Secondhand Heroes: In the Trenches by Justin Larocca Hansen


      Secondhand Heroes: In the Trenches (book 2) by Justin Larocca Hansen. Dial, 2017. 9780803740952

Format: Paperback

Rating: 1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 4.5

Genre:  Supernatural/Graphic

What did you like about the book? Brothers Tucker and Hudson live on an island in the first completely green town in the country. But that doesn’t mean that things are all hunky dory in Scraggy Neck. Evil doings continue in this second book in the series, where objects obtained from the yard sale of a deceased neighbor have mysterious powers, granting their owner abilities for good or evil depending on the person. Tuck and Hud use their umbrella and scarf in an effort to foil the increasingly megalomaniacal Trench, who was previously the town’s history teacher. Their sidekick, Steen, a squirrel now in possession of speech, rallies animals for communication and backup, and provides a comic element. The town is in ruins, and their neighbor Elvira joins their team to try fight Trench and his monsters. This is a really imaginative and creepy story with just enough humor and setting to not make you run for the hills. Steen’s surfer boy lingo, the brothers’ natural camaraderie and in-jokes, and the ideas of teachers and janitors turning evil in a green town make this a uniquely appealing fantasy. The art is wonderful, and Hansen is equally adept at portraying a cozy small town with diverse residents, and the monstrous evil that now challenges them as super heroes.

Anything you didn’t like about it? My only quibble is that the reader really has to refer to book 1 to understand what transformed the sleepy town into the monster-filled locale it has become.

To whom would you recommend this book?  This is pretty dark, treading the line between children’s and teen superhero graphics.

Who should buy this book? Middle school and public libraries

Where would you shelve it ? Children’s or Teen graphic novels

Should we (librarians/readers) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? Yes – but start with book 1!

Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City and State: Stephanie Tournas, Robbins Library, Arlington, MA

Date of review: March 19, 2017

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