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Superheroes soar in this promising debut and they re kids!
"Twelve-year-old Daniel, the new kid in town, soon learns the truth about his nice but odd new friends: one can fly, another can turn invisible, yet another controls electricity. Incredible. The superkids use their powers to secretly do good in the town, but they re haunted by the fact that the moment they turn thirteen, their abilities will disappear along with any memory that they ever had them. Is a memory-stealing supervillain sapping their powers?
The answers lie in a long-ago meteor strike, a World War II era comic book ("Fantastic Futures, "starring the first superhero, Johnny Noble), the green-flamed Witch Fire, a hidden Shroud cave, and possibly, unbelievably powerless regular-kid Daniel himself.
Superhero kids meet comic book mystery in this action-filled debut about the true meaning of a hero.

277 pages, Hardcover

First published January 1, 2009

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About the author

Matthew Cody

28 books124 followers
Originally from the Midwest, Matthew Cody now lives in New York City with his wife and son. When not writing books or goofing off with his family, he teaches creative writing to kids of all ages.

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5 stars
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 509 reviews
Profile Image for Jennifer Wardrip.
Author 5 books479 followers
November 8, 2012
Reviewed by Lynn Crow for TeensReadToo.com

Daniel can't help noticing some of the kids in his new town are a little... unusual. The girl across the street sometimes moves faster than he can see. The school bully can throw kids twelve feet in the air. And his classmate, Eric, always seems to know where there's trouble.

After a near fatal fall, Daniel's friends let him in on their secret - they have superpowers. It's been happening in the town for generations, a fact carefully kept secret thanks to a series of rules, including the one that none of them likes to think about: it ends at thirteen. When the superkids reach their thirteenth birthdays, the next morning they have lost their powers, and forgotten they ever had them.

Daniel can't help but feel something isn't right about this. But his investigations into the mystery of the superpowers will put both him and his friends in danger, and uncover a history he never could have imagined.

POWERLESS is a fun, fast-paced read, with a courageous and likable main character in Daniel. It's refreshing to read a story in which the protagonist isn't the super-special one, and Daniel proves that you don't need superpowers to be a hero. The supporting characters are quirky, but have depth as well, and the villain is effectively creepy. The twists along the way will keep readers guessing right up until the end. The end itself is satisfying, but leaves a few questions unanswered.

This reviewer hopes there is a sequel in Daniel's future! Highly recommended.
Profile Image for mRose.
78 reviews38 followers
October 3, 2016
I absolutely loved this book. The prologue is a bit throwing, seems like the descriptive language got out of hand. Maybe a bit overboard, but once I got through it the writing was marvelous and very drawing. Even as an adult I found myself (my husband too) trying to figure out the mystery. My children 5 and 7 were quite intrigued by the story (although probably more appropriate for 9-13 yr olds). There are many twists that kept us engaged. Listened to this (audiobook) for quite a few hours while driving on a road trip and kept our minds alert enough to not notice the time. My husband said the best part was that the hero was a normal kid without powers. I loved how you really believed who the characters were. For this to be a tween/teen story, I felt the characters were realistic and had more depth than stories usually for this age.
Profile Image for Sonya Wolfe.
2 reviews
December 15, 2014
The following is a Book Review that my 5th grade class helped me write:

It’s difficult enough moving to a new town! However, moving to a new town filled with mysterious kids, who are trying to hide superpowers, is exceptionally difficult!! Powerless is a science fiction story set in the town of Noble’s Green, the safest place on earth. It is written by Matthew Cody, and it pulls you into a mystery where you are always wondering - what will happen next?
The main character in this story is Daniel. Daniel is a middle school boy who has recently moved to the town of Noble’s Green to help take care of his sick grandmother. Daniel loves reading Sherlock Holmes stories, and is a great thinker. He is very brave and tough. He is also loyal to his new friends & family. He is a normal boy. For some reason something happens to his super-powered friends at the age of 13, and they lose their super powers and any memory of every having them. They expect Daniel to help them discover how to stop it.
Powerless has so many terrific parts, but one of my favorites is when Daniel wins at hide and seek because the other kids insist on using their super powers. Another great part of the story is when Mollie and Daniel attempt to explore the quarry on their own and run into something very scary! Finally, I really enjoy the way that Clay surprises you towards the end of the book. I can’t help thinking about all the super hero comics and movies I have seen when I read this book. It also reminds me of detective stories because of Daniel’s love for Sherlock Holmes.
Powerless by Matthew Cody is an outstanding book that I believe every fifth grader should read. First, it is incredibly exciting. There always seems to be something happening before you get the chance to become bored. For example, soon after you meet Daniel his brother already gets saved from a passing car, and Daniel takes a tumble out of an Observatory window. Another reason I love this book is because of the mystery. I really enjoy trying to figure out the plot twists. Just when I thought I had figured out the Shroud’s identity, the author tricked me! Last, the character development in this book is wonderful. You get to know each character really well. You know that Daniel is brave and loyal. Rohan is intelligent and cautious. Molly is stubborn and quick-tempered, and Eric is fun and optimistic.
Profile Image for Andrew Gaffney.
3 reviews1 follower
September 3, 2021
The book Powerless by Matthew Cody is an excellent book in which he displays acts of heroism, bravery, and coming of age through the characters in the story.

In this breathtaking novel, the main character Daniel Corrigan moves to a new town with his mom, dad, and brother because they have to help out their grandma who is dying from sickness. He notices weird things going on around him. Later after getting saved by a bully, and after being sworn to secrecy, gets told that the kids of their town have superpowers. Super speed, super strength, super senses, invisibility, and lots more powers. But the thing that confused him the most was the fact that when they turned 13, their powers disappeared in thin air. They had said that an evil ghost came in and sucked the powers up. The problem is, that everybody in the group is almost 13… leaving barely any time left to solve the case and keep their powers for good. Can they find and defeat the demon ghost before is too late?

This novel was thrilling and mysterious, leaving me dumb founded by whatever Matthew Cody threw at me. He did an excellent job creating a nail biting story right up until the end, including lots of shocking truths and cliff hangers. These characteristics of his amazing writing just kept pulling me in more and more until I was completely addicted to the book and couldn’t put it down.

I would definitely recommend this thrilling novel to superhero and superpower lovers and especially recommend it for middle school and elementary school kids.
Profile Image for Peter.
7 reviews
January 3, 2018
Of all the books I read in the year of 2017, the best book I read was Powerless by Matthew Cody. There were many other great books, like All the Answers by Kate Messner, The Maze Runner by James Dashner, Framed by James Ponti, and so many others. However, Powerless alone stood out to me.

The book Powerless by Matthew Cody is about a 12 year old boy, Daniel, who just into Noble's Green. Rather than being a perfectly normal town, Noble's Green turned out to hold people all under the age of 13 who could conduct electricity, fly, turn invisible, etc. These people came to be Michael's friends. However, after these superkids turn 13, their powers are gone and their memories are wiped. No one knows why, but when Daniel arrives in the town, the truth is revealed.

This book was full of action and was a very fun book to read. I enjoyed it a lot and am planning to read the next two books in the series: Super and Villainous. Overall, this book was the best book I read in 2017 was Powerless.
Profile Image for Betsy.
Author 8 books2,711 followers
January 21, 2010
Superhero chapter books for kids. They're out there. Sure they are. Still, I kind of feel like the wizarding trend Harry Potter started sort of took the steam out of any superhero tales we might have been privy to. Generally speaking, if a kid has magical powers in a book then there's a lot of mysticism or magic surrounding the discovery. The plain old I-woke-up-and-could-lift-a-bus method of everyday powers is more popular in comics, but not so hot in written literature for young `uns. I do wonder why this is. Maybe it's a residual distaste some people still retain for the superhero comic book genre. Maybe it's the silly tights. Whatever the case, I feel like there's a lot of room out there for good middle grade chapter books about kids with super duper abilities. Powerless by Matthew Cody definitely fills that void, and ends up being a fun and original story about a kid who has to keep others from ending up like himself. You know. Normal.

In the little town of Noble's Green there is a peculiar situation. On occasion kids in the town will develop abilities far beyond those of normal kids. Maybe it'll be super speed, or strength, or flying, or whatever. The point is, these kids have their own rules in place to understand who they are. And one of those rules is, "It Ends at Thirteen". Daniel has just moved to Noble's Green, and though he has no super abilities of his own he befriends the super kids and determines to find out why it is that they all lose their superpowers on the night of their thirteenth birthdays. What he discovers in the course of his explorations is a situation that has existed for decades, and a villain of such sheer cunning, Daniel won't know who to believe or trust next.

Fair play to Cody, because this book has a killer opening. Heck, it booktalks itself! Listen to this: Michael wakes up and it's his thirteenth birthday. And he's excited but it feels like he's forgotten something. Something important. Anyway, he wakes up, opens his eyes, and then he sees them. Pictures. Pictures all over the room. Pictures of him flying. It wouldn't be so creepy of course, if it weren't for the fact that they're drawings he must have made and he can't remember drawing them. See? The booktalk practically writes itself. There are few things creepier than children's drawings when used in the right context. The only problem with the opening of the book is that there's a little tidbit of Michael flying before this wake up sequence. It would have been much cooler if the Prologue started as Michael wakes up, sees the pictures, has a mild freak out, and gets on with his life.

Part of what I like about the book is how backwards the concept is. Children's fantasies abound with stories of kids coming into their power or magical skills when they hit puberty. It's a big old metaphor, of course, but one that kids dig. Puberty = scary / awesome newness. So what are we to make a book where kids turn thirteen and suddenly their amazing abilities go away? Well, it's sort of the Peter Pan syndrome, yes? The idea that with adulthood you abandon the fun and imagination of your own youth. Cody's even playing with this idea with the initial Michael sequence. "... thirteen was the age when you started taking care of yourself, when you started figuring things out ..." Later when Michael and Daniel talk, he says that he had to distance himself from his old super friends because they were still into kid stuff. It works, if you see it in that light.

A good bad guy is hard to find, and even when you do find one you need to make sure he or she has just a glint of something human in them. Otherwise they're just threatening your hero's body, not their soul. In superhero literature, the best villains are the ones you can sort of understand. Magneto. Dr. Doom. Mxyzptlk (well... maybe not Mxyzptlk). And the villain in this book (not to give anything away) is just right. You completely understand where they're coming from. Heck, you might even find yourself agreeing with them. The danger Cody runs with creating such a sympathetic baddie is that the audience might be even more swayed by their reasonings than the hero. I think Cody walks the line pretty well on this one, but there will definitely be a couple kids reading the story that think to themselves, "Huh! You know . . . they have a point there."

The internal logic works really well, to my relief. A fellow librarian of mine complained that there's no explanation of how the kids got their powers, but actually Cody covers that ground pretty well. There was only one dropped plot point that nagged at me (i.e. why does Eric have the Shroud comics hidden in his room?). Still, I'm sure there's an explanation somewhere. Additionally, I don't think I'm giving too much away here when I say how relieved I was when the book ended and Daniel didn't suddenly find himself with his own superpowers. Cody certainly could have "rewarded" his hero with that kind of a topper. But since the whole point of the book is to show how important a single normal everyday kid is in the face of extraordinary powers, it would have been pretty two-faced to end the story with him magically getting a couple of his own. Cody already has a pretty good surprise ending in place anyway. The book is a good little stand alone title but should he wish to create a couple sequels, there's plenty to work with. Believe me.

The best thing about the book is that it doesn't settle on being one kind of story. Sure, it's about superheroes, but it's also a mystery. Daniel's hero isn't the mysterious Johnny Noble who started all this superheroism, but Sherlock Holmes. So kids with a thing for flying and invisibility will like the book, and so will kids who just want a good whodunit. Powerless ends up being one of those unassuming little chapter books that may find itself getting a strong fanbase all thanks to having something for everyone. A hoot.

Ages 9-12.
9 reviews2 followers
February 20, 2017
When Daniel Corrigan moves to Noble's Green, the "Safest Town on Earth" he finds out why it's the "Safest Town on Earth." Children, the "Supers of Noble's Green" protect the town. Wen the third rule, it all end at thirteen troubles Daniel, he uses his detective skills to uncover the secrets of how the kids of Noble's Green get powers, and how he can stop the Shroud from enforcing the third rule on his friends. Daniel learns that you don't have to have powers to be a hero. I liked this book because you couldn't put it down until you finished it. It made me feel anxious until the end. If you like mystery with some fantasy you should read Powerless. This is like Sherlock Holmes with fantasy.
Profile Image for Kay.
1,413 reviews13 followers
January 7, 2018
4.5 This was so enjoyable and fun.

Yes, I'm a little bit of a sucker for superheroes, but this was especially novel since the main character Daniel is the only non-super in the book. The characters reminded me very much of Nightmares!, with the same formula for the smart but allergy ridden best friend, and tough and also smart girl best friend.

I'm interested to see how the kids will handle the responsibility of their powers, and learn more about/solve the mystery of Johnny Noble. I like Daniel and Eric, and liked how the mystery played out in Powerless. Will continue on in the series!
Profile Image for Ken.
67 reviews
March 20, 2018
Pretty good. The idea of losing your memory along with your powers was pretty interesting.

Also, to future me: Since I finished this book, I finished all the BOB books!
It was very painful reading boring all the BOB books, but I made it. Now I can finally read what I want to read...
The entire list took me 4 months.
Profile Image for BluePhoenix.
22 reviews14 followers
March 25, 2018
A decent detective story. There were a few good red herrings and plot twists.
Profile Image for Mrs.Shields  .
182 reviews
November 12, 2019
Super hero enthusiasts will like this middle grade good vs evil book. My sons loved it. I was a little less enthralled.
Profile Image for Edith Mont.
29 reviews
October 26, 2022
A friend of mine’s favorite book so of course I read it even though it’s for 12 year old boys. Loved it!
October 11, 2019
This is probably one of my favorite books. I loved how it was action packed and also a mystery. I also like the sense of humor in this book. This book does a good job keeping you on the edge of your seat. I would find myself wanting to read more and more trying to figure out who the bad guy is. I do think they could have ended it better though. The different twists in the story line are really well wrote. It´s also a cool story because you never really get a superhero story from the view of a person that´s not the superhero. If you like superheros I would definitely recommend this book to you.
Profile Image for Mason Delgado.
5 reviews
January 28, 2017
I just got done reading Powerless by Matthew Cody, which is a realistic fiction book. It was published in 2009. My protagonist name is Daniel he is twelve him and his family just moved to live with his grandma that isn't doing so well. In Daniels new school he meets some new friends, now these new friends aren't really normal. These friends have powers one flies one controls electricity and the other can go invisible. Daniel ends up getting powers but the twist is when you turn thirteen you lose your powers and any memory of when they had the powers. I rate this book a 4.5, and also recommend this to six through eighth graders.
Profile Image for KidsFiction Teton County Library.
274 reviews2 followers
March 3, 2015
TCL Call#: J Cody M

Chris’s Rating: 4 Stars
Daniel family moves to Noble’s Green to take care of his ailing grandmother. What awaits Daniel is nothing he could have expected. Being a logical Sherlockonian, he has a hard time accepting that the kids of Noble Green all seem to have superpowers…even with all of the evidence before him. But along with these powers come a set of strict rules, including the rule that powers end at age thirteen. On their thirteenth birthday those with powers completely forget about them…some even forget they knew their past friends. With 13th birthdays coming up, Mollie plans to solve the mystery and defy this rule. But she will need Daniel’s help, for any super trying to “save” their friends also loses their powers, no matter their age.
Powerless was a very enjoyable light-read that kept me up late into the night. The fact that the main character is powerless adds all the more flare for me as he seeks to save his powerful friends. The story takes some of the stuff you will find in just about any superhero book and adds a few pieces of its own that make it unique. It is not terribly complex, and while the characters have character, they are not deeply developed. I still have unanswered questions about HOW the kids get their powers (especially since if it was hereditary they would be getting them from powerless adults) and there are potential unanswered questions relating to “what ifs,” like “what if one of the families moved away…would other places see a spread in superhero activity?” But for what it’s worth, the read was exciting and I will probably read further into the series at some point. A great book for 9-12 year old boys.
Profile Image for Pamela Kramer.
420 reviews5 followers
December 7, 2013
"Powerless" by Matthew Cody is an easy book to overlook. Superheroes -- been done before, especially for middle grade readers. But to overlook this little gem would be a mistake. Cody really takes what is not a novel idea and makes it his own.

Perhaps what makes the story so compelling to read is that the main character, Daniel, has no superpowers. He moves to a town where many of the kids his age (twelve) have really cool powers. Some can fly. Others are really strong. Some of the kids are good, but there are a couple who are really, really bad.

Daniel loves mysteries, and the situation surrounding the super-powered kids is shrouded in mystery. Who created the rules that they follow? Where did the powers come from? Why do the kids disappear when they turn thirteen? And most of all, how will Daniel cope with being ordinary when his friends have such amazing abilities?

Read the whole review at: Powerless
18 reviews
January 12, 2015
This book was about a family who had just moved to noble Green to take care of their sick grandmother. The main character is Daniel, who is 12, and he meets some new friends at school and later finds out that they are some kind of superheroes. They each have different ability’s like controlling electricity, controlling water, and flying. However, they also loose there super powers when they change 13. So there new friend Daniel he helps them to take down the villain who steels there powers. Also he found out that the villain was one of his grandmother’s friend. He told how his class got there powers from the meteorite when they went to look at it but he was to scared so he didn't get powers that’s why he takes the powers from the other kids.
I thought it was a good book. I recommend it to all those kids who like action books, and the ones about superheroes. It was the kind of a book that kept you at the edge of your chairs, and wanting to read more. I look forward to seeing a sequel to this book.
6 reviews
May 26, 2014
This book, was pretty disappointing for me. First of all, it had an obvious story outline. Everyone has superpowers, now they start to lose their superpowers, and no surprise, the kid with no superpowers magically destroy the Evil. Second of all, the powers that the characters do have, is nothing extraordinary. All of these powers are things everyone has heard of, including the ability to fly (oh my gosh this is absolutely jaw-dropping *said in sarcastic voice*), the ability to turn invisible, and the ability to control electricity. I would've liked the story a little better if these kids had interesting powers, such as the ability to morph into any animal, or the ability to shoot lasers out of their eyes (no relation to the superhero Cyclops). Finally, the background of how this event happened seems a little to bland. Their superheroes refer back to a World War II comic book, how exciting. I guess the author was a bit lazy there, not willing to go to much detail in that area. I mean having a nuclear accident that gave all the teens superpowers would be too much work to write...
8 reviews
December 2, 2015
Tittle: Powerless

Author: Matthew Cody

Summary: New kid Daniel is moving to a new neighborhood. He has met a big group that he is now friends with. HE discovered that these kids of secret super powers. Daniel is not like them so he is trying to help them figure out why they lose their powers when they are 13. Will Daniel figure out and save the hero?

2 Characters: Daniel is very risk taking. He has been in a few battle with the super hero's. He has got injured once by break his arm after falling off a tree. That hasn't changed him one bit and Daniel is still helping with battles. Eric one of the hero's helped him a lot. He and his friends have saved Daniel from getting another injury. Eric is adventurous.

Recommended to: Kids 9-12

Why: This book is a little kid like and I would feel that maybe it is not too much of a book for teens.

Rating 1-10: 9

Why: I like all the details in the story and all o the mysteries discovered and the moments that make you just want to read more.
19 reviews
February 26, 2016
"Powerless" by Matthew Cody, tells a story of an ordinary boy named Daniel in a whole new world. Since he is new to the town this adds excitement to the story, as he discovers basically everything. The biggest discovery he finds, is that each and every one of his friends has a super power. But even though they have things that people dream of, they can't keep them forever, as each person looses their power on their thirteenth birthday. Though everyone knows about this, they all do not know how it happens, or why it does. This is the main conflict that Daniel gets himself into, which makes it get interesting to the reader. The author does a great job with creating a whole new story universe, with well developed characters. Although this may seem like another superhero story, it is one that sets itself from the others. I highly recommend this book to anyone that enjoys reading about a hero's story.
17 reviews
February 28, 2016
The book Powerless by Matthew Cody was recommended to me by a friend of mine, who thoroughly enjoyed it. I don't normally like to take recommendations, but I thought I would give this book the benefit of the doubt. I am glad that I did, since the story was actually really well written. The story starts off with a 12 year old named Daniel, who moves into a new town. Although everyone is generally nice and treats him well, Daniel knows that there is something off about his new home. Matthew Cody writes a story from the perspective of an average kid, in a setting not so average. It allows the reader to easily follow along and relate to the feelings of the protagonist. Since none of us have any superpowers either, we can understand the struggles and frustrations of being "powerless". I really liked this plot and this take on a book about superpowers. Now, I also would recommend this book to everyone!
1 review1 follower
November 3, 2011
I thought at first the book was a little confusing with it's indirect characterization on Michael. After that, the story settles in to be pretty good. I had a Skype session with the author of this bok, Matthew Cody, and he said when asked of if a sequel was to arise, he said, "I'm going to let you in on a secret. I just finished the manuscript for the sequel, Super, the other day and my editor e-mailed me a picture of the cover. It is to come out in Fall 2012, so stick around to read the sequel." Then, he showed us a primarily yellow cover with "super" in blue toward the right of the cover and the hero on the cover of this book is showing off some muscle. Not lying! Skype him at mattcody3.
Profile Image for Michele Knott.
3,556 reviews154 followers
December 22, 2013
What a fantastic read! I think kids of all ages will enjoy this book, but particularly boys.
Daniel has just moved to Noble's Green and very quickly he finds his new friends all have special super powers. But before he can get used to them having these powers, he discovers that his friends all lose their powers on their 13th birthdays. Why does this happen? They set up a plan to find the answer but then discover they are up against something that is so much powerful - The Shroud!
This is a great book for questions, as I read, I kept coming up with new ones that I was desperate to find the answers to! So glad to see there is a sequel to this great read!
Profile Image for Weller C..
14 reviews
February 27, 2015
Grade?interest lv: 3rd+
Genre: Fiction
Lexile: 640
Settings: Mt. Nobel/Witch Fire Mountain, school, observitory, treehouse.
Main Characters: Louisa, Rose, Eric, Bud, Clay, Mollie, Simon, Rohan.
POV: 3rd person

Daniel moves to the town of Noble's Green. He starts to notice some of the kids there are way stronger than they should be or faster. He catches on to their secret and before longs has befriended a group of super-children. But is the sinister secret of rule #3 even more dangerous than being super? Who is the shroud and what does he want with them? Daneil will have to outwit the odds and uncover aall the clues to figure out the secret that Mount Noble has been hiding for centuries.
Profile Image for Shaeley Santiago.
869 reviews56 followers
December 19, 2011
Engaging story about kids with super powers that they lose at age 13. When the "New Kid" comes to town, he uses his "Sherlock-Holmes-style detective powers" to help them figure out how to keep their powers beyond their 13th birthdays.

Some similarities between this book and Michael Carroll's The Awakening, although Powerless is better suited for younger readers.
Profile Image for Laura.
216 reviews6 followers
June 13, 2011
Yet another reminder to appreciate what you have while you have it. This novel combines mystery with fantasy in a somewhat suspenseful story of how Daniel, the protagonist, is powerless in a community of kids with super powers. After wishing he were more like them, he comes to realize that he is the only one who can help them discover why they are losing their super powers. The characters are solid and the story moves quickly enough that I think kids will like it.
Profile Image for Colby L.
29 reviews
January 25, 2014
This book kept me wanting to read more and more of it. But I wish it had a better ending. This book is about a normal boy, who comes to live with his grandma, in normal town. Or so he thought. It turns out that a few kids in his "normal" neighborhood have superpowers. But once they turn 13 they lose their superpowers, and have no memories of ever having superpowers. This is a really good book and I would recommend Powerless to anyone who likes mysteries.
Profile Image for Teri Smith.
24 reviews
August 21, 2013
On a recommendation of a friend, my husband read this book, then passed it to my son, who devoured it in two evenings. They both enjoyed it, and I wanted in on the fun. I quickly became invested in the characters' struggles and couldn't wait to see what happened next. I'm looking forward to the sequel, once Jesse is done with it!
77 reviews
July 27, 2012
Young adult book about a town of kids with super powers that they lose on their 13th birthday. I liked this book because it is different. In a sea of so many predictable books written for young adults, this one is definitely one that stands out.
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