In the 22nd century, the population includes meta-humans, those whose dormant superhuman powers were activated by the solar flares that also sparked World War III.
Jessica Tran struggles to find her voice as a regular teen sandwiched between an older sister who inherited their father’s ability to fly and an intellectually brilliant younger brother. The daughter of Vietnamese and Chinese refugees, bisexual Jess is a Nevada high school junior with two best friends, Bells, a Creole trans man, and Emma, who is wealthy and Latina. While the trio avidly follow the exploits of Captain Orion, celebrity face of the Heroes’ League of Heroes, Jess has kept quiet her parents’ undercover identities as their city’s minor local superheroes. An internship at a leading tech giant results in another secret: the fact that she’s now working on behalf of her parents’ longtime enemies. With her fellow intern Abby, a red-haired, blue-eyed, white girl she is desperately attracted to, Jess gets involved in adventures far more risky than the boring clerical job she signed on for. Although the central romance is sweet, and Jess and her friends are appealing, the writing suffers from more telling than showing, awkward word choices that pull readers out of the story, and inconsistent descriptions of individual characters as well as the world of the novel.
A superhero tale that never quite takes flight. (Science fiction. 14-18)