Scholastic Press – October 1, 2010

Kyle Camden is a sixth-grader in a town called Bouring.  He spends most of his time planning and executing the perfect pranks.  He only has one real friend.  Mairi understands why he does what he does and likes him for who he is instead of the wild pranks he is famous for.

Kyle uses his pranks to teach people to stop being so serious all the time.  He is in the middle of setting up a huge prank when he witnesses a plasma storm. The next morning he realizes his intelligence has been boosted by the astrological event. It added something else to Bouring as well.  Soon after the plasma storm, a teenage boy is found wandering around town.  He has amnesia and is placed with a foster family until the police can find out who his parents are, but the people of Bouring don’t want him to go anywhere after they find out he has superpowers and can fly around and save people. The town calls him Mighty Mike and soon everyone at school wants to hang out with him instead of Kyle.

Kyle knows Mighty Mike isn’t some random lost boy.  He realizes Mighty Mike must have arrived during the plasma storm.  Kyle soon discovers he gained superpowers too.  The problem is, when he attempts to do good things everything goes wrong.  Bouring thinks he is the bad guy!  Nothing he does works out the way he plans.

I was so excited about ARCHVILLAIN.  I’ve loved other books by Barry Lyga, but it only took me a couple of pages before I was totally disappointed in this book.  Kyle is an irritating character. The way he constantly thinks of himself as better than everyone around him, including his parents, grated on my nerves. Barry Lyga says on his website that Kyle knows that Mighty Mike is an alien from outer space and will do anything to stop him.  The problem is, Mighty Mike doesn’t seem like he is a bad guy.  Even if he is an alien, he doesn’t seem to be doing anything except helping people.  It seems like Kyle wants to stop Mighty Mike simply because he is jealous. The website also says, “It’s time to root for the bad guy!” As a reader, I had no desire to see Kyle win.  In fact, he needs to be knocked down a peg or two and learn a lesson about feeling superior to others.