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The Adventures of Blue Avenger by Norma Howe
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The Adventures of Blue Avenger (1999)

by Norma Howe

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199688,699 (3.95)6
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I first read The Adventures of Blue Avenger because it had a picture of a superhero on the front and a cool title, but it is a really deep book! It's about a teenage boy who decided to change his name to "Blue Avenger" because he saw a lot of hurt in the world and wanted to make a difference. The main theme of the book, though, is how he wonders where everything that happens is predestined or whether we really have free will. It is open-ended about that part, leaving it up to the reader to decide what he/she thinks. It is an enjoyable read with a lot of character development and relationships between characters. ( )
  DavidDunkerton | Apr 1, 2010 |
The titular Blue Avenger starts out as 16-year-old David Schumacher, the average (but smart) student whose hobby is drawing a superhero called the Blue Avenger. He considers himself to be Blue Avenger, and has the blue-fishing-vest and towel-turban ensemble to prove it. (I can't remember whether he based the character on himself, or if they just grew together over time, but it doesn't really matter.) On his 16th birthday, he changes his name and takes on the persona of Blue Avenger in order to right the wrongs of the world.

I really liked it, but it's kind of odd, and not in an objective way. There was just something about it I couldn't put my finger on. It's kind of a YA story written in kids' prose... The characters say intense 16-year-old things, but in an almost simplistic 11-year-old way. Blue is a great character, very recognizable and easy to connect with but a little offbeat and quirky, teetering perfectly between adult and child, and he doesn't see the world the same way anybody else does. His friend Omaha is a little more of a stereotype, the mostly-mean tomboy with the vulnerable side that everybody likes for some reason even though she's mostly mean. (Okay, in this case I don't remember everybody liking her, mostly just Blue, and he has his own personal mental processes.)

The main theme of the book is the major philosophical debate of free will vs. fate, much more heady stuff than I expected, which is great. In fact, I don't think it went far enough. It only really presents the predestination argument, which is a valid argument, but it's incomplete without the equally valid choice argument. No real resolution is offered either, I personally prefer a conclusion even if I don't agree with it, but for a book for kids that's not necessarily appropriate so I understand leaving it out. Also note the painfully apparent and oversimplified gun control message, which was surprising considering the complexity of the other theme.

http://fatalisfortuna.blogspot.com/2009/11/adventures-of-blue-avenger-by-norma.h... ( )
  FFortuna | Mar 29, 2010 |
Bravo! Wasn't sure what I expected when I started this book. The first few pages kind of shocked me, but I couldn't put it down. A great read. ( )
  MDLady | Nov 22, 2008 |
David Schumacher wakes up on his 16th birthday determined to make a difference in the world. No more trying to fit in and be like everyone else. Because he knows he is absolutely unique. And so, David decides to change his name. His new name? the Blue Avenger. When he changes his name, things start to happen. David becomes a hero, meets an equally extraordinary girl, begins his effort to bake the perfect lemon merangue and drives his guidance couselor crazy. If you like quirky books and don't like the ordinary, this book is for you. ( )
  mamasigs126 | Sep 16, 2008 |
I didn't enjoy the writing style for the first few pages, but the moment David's Mom complained about the word moniker, I was hooked. The main characters in this story continually did things that were both totally unexpected, yet completely in character. ( )
  francescadefreitas | May 25, 2008 |
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0064472256, Paperback)

Irony, silliness, and the deepest questions of the human soul blend together delightfully in this funny, original novel by Norma Howe. The day David Schumacher turns 16, he decides to ease the pain of his father's death by legally changing his name to "Blue Avenger," after a comic book hero he created when he was 13. Armed with his new nom de plume, David hopes to abolish handguns, win the love of Omaha Nebraska Brown (the new girl at school), and create the first guaranteed weepless lemon meringue pie. He also wouldn't mind discovering the answer to the mystery of all mysteries: "Are we truly the masters of our fate or merely actors on a stage, playing our parts in a predetermined cosmic drama over which we have no control?" Through a crazy course of coincidences (or perhaps predestined circumstances) Blue Avenger ends up accomplishing almost all of the monumental tasks he has set for himself. Yet he never quite answers that question of free will, a conundrum that Howe leaves the reader to wrestle with until the very last page. The text is peppered with "facts," such as the detailed death of a particular sow bug and the prediction of an earthquake in a certain California subdivision, which seemingly have no bearing on the story. But Howe ties all of these factoids and statistics together in the finale with a flourish reminiscent of Louis Sachar's Newbery award-winning Holes. Teens who enjoyed the mental jigsaw puzzles in Sachar's excellent novel will no doubt also dig The Adventures of Blue Avenger. (Ages 12 to 15) --Jennifer Hubert

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:25:03 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

On his sixteenth birthday, still trying to cope with the unexpected death of his father, David Schumacher decides--or does he--to change his name to Blue Avenger, hoping to find a way to make a difference in his Oakland neighborhood and in the world.

» see all 2 descriptions

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