Penelope Akk wants to be a superhero. She’s got superhero parents. She’s got the ultimate mad science power, filling her life with crazy gadgets even she doesn’t understand. She has two super-powered best friends. In middle school, the line between good and evil looks clear.
In real life, nothing is that clear. All it takes is one hero’s sidekick picking a fight, and Penny and her friends are labeled supervillains. In the process, Penny learns a hard lesson about villainy: She’s good at it.
Criminal masterminds, heroes in power armor, bottles of dragon blood, alien war drones, shapeshifters and ghosts, no matter what the super powered world throws at her, Penny and her friends come out on top. They have to. If she can keep winning, maybe she can clear her name before her mom and dad find out.
Please don’t tell my parents I’m a Super Villain by Richard Roberts was a lot more comical than I originally pinned it to be. And I absolutely loved that about this book. There was the right balance of action and comedic relief that you almost forgot it was thirteen year old kids you were reading about. You forgot that it was children who were outsmarting adult super villains and giving them a run-for-their-money. The villain community and hero community had no idea what hit them when the Inscrutable Machine surfaced, and to be honest I don’t think the Inscrutable Machine did either- at first.
In the beginning we watch as Penny yearns to get her super powers, and what kid wouldn’t want to have their super powers. But the real kicker is that in the world that Roberts created the kids grow into their powers and don’t get them until they are a certain age. So in a weird way it sort of works like puberty, and that’s a horrible analogy, but it’s actually rather accurate. Because from what I’ve gathered from reading this novel is that most heroes started gaining their super powers in their teen years, and had unlocked their full potential around their early twenties. So they go through a super power puberty, so to speak.
Penny gets a flash of her abilities and she’s super excited, but than her parents crush her with the news of super hero puberty and that she may not see her full potential for a few more years. Well she isn’t satisfied with this answer, and I’m quite glad for that. Because if she was satisfied with that answer the story wouldn’t have went in the direction that it did and Penny wouldn’t have unlocked her potential as early as she did. Though she may have ended up on the right side of the playing field too.
Through most of the book I was hoping the Inscrutable Machine could turn good and be the super heroes that Penny so desperately wants to be, but I think the group is too good at being bad. And in all honesty, I’d hate to see them turn good. It’s just to fun to watch this group be mischievous and outsmart the adults. They are just too good at it. Which is what makes the book so enjoyable. These kids are brilliant and work so well together, they are like a well-oiled clock that works perfectly and nothing can break its sync. Even when they are faced with trials they don’t know how to face they come out on top, which proves their friendship and wit.
I can’t wait to continue reading more of Penny and her friend’s journey and hope that they stay on the wrong side of things. We have enough good guys to look up to, it’s time for some fun villains for a change.