Move over Peter Parker, a new Spidey’s in town!
Spider-Man is forced to confront girls, evil, and identity crises, all while trying to survive junior year. In his latest work, Reynolds (Ghost, 2016, etc.)—a Kirkus Prize and Coretta Scott King Award winner—crafts an enjoyable piece of superhero fiction that completely transcends its genre. The result is an engrossing novel for teens boasting familiar and timely themes that add flavor and complexity to the Spider-Man mythos. In 2017, Miles Morales—a half-black/half–Puerto Rican teen on scholarship at an elite prep school—wears the famous mask and is a contemporary Everykid burdened by a family past that defines him as much as his powers do. Hailing from the Brooklyn projects, he represents countless teens whose life struggles are radically different from those Parker endured in the relative comforts of 1960s suburbia. In the author’s capable hands, Brooklyn’s sensory details, from the performers on the subway to the smells of Mrs. Morales’ fried chicken, practically pop off of the page. The narrative is anchored by strong, nuanced characters, particularly Miles’ tough-but-loving parents, Ganke, his Korean-American best friend, and his uncle Aaron, whose criminal past led to the development of Miles’ powers. Miles’ struggle to balance his superhero calling with familial pressure to make it out of the projects renders him all the more sympathetic.
A page-turner with a heart and a soul. (Fantasy. 12-18)