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When Newt Newman's football-star brother, Chris, is knocked into a coma during the biggest game of the season, Newt's two best friends keep his mind off of the accident by helping him create the ultimate Halloween costume: Captain Nobody. Newt feels strong and confident in his new getup, so he keeps wearing it after Halloween is over. Soon Newt assumes the role of a hero in a string of exploits that include foiling a robbery and saving a planeload of passengers. But will Captain Nobody be able to save the one person he cares about most?
Tired of being ignored by classmates, Newt and his two best friends decide to create Halloween costumes that will make them stand out and let them discover their "inner other.... who we would be if we didn't have to be us." But before Halloween arrives, 10-year-old Newt's world shatters: his football star brother, Chris, is knocked unconscious in the season's final game and lies comatose in the hospital. At the last minute, Newt fashions a superhero Halloween costume from Chris's old clothes and dubs himself Captain Nobody. Wearing this outfit during the ensuing days, Newt ushers home a lost man with dementia, foils a jewelry-store robbery and inadvertently brings traffic to a standstill, clearing the freeway just in time for a plane's emergency landing. Despite his spotlight-grabbing heroics, the frustrated boy laments, "I can't even save my own brother." Though Pitchford (The Big One-Oh) builds suspense adeptly, the novel takes some improbable turns. Yet the young narrator's earnest voice and his raw sense of helplessness are real and affecting. Ages 8 12.