Stuntboy, in the Meantime - book cover
Growing Up & Facts of Life
  • Publisher : Atheneum/Caitlyn Dlouhy Books
  • Published : 30 Nov 2021
  • Pages : 272
  • ISBN-10 : 1534418164
  • ISBN-13 : 9781534418165
  • Language : English

Stuntboy, in the Meantime

From Newbery Medal honoree and #1 New York Times bestselling author Jason Reynolds comes a hilarious, hopeful, and action-packed middle grade novel about the greatest young superhero you've never heard of, filled with illustrations by Raúl the Third!

Portico Reeves's superpower is making sure all the other superheroes-like his parents and two best friends-stay super. And safe. Super safe. And he does this all in secret. No one in his civilian life knows he's actually…Stuntboy!

But his regular Portico identity is pretty cool, too. He lives in the biggest house on the block, maybe in the whole city, which basically makes it a castle. His mom calls where they live an apartment building. But a building with fifty doors just in the hallways is definitely a castle. And behind those fifty doors live a bunch of different people who Stuntboy saves all the time. In fact, he's the only reason the cat, New Name Every Day, has nine lives.

All this is swell except for Portico's other secret, his not-so-super secret. His parents are fighting all the time. They're trying to hide it by repeatedly telling Portico to go check on a neighbor "in the meantime." But Portico knows "meantime" means his parents are heading into the Mean Time which means they're about to get into it, and well, Portico's superhero responsibility is to save them, too-as soon as he figures out how.

Only, all these secrets give Portico the worry wiggles, the frets, which his mom calls anxiety. Plus, like all superheroes, Portico has an arch-nemesis who is determined to prove that there is nothing super about Portico at all.

Editorial Reviews

"Consistently funny and undeniably thoughtful."  -- Kirkus Reviews, STARRED ― September 15, 2021

Portico Reeves, secret alter ego Stuntboy, lives amid a lively, largely Black community at "the castle"-apartment building Skylight Gardens. As Portico, he navigates tense interactions with bully Herbert Singletary the Worst, the stress of his ever-fighting parents, and his own anxiety, or "frets." As Stuntboy, meanwhile, his job is "keeping other superheroes safe, so they can save the world!" And he definitely has his hands full watching out for the castle's various larger-than-life characters-rolling down the stairs for a neighbor who's a "little wobbly," taking a tumble in lieu of shoelace-obsessed Mr. Mister, and blowing salt-and-vinegar chip crumbs in his dad's face to stop his parents' fighting. Zola Brawner, best friend for 163 days, offers support, comparing Portico's fighting parents to episodes of an in-universe television show, but his folks' dismissals and descent into the "mean time" threaten to worsen the frets. From vibrant, comic book–style art with ample color by Elaine Bay to running gags and commercial breaks that balance serious moments, there's plenty to enjoy about this engaging, high-energy collaboration by Raúl the Third (Strollercoaster) and Reynolds (Stamped). -- Publishers Weekly *STARRED REVIEW* ― October 11, 2021

BCCB – Portico Reeves lives in "a giant castle . . . made from the glassiest glass and the brickiest bricks on Earth." Skylight Gardens apartment, towering over the city and boasting "one hundred windows," "at least a million steps," and plenty of interesting neighbors, is pretty much all the residence a kid could want. Unfortunately, one particular occupant, Herbert Singletary, is out to make life miserable for Portico and his best friend, Zola. Fired up by their common passion for Super Space Warriors (and by Portico's longing for a role in a superhero universe), the friends envision Portico as Stuntboy, a sort of caped guardian who does the physical dirty work of intervention so that superheroes will be safe. Stuntboy's skills are needed now more than ever to defuse his parents' fights over personal property as they prepare for a separation that's obvious to everyone but Portico. …. [T]he presentation is successfully buoyed by the interplay of Portico's overly literal tendencies (e.g., he understands "in the meantime" to allude to his parents' "mean time" skirmishes) and by and by Raúl the Third's ebullient digital illustrations, which shine as a love letter to working class urban life. -- BCCB ― November 1, 2021

Readers Top Reviews

Amanda Shepard
4.5 stars Thanks to NetGalley and Simon & Schuster for an advanced copy of this to review! You know that pretty much anything Jason Reynolds will immediately go on my to-read list. And he’s shown that there probably isn’t anything that he can’t write! Stuntboy is a fun book that many middle grade readers will find themselves relating to. This is an illustrated chapter book, kind of along the lines of something like Diary of a Wimpy Kid. The overall tone of the novel is fun and lighthearted, reading like episodes of a TV show. Part of what makes this book so funny and entertaining is the way the story is told. The hybrid format of the book will help hit that audience that love graphic novels, too. Add on the superhero format, and you’ve definitely got yourself a winner Reynolds also puts concepts into terms that kids can understand. One of the best examples of this is Portico’s struggle with anxiety, which he calls “The Frets.” These are feelings that a lot of kids probably have, and they can work through them the way that Portico does. It’s effective, and just adds to the overall story. All in all, this is a book that a lot of kids I think will be drawn to. I’m hoping that this is the start of a new series, because I don’t think Portico’s story is done quite yet.

Short Excerpt Teaser

Episode 1: How Stuntboy Became Stuntboy