by John Otte
Robin Laughlin, aka “Failstate,” is a teenaged superhero competing on a new reality show, America’s Next Superhero. The prize: a vigilante license to let him fight crime like his favorite heroes. But on top of avoiding eliminating, Rob also has to deal with his popular older brother, Gauntlet, girl problems, and his unstable powers. But when a fellow contestant is murdered, Rob’s new problem is trying to find the killer.
This book was a very fun read. It combined well-done teen issues like girls and sibling rivalry with an interesting superhero mythology and a solid mystery. It was also a good look into the type of reality TV program that so many people enjoy.
Rob is a likeable and sympathetic hero, someone I really wanted to see succeed. Other than his powers, he’s an average guy, which makes his struggles and his bravery extra heroic. I always appreciate a story that surprises me, and this one did. The plot was fast-paced with lots of unexpected twists to keep me guessing.
Rob attends church and believes in God, but the faith elements of the story aren’t forced. They’re simply well-integrated as part of Rob’s normal life. It’s nice to see a superhero story that acknowledges God without seeming out of place.
I would recommend Failstate to anyone who likes an superheroes, or who just enjoys a fun story with ordinary people learning to do heroic things.
Review by Becky Dean