Experiment BL626's Reviews > Please Don't Tell My Parents I'm a Supervillain

Please Don't Tell My Parents I'm a Supervillain by Richard  Roberts
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Jan 15, 2014

really liked it
bookshelves: science-fiction, netgalley, recently-reviewed, reviewed, middle-grade

This book was so fun I was downhearted when it ended. Penny and her two friends kept me guessing and excited with their capers. It took a couple chapters before the excitement started, but once it did I savored every page of it.

What I Liked

For characters who got carried away and into deeper trouble when they were trying to get out of it, Penny, Ray, and Claire were marvelously competent. They made Penny the leader of the team because she was super smart. Furthermore, they actually listened to her, avoiding the trap super people on a team commonly fall into in other books of all age categories. Known as The Inscrutable Machine, Penny's team practiced teamwork. They knew when to fight and preen, and when to retreat. They learned from their mistakes and took heed of advice. Not to say they were not reckless because they absolutely were when they could have ceased their mischief at any time. However, they controlled their recklessness greater than I ever expected.

Penny, Ray, and Claire were so mature that I often forgot that they were young teens on the cusp of high school and not full blown teens. I loved that there was never any condescension against their age. Penny and her friends were dangerous kids and the other characters treated them like dangerous kids. The danger was real no matter that the characters were sometimes playful about it.

While I loved the entire team, Penny was my favorite character. I loved how the book presented her as the star in more than just making her first person viewpoint as the exclusive viewpoint of the book. She had issues so it was easy for me to relate to her. One of her issues was living up to her parents' expectations, and that was something I totally understood. She had tenacity so it was easy for me to root for her. Hurray for a kickass heroine! Not only that, it was her super intelligence that made her kickass. I loved that the book made being smart cool and a revered trait of strength.

Finally, I also loved the fact she didn't let her crush on Ray preoccupy her mind. There was a love triangle between her, Ray, and Claire but thankfully, it didn't disrupt their friendship. I loved that the book never made a big deal of the issue and that the issue was kept in the background where it rightfully belonged. The issue popped up occasionally but it always dropped back down in deference to more important priorities, like surviving the next battle. Young Adult protagonists should take notes from this Middle Grade protagonist.

What I Didn't Like

I didn't like Ray's character development. One, it was severely lacking compared to his friends. I learned a lot about Penny and her family, and Claire and her family. But I didn't learn anything about Ray and his family except for the fact that they were vanilla humans and not as rich as his friends' family.

Two, I didn't like how he kicked his human talent of intelligence to the curb once he acquired his superpower. I understood his inferiority complex. Nobody likes feeling helpless and seeing injustice. I only wished he had come to realize his complex and that he was overcompensating. It would have been wonderful if he worked with Penny on her inventions and plans. It was such a shame that he pigeonholed himself as the team's muscle.

The second thing was Generic Girl, one of the superheroes our team fought. It was weird how she appeared practically once and never appeared again till the end like an almost forgotten afterthought. She could have easily been the one to stop The Inscrutable Machine if she persevered, especially when she and Penny knew each other's secret identities. Not to mention the fact that the community of supers worried about her as much as they worried about The Inscrutable Machine. That worry disappeared after it was mentioned once. The plot piece was a loose end, and I didn't like it.

What I Had Mixed Feelings

I worried a bunch about the karma The Inscrutable Machine would reap. They were dangerous kids and they were marvelously competent. However, it didn't change the fact that they were still kids, and they were kids going against superheroes and seriously bad people instead of sidekicks their age towards the end. Not to mention the collateral damage.

It was amazing and unrealistic how the gang prevailed every time. The book description was true to its words. Penny and her friends did always come out on top. That said, it was more delightfully and relievingly amazing to me than it was annoyingly unrealistic.

On one hand, it bothered me that Penny and her friends got off scot-free with some of the characters none the wiser, especially towards the end. On the other hand, I derived enormous amount of entertainment in the book being purely a work of youth escapism. Ultimately, this was the hand that won out.

Conclusion

I rate Please Don't Tell my Parents I'm a Super Villain 4-stars for I really liked it. Totaling 384 pages, the book is big and indulgent. I highly recommend the book if you're looking for a super fun superheroes read.
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Reading Progress

Finished Reading
January 15, 2014 – Shelved as: awaiting-release
January 15, 2014 – Shelved
January 15, 2014 – Shelved as: science-fiction
March 6, 2014 – Shelved as: to-read
March 6, 2014 – Shelved as: netgalley
March 6, 2014 – Shelved as: to-read-maybe
March 6, 2014 – Shelved as: to-read
March 12, 2014 – Shelved as: recently-reviewed
March 12, 2014 – Shelved as: reviewed
March 12, 2014 – Shelved as: middle-grade

Comments (showing 1-8 of 8) (8 new)

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Yzabel Ginsberg I had the same kind of feelings regarding Ray. There was definitely something with his family: they were introduced as normal folks, yet he seemed to be afraid of what their reaction would be if they learnt about his "supervillain identity", and that made me wonder if there wasn't more behind it all. But we never got to know.

On the other hand, I did enjoy this book a lot as well. Fun factor and all.


Experiment BL626 Have you read this book, V is for Villain? It's similar. Not as fun as this book, but it's entertaining enough to borrow it from the library.


Yzabel Ginsberg This vaguely rings a bell; I mist've seen this title somewhere in the past few weeks.

I'll see if I can borrow it. Right now, in France, it's kind of a dead end, but I might be moving to the UK soon, which means actual books in actual English in libraries! \o/


Joshua Just a few nitpicks, because I just read it. Generic Girl showed up at least twice, three if you include a break between the last two. She was ready to take them down, but Penny talked her down, told her about Spider's big plot and Claudia trusted her and went off on her word to go stop some of the "distraction" crimes.

On the comment of Ray's disregard of his intelligence, it seemed like he just changed the direction of it. Multiple times throughout the book, he noticed and pointed out things that Penny missed. It seemed he turned his intelligence from tech at the beginning to tactics and how to use smaller things to their advantage. He was going to let Penny focus on the tech because he knew he couldn't keep up with that talent she's got. It's kind of like his Teddy Bears and Machine Guns strategy, mashing a bunch of things together to make stronger opponents.

I do agree with you on the love triangle part. There was a point part way into the story where Penny sort of dropped it. There were more important things to focus on. It just seemed like she didn't care anymore. If her friends were together...that's nice. She'll deal with it all when they're on the side of good.


Experiment BL626 Oh yeah. I forgot about that. Will edit that in my review. Going to blame it as the character being so underwhelming. Thank you.

I saw those advices from him as simple advices that could have been given by anyone, such as Claire. "He was going to let Penny focus" etc: I get that logic but I still think it's stupid. Penny's intelligent, but she's not all knowing. There are other areas of knowledge Ray could focus on. They shouldn't put all their eggs in one basket, or eggheads in this case. LOL.


Joshua Experiment BL626 wrote: "Oh yeah. I forgot about that. Will edit that in my review. Going to blame it as the character being so underwhelming. Thank you.

I saw those advices from him as simple advices that could have been..."


I guess you're right, though it could just be that he was having too much fun as the muscle and as Penny's henchman. Still a fantastic book.


VanTwinblade In D&D we have a saying "intelligence is knowing something, wisdom is apply what you know." I think that applies to this book.


Barbara Harris I actually believe Ray never liked Claire, but liked Penny so much, he teased her about it.


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