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About The Book

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

Portico Reeves is the greatest superhero a lot of people have never heard of. He likes it that way—then no one can get in the way of him from keeping other other people safe. Super safe. He’s Stuntboy. He’s got the moves. And the saves. Except. There’s been one major fail.

He couldn’t save his parents from becoming Xs. Which is a word that sounds like coughing up a hairball. But don’t talk to him about the divorce, because of the hairball thing, and also, it gives Portico the frets.

What’s also giving him frets is his parents living on two separate floors in their apartment building. He’s never fully with one parent or the other. He’s in-between, all the time. The in-between time. And the elevator is busted, so to get between floors means getting past the bullies who hang in the stairwells.

So when Portico and new friend, Herbert, and best best friend, Zola, discover an empty apartment, unlocked, they are psyched. It’s a perfect hideout, and hangout, and it’s not half anyone’s…it’s all theirs. So they decide to make it their own…let’s say with stunts of the drawing kind. Problem is, that gives some Grown Up People the frets, which leads to double frets for Portico. And he’s not sure his arsenal of stunts can combat that.

Reading Group Guide

Reading Group Guide

Stuntboy, In-Between Time

By Jason Reynolds, illustrated by Raúl the Third

About the Book

Author Jason Reynolds and illustrator Raúl the Third have collaborated again with Stuntboy, In-Between Time. The first installment of the series ended with Portico Reeves (aka Stuntboy) finding out that his parents were separating. Now Portico will have to split his time between two apartments (or, as he thinks of it, APART-ments). Before that happens, Stuntboy, Zola, and Herbert Singletary have work to do. There are bullies to confront, pet iguanas to capture, and—best of all—Herbert has discovered an entire empty apartment with blank walls to draw on. Through it all, Portico learns important lessons about taking responsibility for your actions and letting go when it’s time to move on to something new.

Discussion Questions

1. Stuntboy, In-Between Time begins with a summary of what happened in the first Stuntboy book. Share additional memorable or important details if you have read Stuntboy, in the Meantime. If this is your first time reading about Stuntboy, what questions do you have about the first book?

2. How can you tell Portico is worried about spending the night in his father’s new apartment? Why do you think he feels this way?

3. Portico calls the feeling of anxiety “the Frets.” How do the Frets make him feel physically and emotionally? Why do you think turning into Stuntboy helps him overcome these feelings? What helps you when you feel anxious?

4. When a text reveals something through a character’s speech, thoughts, effect on others, actions, or looks, we call it indirect characterization. What does Portico’s dream (pp. 17–19) reveal about how he feels about his parents’ separation?

5. Why does Portico believe his father has the “coolest job in the world”? (pp. 23–24) What jobs do you think would be cool? Explain your answers.

6. Stream of consciousness is a type of narration that re-creates the unfiltered internal thoughts of a character. On page 43, when Portico is stuck on the elevator with Ms. Rosedale, he “explodes” with a torrent of words in the stream-of-consciousness style. What does this section reveal about what he fears will happen to them in the elevator?

7. The Super Space Warriors episodes in the first book, Stuntboy, in the Meantime, could be viewed as allegories, with space warriors Mater and Pater’s arguments representing the conflict between Portico’s parents. The episodes in this book feature two new characters: Frater and Soror. Who do you think they represent? Explain the parallels between the Super Space Warriors episodes and the plot of Stuntboy, In-Between Time.

8. Do you think Gran-Gran suspects that Portico has a secret superhero identity? Explain your answer.

9. Who are the Worsts? What makes them “ugly-stinkies”? Why isn’t Herbert one of the Worsts anymore?

10. Why do Portico, Herbert, and Zola draw on the walls of the empty apartment? What do each of their drawings reveal about what they care about?

11. Jason Reynolds writes that one of the things a refrigerator magnet does is “make a house a home.” (p. 28) What is significant about Portico’s decision to put the Las Vegas magnet on the refrigerator in the empty apartment? What things do you think make a house feel like a home?

12. Why does Portico carry the bag of trash with him? Have you ever wanted to keep something even though it was broken or outgrown?

13. Reynolds writes: “In case you were wondering . . . Your imagination can change the way everything tastes. Food. Water. Life.” (p. 108) How does Portico’s imagination help him when he has the Frets? How could your imagination help you deal with something unpleasant?

14. Portico’s Gran Gran has a rule that she will cover for Portico no more than once a day because “even though she was his friend, she was not one of his little friends.” (p. 145) Explain what Gran Gran means when she says this.

15. What are some examples of ways that Portico, Zola, and Herbert are good friends to one another? What qualities do you think are the most important in a friend?

16. Why is Soup angry when he sees the drawings on the wall of the empty apartment? How do Portico, Herbert, and Zola respond when Soup asks what they have done?

17. When Gran Gran finds out about Portico’s drawing on the walls, she tells him that she is disappointed in him. Portico comments, “That’s the worst possible thing she could’ve said.” (p. 205) Do you agree? Would you rather have someone be angry with you or disappointed in you? Explain your answer.

18. Even though Grandpa Pepper, Zola’s grandfather, is the person renting the empty apartment and he likes the drawings Portico, Zola, and Herbert made, he still tells Zola she needs to tell her parents what she has done. (pp. 218–19) Why is it important for them to confess what they did and receive a consequence for their actions?

19. What happens when Portico finally tells his father how he feels about the new apartment and the fact that they don’t live together as a family anymore? What might have happened if he had not told his father the truth?

20. We call a character who changes or develops a dynamic character. How is Portico’s dream on pages 253–259 different from his dream at the beginning of the book? What does it reveal about what Portico has learned and how he has changed?

Extension Activities

1. Stuntboy’s superpower is “to do all the hard stunts so the heroes don’t have to do any.” (p. 3) Some of his stunts are described on pages 33–34. Using these pages as an example, design and name your own stunts and create a game where players try to (safely and responsibly) demonstrate the stunts.

2. Talking with Ms. Brown makes Portico think about times he would like to revisit: “like when his mom and dad took him on a roller coaster for the first time and his dad screamed like a police siren. Or all the Friday night movies they’d watch together, and how every week someone got to make the popcorn, which was fun because everyone had their own popcorn recipes.” (p. 38) Think of a time in your life you would like to revisit and write a descriptive essay about that time. Include as many sensory details as you can to help capture the memory.

3. Portico thinks his mother’s meditation retreat involves running with her eyes closed because the word retreat has multiple meanings. (pp. 52–53) A joke based on words that sound the same but have different meanings is called a pun. Write a sentence containing a pun you create and include an illustration to go with the pun in the style of Raúl the Third’s illustration on page 52.

4. Grandpa Pepper has a very creative job. He “‘comes up with names for nail polishes. He always thinking about colors, but, in a different way.’” (p. 61) While his names for different colors are unusual, they are figurative language that creatively describes them. Create a chart of colors and name them with descriptive phrases of your own.

5. Jason Reynolds writes, “An empty apartment in Skylight Gardens was a gold mine! It was like a playground with no playground stuff.” (p. 66) Write a creative story about finding an empty apartment or house. Who would you tell about it? What would you do with it? Would you get caught?

6. Zola says, “‘What’s your superpower?’ is a better question than ‘If you could be a superhero, which superhero would you be?’” (pp. 69–70). Everyone has a talent, skill, or ability. Zola can become very still and concentrate, allowing her to catch almost anything. Portico’s imagination helps him overcome the Frets. What is your special talent, skill, or ability? Using your imagination, how could you turn this into your superpower? Create a comic strip about using your superpower.

7. Bean Bosworth has an apartment full of iguanas she does not know how to care for (Reynolds explains what you need to keep iguanas as pets on page 118). What would you choose if you could have any animal as a pet? Research what you would need to care for the pet and design a creative habitat in the style of the one that Portico, Zola, and Herbert built for Bean Bosworth’s iguanas.

Note: Page numbers refer to the hardcover edition of this title.

Guide prepared by Amy Jurskis, English Department Chair at Oxbridge Academy in Florida.

This guide has been provided by Simon & Schuster for classroom, library, and reading group use. It may be reproduced in its entirety or excerpted for these purposes.

About The Author

Photograph (c) Adedayo "Dayo" Kosoko

Jason Reynolds is a #1 New York Times bestselling author, a Newbery Award Honoree, a Printz Award Honoree, a two-time National Book Award finalist, a Kirkus Award winner, a UK Carnegie Medal winner, a two-time Walter Dean Myers Award winner, an NAACP Image Award Winner, an Odyssey Award Winner and two-time honoree, and the recipient of multiple Coretta Scott King honors and the Margaret A. Edwards Award. He was also the 2020–2022 National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature. His many books include All American Boys (cowritten with Brendan Kiely); When I Was the GreatestThe Boy in the Black SuitStampedAs Brave as YouFor Every One; the Track series (Ghost, Patina, Sunny, and Lu); Look Both WaysStuntboy, in the MeantimeAin’t Burned All the Bright (recipient of the Caldecott Honor) and My Name Is Jason. Mine Too. (both cowritten with Jason Griffin); and Long Way Down, which received a Newbery Honor, a Printz Honor, and a Coretta Scott King Honor. His debut picture book, There Was a Party for Langston, won a Caldecott Honor and a Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honor. He lives in Washington, DC. You can find his ramblings at

About The Illustrator

Photograph (c) Elaine Bay

Raúl the Third is the illustrator of the New York Times bestselling Stuntboy, in the Meantime, by Jason Reynolds. He’s also a three-time Pura Belpré Award winner for ¡Vamos! Let’s Go to The Market! and his Lowrider picture book series written by Cathy Camper, the first of which, Lowriders in Space, also won the Texas Bluebonnet. Raúl is also the author and illustrator of ¡Vamos! Let’s Go Eat and ¡Vamos! Let’s Cross the Bridge. His work centers around the contemporary Mexican American experience and his memories of growing up in El Paso, Texas, and Ciudad Juárez, Mexico. He’s also contributed to the SpongeBob Comics series. He lives outside of Boston.

Product Details

  • Publisher: Atheneum/Caitlyn Dlouhy Books (August 29, 2023)
  • Length: 272 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781534418240
  • Ages: 7 - 12

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Raves and Reviews

Once again, Reynolds adroitly weaves emotional business into the teeming tapestry of apartment houselife by surrounding his caped protagonist, still struggling with his parents’ recent separation, with a colorful cast depicted by Raúl the Third in typically snappy, dynamic flurries of motion on nearly every page.

– Booklist STARRED Review, 6/1/23

The episodic storytelling with cleverly illustrated asides documents the building’s residents and even takes metanarrative shots at the creators in a charmingly relatable account of an adventurous kid pursuing hijinks with best friend Zola and new friend/former bully Herbert. Fun and emotionally perceptive.

– Kirkus Reviews, 06/15/23

Jason Reynolds (Track series) and Raúl the Third (Strollercoaster) join forces again in Stuntboy, In-Between Time, the hilarious and moving follow-up to Stuntboy, in the Meantime, about the new challenges faced by "the greatest superhero you've never ever heard of." Reynolds's text is accessible, providing a quick, entertaining read that directly covers topics of divorce, friendship, and anxiety. Raúl the Third's digital illustrations enhance the superhero tone with loose, sketchy lines that show movement; intentionally chosen pops of color in the grayscale art focus the eye on important details. Stuntboy, In-Between Time can be read as a stand-alone and is a perfect book for middle-grade readers who love superheroes.

– Shelf Awareness for Readers, 9/8/23

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More books from this author: Jason Reynolds

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