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Being a Hero Versus Being Human

Conductoid (Volume 1) by M. B. Lehane (2016-04-15) - M. B. Lehane

Open with a typical student soccer game in which player Jack declines team celebrations at the end of a successful game to examine an illuminated device on his ankle in the privacy of the still-empty locker room, then flees. But there's something extraordinary in the method of his flight and in his ride home, implying that Jack is not the ordinary soccer-playing schoolboy he portrays.

 

Not every boy has a secret compartment in his closet and a jetpack accompanying his lunch bag. No normal boy can rocket into the sky through his rolled-back bedroom ceiling. And what boy can face his greatest enemy with nary a quiver? Nobody, it turns out - even Jack. But, a boy can dream!

 

In a world that constantly challenges Jack to be extraordinary, he consistently fails. His performance in class, in P.E., and in life are all met with obstacles and his best intentions to do better send him into a dream world filled with creatures more realistic than his own life. In contrast, his twin Phoebe is a winner at nearly everything she does. Even worse, his mother is about to become his teacher at school.

 

What's left to enjoy are dreams, which sometimes come with nightmares attached. And in this world, he shines.

 

Conductoid is a super-hero story, a saga of dreams and reality, and tells of a boy who shifts between the persona of a failure and that of Conductoid, a superhero with extraordinary abilities who saves lives and faces down challenges. What, exactly, is a 'conductoid'? It's "A being who can have another’s powers transmitted through them.’"

 

As Jack faces strangers, transformations, and challenges even in his super-world, he finds that the very qualities that limit him in one world come back to haunt him in the one place he feels powerful.

 

Not everything in Conductoid focuses on Jack's changing worlds: in between there are family encounters and relationships, field trips, and revelations about the underlying meaning of being strong.

 

 Readers move between fantasy adventure and Jack's real world as Jack explores his position in both. Do the stories Jack creates have their roots in reality? While readers are treated to a satisfying intersection between fantasy and reality, the real questions lie in Jack's ability to move between two worlds and face the consequences of his choices in each.

 

This gripping saga will especially delight advanced elementary to middle grade readers who secretly dream of being heroes even as they struggle with being human.