makes this look like an easy-to-read graphic novel. There is a surprising amount of text, making this more similar in length to Kinney's Wimpy Kid books than Pilkey's Dog Man installments.

Readers who enjoyed the humorous frenzy of Angleberger's The Two-Headed Chicken or Barnett and Harris' The First Cat in Space Ate Pizza will love this rollicking tale of Portico and his friends making the best of their surroundings and infusing a bit of super hero magic into everyday life.
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