Learn more about CCRLS
Reading recommendations from Novelist
Online learning resources
Cover image for Almost super
Almost super


First edition.
New York, NY : Harper, an imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers, [2014]
Physical Description:
251 pages ; 22 cm
General Note:
Sequel: Searching for super.
"Two brothers in a family of superheroes are forced to reexamine everything they knew about being super when the powers they receive are total duds and their enemy is revealed to be just like they are"-- Provided by publisher.
Reading Level:
Ages 8-12.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader MG 4.2 7.


Call Number
J Jensen, M.

On Order



Perfect for fans of Pixar's The Incredibles, Almost Super is a fresh, funny middle grade adventure about two brothers in a family of superheroes who must find a way to be heroic despite receiving powers that are total duds. Filled with humor, heart, and just the right kind of heroics, Almost Super is a winning story that will satisfy would-be heroes and regular kids alike.

Everyone over the age of twelve in the Bailey family gets a superpower. No one knows why, and no one questions it. All the Baileys know is that it's their duty to protect the world from the evil, supervillainous Johnson family. *shake fists*

But when Rafter Bailey and his brother Benny get their superpowers, they're, well . . . super-lame. Rafter can strike matches on polyester, and Benny can turn his innie belly button into an outie. Along with Rafter's algebra class nemesis, Juanita Johnson, Rafter and Benny realize that what they thought they knew about superheroes and supervillains may be all wrong. And it's up to the three of them to put asides their differences and make things right. They may not have great powers, but together, they're almost super.

Reviews 5

School Library Journal Review

Gr 4-6-This superhero story is really about growing up, making choices, and figuring out the world. The Bailey family knows their purpose in life is to fight supervillains like the Johnson family. The Johnson family just happens to think that they are the true superheroes and that the Baileys are the real evil villains. Rafter Bailey cannot wait until the day he gets his superpower. When that day comes, however, the power he gets is less than super and he must learn to live with his disappointment. Although the book is not necessarily laugh-out-loud funny, Jensen employs a clever tongue-in-cheek humor throughout. Readers will identify with the way in which Rafter is treated like a kid instead of a full-fledged member of the superfamily and will enjoy seeing Rafter and his friends outsmart the grown-ups. The short chapters and action packed sequences keep the pages turning. Reluctant readers and fans of the Pixar movie The Incredibles will be excited to find out what happens in the sequel.-Carrie Shaurette, Dwight-Englewood School, Englewood, NJ (c) Copyright 2014. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Publisher's Weekly Review

"At 4:23 in the afternoon, on February 29, any Bailey age 12 or older gets a superpower." In this entertaining and exuberant debut novel, the time has finally come for 13-year-old Rafter Bailey and his younger brother, Benny, to receive their first powers. Rafter can't wait to join his family's fight against the supervillainous Johnson clan, but their new powers are a colossal disappointment: Rafter can now light safety matches using polyester, and Benny can turn his bellybutton "from an innie to an outie." In a fun twist, when the Bailey brothers try to take on Rafter's classmate Juanita Johnson, they learn that the Johnsons believe that they are the heroes, and that the Baileys are the supervillains. Though initially wary, the three kids band together to discover the truth behind their disappointing powers and the feud that has engulfed their families for decades. Balancing humor, action, and an everykid longing to be more (or to be bitten by a radioactive arachnid, at least), Jensen also incorporates subtle messages about perspective, misconceptions, and what true heroism really entails. Ages 8-12. Agent: Sarah Crowe, Harvey Klinger. (Jan.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Horn Book Review

Rafter and Benny Bailey can't wait to join their superhero family's fight against the villainous Johnsons, especially their classmate Juanita Johnson. When all three tweens end up with wimpy powers, however, they discover that both families are being manipulated by supervillains. This superhero comedy will be appreciated by middle-grade readers who've graduated from the Captain Underpants books. (c) Copyright 2014. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Kirkus Review

Inventively tweaking a popular premise, Jensen pits two Incredibles-style families with superpowers against each other--until a new challenge rises to unite them. The Johnsons invariably spit at the mere mention of their hated rivals, the Baileys. Likewise, all Baileys habitually shake their fists when referring to the Johnsons. Having long looked forward to getting a superpower so that he too can battle his clan's nemeses, Rafter Bailey is devastated when, instead of being able to fly or something else cool, he acquires the "power" to strike a match on soft polyester. But when hated classmate Juanita Johnson turns up newly endowed with a similarly bogus power and, against all family tradition, they compare notes, it becomes clear that something fishy is going on. Both families regard themselves as the heroes and their rivals as the villains. Someone has been inciting them to fight each other. Worse yet, that someone has apparently developed a device that turns real superpowers into silly ones. Teaching themselves on the fly how to get past their prejudice and work together, Rafter, his little brother, Benny, and Juanita follow a well-laid-out chain of clues and deductions to the climactic discovery of a third, genuinely nefarious family, the Joneses, and a fiendishly clever scheme to dispose of all the Baileys and Johnsons at once. Can they carry the day? A solid debut: fluent, funny and eminently sequel-worthy. (Adventure. 10-12)]]]] Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Booklist Review

In a family where your dad can fly and your great-aunt can breath fire, finding out that your superpower is worthless is, well, devastating. Such is the misfortune of Rafter and Benny Bailey. For longer than anyone can remember, Baileys 12 years old and older have been bestowed with a superpower on Leap Day (February 29) that is used to fight their nemeses, the Johnsons. But this year the Bailey powers, quite frankly, supersuck. Unsatisfied with being stuck on the sidelines, Rafter is determined to find out who is stealing the supers' real powers. Together, he, Benny, and an unlikely friend turn up evidence that suggests there are new supervillains in town. Packed with action and humor, this is a superhero tale in the spirit of The Incredibles. Jensen's wit and light tone give the story a playful quality while still managing to incorporate a healthy dose of suspense. Family dynamics and teamwork drive a plot that has, above all, a super amount of heart.--Smith, Julia Copyright 2014 Booklist