A superhero story for a new era...
Sandy Grubb's debut middle grade adventure novel is coming out April 16, 2024. Winner of Regal House Publishing's Kraken prize for outstanding middle grade fiction, it's a delightful superhero story for a new era.
Townley has lived his entire life—all eleven years—at Black Butte Ranch, nestled in the foothills of the snow-capped Cascade Mountains. While his parents push him to study harder, practice sports more, and make friends his own age, Nick prefers to retreat into his superhero universe and create exciting Adventures of Click comics.
When a string of robberies threatens Dad' s job, forcing them to move across the country, Nick' s world implodes. He loves his home, and what will he do about the $237,000 in cash under his bed that Great Gramp gave him before he died? Desperate to stop the move, Nick steps off his comic book pages and ventures into the night as Click, an undercover superhero. Catching thieves would be a lot easier if he had actual superpowers.
When three new kids discover his identity and want to join him, Nick vows to stay undercover... until he realizes even a superhero needs friends. But can he ask them to put their lives in danger to save his home?
What would Click do?
Praise for Just Like Click
"The story is compulsively readable, as the pace is dynamic—sometimes exciting and other times tender and contemplative. Nick’s character is easy to relate to in a story that highlights his creativity, self-doubt, grief, patience, and genuine dedication to serving others. The prose is never patronizing and always deeply engaging, with descriptive passages that put the reader in Nick’s shoes; one feels his attachment to his home and to his developing relationships. Each character has their own distinct voice, backstory, and sensibilities, all filtered through Nick’s perspective."
FIVE STAR REVIEW: "This book is taking a spot on my possible-favorites-of-the-year list. Summed up, this is an exciting read, which does a masterful job at weaving imagination, adventure, and heart, while demonstrating that kids can make a huge difference, too. It inspires readers to be superheroes." (Read full review here.)
—Tonja Drecker for Bookworm for Kids
FIVE STAR REVIEW: "Bursting at the seams with adventure, Sandy Grubb’s Just Like Click is a joy from start to finish! What makes this story special is that it’s just so interesting. Sure, each new adventure and plot twist is grounded in reality, but every scene inspires a sense of wonder at the small things. (How would a kid go about finding a lost parrot?) Nick’s efforts to be true to himself while trying connect with his friends—and live up to his father’s ideas of what a boy should be—will resonate with many young readers. Perfect for fans of Gordon Korman or E.L. Konigsburg."
—Jude Atwood, author of Maybe There Are Witches
"Just Like Click is a book that will captivate you from the first page. You can't help but be drawn into Nick's world of adventure and excitement. You will root for him as he faces challenges and overcomes obstacles, and his bravery and determination will inspire you. Nick's story reminds us that we all have the power to be superheroes and that, sometimes, all it takes is a little courage and a few good friends. Award-winning author Sandy Grubb has crafted a masterpiece that will keep you on the edge of your seat from beginning to end. Join the hero as he faces impossible odds and fights for what he believes in. With heartwarming moments and breathtaking action scenes, this book will leave a lasting impression."
—Midwest Book Review
"Expertly paced, with a surplus of heart that equals its humor, Just Like Click delivers the best of middle grade. Nick Townley is the quintessential outside-the-box middle school hero, striving for truth and justice in a world run and bungled by adults, hampered by bullies, and defined by social mores that complicate and obfuscate our shared humanity. Without ego (and often without common sense), Nick generates acts of compassion as an ad hoc superhero for his mountain community of Black Butte Ranch: for the elderly, for his friends, for misunderstood pets and wildlife, and ultimately in the end, through the process of the hero's journey, compassion for himself by focusing on what he can do, not where he falls short. L.L. Tisdel's wonderful graphic novel-style illustrations add another layer of richness and levity to each chapter. Where so many middle grade novels spell everything out to the reader, Grubb's work respects the reader's intelligence. The motivation and heartache behind Nick's selflessness is teased out slowly, often in asides by Nick himself. I'm confident this book will not only be a joy to the young reader, but possibly a guidebook and model for them, showing them they too can embrace their own outside-the-box spirit and shine as bright as Superman recharged by the sun."
—J.R. Potter, author and illustrator of the Thomas Creeper series
“In a summer filled with mysteries, comics, friendships and midnight rescue missions, Nick learns that sometimes a superhero has to save himself. Engaging debut!”
—Kirby Larson, author of Newbery Honor Book, Hattie Big
Sky, and the Dogs of World War II series
“It’s a bird! It’s a plane…it’s Click, the undercover superhero of Black Butte Ranch! Even though he can’t fly, Nick fights for truth and justice with the only superpowers he has—his friends and his heart.”
—Jody J. Little, author of Mostly the Honest Truth and Worse
“With the perfect blend of comics and adventure, Nick shows it’s not tights or capes that make a superhero, but friends who believe in you.”
—Sarvinder Naberhaus, award winning author of Blue Sky
FIVE STAR REVIEW: "Sandy Grubb’s Just Like Click is a reminder that not all heroes wear a cape. Nick has a heart of gold, and I love this character...Sandy did a good job with the portrayal of the conflict between Nick’s passions and the expectations of his parents, and I think many readers will be able to relate to it. I would recommend this book."
—Afifa Raisa for Readers' Favorite
“In this humorous and heart-warming story of a boy who wishes he were someone else, Sandy Grubb deftly captures the pangs and pitfalls of early adolescence exacerbated by the complications of a family in transition. Still grieving the loss and companionship of his great-grandfather, Nick struggles to fit in with the cool kids at Black Butte Ranch and live up to his dad’s desire for him to be the best athlete. If only he could be as colorful and powerful as the Click superhero comics he’s created! The author paces the tension well as we hang on every choice that Nick makes when he swoops in to save the lives of others even as his own life seeps slowly into a black hole. With a cast of endearing characters of all ages and a setting rich with beauty and danger, Sandy Grubb has crafted a story that middle-grade kids will relate to and remember.”
—Kimberly Behre Kenna, author of Artemis Sparke and the
Sound Seekers Brigade and Jett Jamison and the Secret Storm
"An endearing story of a brave boy willing to go to great lengths for his biggest secret. Sandy Grubb’s debut does not disappoint."
—Independent Book Review