Fandoms and feelings collide in this epic tale of superhero plus ones.
Summer break sees purple-haired, 17-year-old Claire vying for a highly competitive internship with Warrior Nation, a group of superheroes. But none of the fan theories she devours could prepare her for falling for the group’s youngest recruit, a “hot, teenage girl” named Joy, aka Girl Power. Meanwhile, fellow teen Bridgette wants to make a name for herself as an artist without banking on the fame of her superboyfriend, 20-something Matt, aka Vaporizer. When a supervillain kidnaps Warrior Nation’s heroes, Claire and Bridgette must step up and save Chicago in their stead. But can they uncover the villain’s identity before it’s too late? Cestari’s (The Fairest Kind of Love, 2019, etc.) latest packages internet fan culture alongside corporatized superhero culture for a smartly contemporary twist. The narrative shifts between Claire and Bridgette, interspersing text messages, tweets, and excerpts from fake media. While basic criminal motivations make for an ultimately weak resolution, the text is buoyed by its quick plot, contagious tone, and banter-filled romance. The pressure on heroes to develop personal brands invites surface-level discussion of the impossible standards placed on women. Though two heroes of color make up Warrior Nation’s quartet (Vaporizer has “dark chocolate eyes” and “caramel” skin; Earthquake is cued as black), the story is primarily driven by white main characters.
Sky-high superfeels. (Science fiction. 14-adult)