KIRKUS BOOK REVIEW:
An African-American tween uses espionage skills and superpowers in this debut middle-grade novel.
Seventh-grader Marty Hayes is excited to work with the world-renowned CRISPR-Cas9 gene-editing kit in science class. But things go awry when insect eggs turn into mosquitoes and swarm the classroom. Miraculously, Marty reins them in. When his Granny hears what happened, she starts to worry that the world will discover that Marty has inherited superpowers that run in the family. She is in the Order of the Hannibal, a society of people with superpowers.
Marty is able to materialize anything, especially with the help of his smartphone’s drawing app. For example, he attempts to impress his crush, Aisha, by conjuring a jet pack at swim practice. Meanwhile, two suspicious men who are after the CRISPR launch a drone to capture its data. Marty and his best friend, Christopher, use spy tools to figure out who is sabotaging the class’s CRISPR experiments, and eventually it’s revealed that Wade, the school bully, is somehow involved. As Granny’s anxiety over Marty’s gifts escalates, she approaches him and explains his powers. While she gives him her Order of the Hannibal Medal to control and amplify his abilities, she asks him to refrain from employing them. Relieved his secret is out, Marty agrees. But on a visit to the International Spy Museum in Washington, D.C., a crisis arises.
Will Marty save the day? Despite the superhero framework, Hyler’s fast-paced tale deftly touches on scientific elements like genome study. In addition, she skillfully deals with some significant historical episodes in her narrative. For example, Granny recounts how her superpowers impacted integral events in the civil rights movement. But some threads of the story could be expanded. For instance, Aisha has superpowers and her grandmother is also in the Order, which is primarily chronicled in one chapter from the girl’s viewpoint. Additionally, details about the Order are vague. Still, this leaves plenty of material for a possible sequel. This rousing book with engaging characters should appeal to readers who enjoy adventurous superhero sagas.
A thrilling tale with series potential that highlights science, spying, black history, and the importance of family.
MIDWEST BOOK REVIEW:
The Stupendous Adventures of Mighty Marty Hayes revolves around a middle school science experiment gone awry, Marty’s struggle with his newly evolving superpowers, his attraction to a girl in his class, and a school bully – among other things.
While middle grade leisure readers will be lured by the story’s superpower theme, there are many other subplots and adventures that Marty experiences on an emotional, educational, and technological level that make for a multi-faceted, well-rounded adventure story that goes far beyond a singular approach. A multicultural cast of superheroes, and spy gadgets on full display, aid the story.
While The Stupendous Adventures seems like a complex read with so many elements entwined, one of its pleasures is that the story’s progression is logical and compelling, from the realistic portrait of Marty’s first day in 7th grade in an era when the Zika virus is big news to his fascination with CRISPR-Cas9, a gene editing technique which his advanced science class is investigating.
Marty’s prowess in navigating science, his evolving and uncertain powers, and life in general are central themes in a fast-paced adventure that follows his romp through maturity and a rapidly-changing world, and these elements, combined with a hearty attention to strong character development, keep young hearts and minds engrossed in his story.
Marty’s family is as much a part of his adventure as his peers and classmates; and this too is a fine highlight: his actions and choices don’t take place in a vacuum of peer relationships; but embrace the entirety of his world and everything he holds dear. Young readers get a dose of history as they learn of past spies of color, and how Marty’s Granny used her superpowers to aid Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Smartphones and superpowers, adults who struggle to understand and support Marty’s evolutionary process, and missions involving spy manuals and games in the name of science coalesce in a vivid and engrossing tale filled with satisfying twists and turns as well as subliminal messages on choices and consequences.
Middle grade readers who pick up The Stupendous Adventures of Mighty Marty Hayes expecting a one-dimensional story of a young would-be scientist/superhero will find the read exciting, stimulating, and a powerful probe of heroism’s roots and friendship’s special challenges; highly recommended as a standout tale.
D. Donovan, Senior Reviewer, Midwest Book Review
ELENA READS REVIEW:
Marty Hayes has a secret. He has super powers! The only people who know about this is Marty’s family and his best friend Christopher.
In The Stupendous Adventures of Mighty Marty Hayes, (which author Lora L. Hyler sent me to review) Christopher and Marty’s girlfriend, Aisha, are all in the same Advanced Science class. Marty thinks he’s the only one with special powers. Soon, he figures out that Aisha has powers too!
Since Marty loves anything spy related, he is super excited about this science class. They will be testing the CRISPR-Cas9, a gene editing tool. But everything turns upside down when the school bully, Wade, ruins the experiment. From letting loose mosquitoes to stealing Marty’s spy manual, Wade keeps sabotaging their work. But why? Marty and his friends go on a spy mission to figure out what Wade is up to and to stop him and other bad guys from stealing important data from the International Spy Museum! Who will succeed? You have to read the book to find out!
This book was interesting because of the fantasy, sci-fi, mystery, realistic and historical fiction tied in it. It was cool how the author tied those five genres together. I liked the cool book cover and that the kids had powers. I’ve never read a book about spies, so this book was different than what I am used to reading.
I recommend The Stupendous Adventures of Mighty Marty Hayes to anyone who likes fantasy books. Also, anyone who likes the movie Spy Kids would want this book, because it is kind of like it.
I give this book three out of four roses!
It was like a breath of fresh air. Your book is extremely entertaining, but also scientific and historical and I think it will be a book that changes the way kids look at school. Yet, it’s fun!
You briefly touch on the legacy of MLK, which funnily enough is something I needed to write about for a scholarship essay. I love that you touch on such an inspirational person, and that kids can realize what an influential impact he had on the world. Also, you start talking about King in the start of the book and how Granny was actually part of the civil rights movement – so unique! I love that she was actually involved and that she was a powerful woman.
Throughout the book, you have the excitement of the spies, and the International Spy Museum, which is something that I think will specially excite the young readers. Everyone loves spies! And the connection of Harriet Tubman and spies is awesome!
The focus on the CRISPR-Cas9 at first I thought was overbearing, but quickly I began to realize that it was necessary and that it actually was not overbearing. It was talked about enough to build up all of the excitement about it in the book and to understand everything that it did. Also, it’s awesome! Not stereotypical, and not too common (which in my eyes is a really good thing).
To conclude, this book was amazing. The history, the science, and the story was all great. And the connection between all of them, the connections that YOU make, are, like I said before, a breath of fresh air. I congratulate you on this amazing piece of work and hope to see more of your work on bookshelves. Thank you for giving me the great honor of reading this before the release.
Elisa, High School Student
Book 2 coming in 2019!
The second book in the series features Aisha. Girl Power! To stop bad guys, Aisha uses her science wizardry, spy gadgets and her superhero night vision.
The Stupendous Adventures
of Mighty Marty Hayes
Release Date: March 6, 2018
ISBN: 978159598: Paperback
Price: $13.95 Paperback
Book Illustrator: Ian Wade of St. Philip, Barbados
WHERE TO BUY
Available wherever books are sold.
Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Indie Bookstores.
An African-American tween uses espionage skills and superpowers in this debut middle-grade novel. Seventh-grader Marty Hayes is excited to work with the world-renowned CRISPR-Cas9 gene editing kit in science class. But things go awry…This rousing book with engaging characters should appeal to readers who enjoy adventurous superhero sagas. A thrilling tale with series potential that highlights science, spying, black history, and the importance of family"
Middle grade readers who pick up The Stupendous Adventures of Mighty Marty Hayes expecting a one-dimensional story of a young would-be scientist/superhero will find the read exciting, stimulating, and a powerful probe of heroism’s roots and friendship’s special challenges; highly recommended as a standout tale."