BOOK REPORT for The Supervillain and Me by Danielle Banas

Cover Story: Headless Cutesy

BFF Charm: Meh

Swoonworthy Scale: 3

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Talky Talk: A Little More Preparation, A Little More Action

Bonus Factor: Superheroes Unmasked

Relationship Status: I Can Save Myself, Thanks

 

Cover Story: Headless Cutesy

Well, I’ll admit that this cover—despite the headlessness—is what made me stop and read the synopsis for the book, so I think it’s kind of perfectly adorable for the fun summer read I was expecting. But it’s so painfully obvious that in the book the Iron Phantom wears all black—so who is this dude in green?

The Deal:

Abby Hamilton is a few things: the daughter to the Mayor of Morriston, a city with one of the highest crime rates in the country; the sister to the Red Comet, one of the city’s most popular superheroes; and a theater kid who considers herself extraordinarily ordinary. Most cities have their own superhero or two to chase down bad guys and save kittens in trees, and so Abby thinks she’s simply found another one when a guy wearing all black steps in to save her during a mugging. But the very next day, the newly monikered Iron Phantom is seen burning down City Hall. Whoops.

So you can imagine how startled Abby is when this newly-minted “villain” shows up in her bedroom that same night, asking for her help to spy on her father and his office so the Iron Phantom can figure out what’s the deal with these tiny microchips he found inside City Hall. Is he really as bad as everyone says?

BFF Charm: Meh

Sorry, Abby, but you only have one friend, Sarah: an ultimate fangirl who I found fairly annoying, and when you’re not hanging out with super-people you’re at the theater rehearsing for the high school play. I don’t know when we’d find the time to hang together, but I also don’t know what we’d talk about because you don’t seem to have any interests outside the supers (though that rom-com musical about a cannibalistic prince falling in love with a servant girl you’re in, House of Horrors, sounds delightfully bonkers).

Swoonworthy Scale: 3

Abby and the Iron Phantom connect quickly—very quickly, so I was already on guard from the instalove. There are two guys in Abby’s school she interacts with right before she meets Iron Phantom, so clearly they are both candidates to be the boy behind the mask. I knew right away which one it was (I’d tell you why, but my reason would spoil it). Abby spends about half the novel halfheartedly trying to figure out Iron Phantom’s identity. DUDE. If I were in her shoes, I’d be doing way more “oops, I tripped, but while I’m here, let me feel your muscles and stare intently at your chin and mouth so I can compare them with the super who shows up to my room most nights” moves. They eventually connect, sans mask, but at that point I was over it because of, well, read on.

Talky Talk: A Little More Preparation, A Little More Action

The synopsis of The Supervillain and Me promised me an ambiguous romantic interest, which means there’s potential for some moral angst and he’s evil but he’s so hot conflict tinged with some charged flirty banter. Instead, the Iron Phantom was a “supervillain” by false reputation only, and his real persona was more akin to a less conflicted Batman. Things broke apart as the plot revealed that the real bad guys had a simplistic, cartoony plan to control a city that was so flat and poorly detailed that I couldn’t muster up the energy to care if all of its citizens were enslaved or not. This book needed stronger writing, deeper characters, and more stakes to really sparkle.

Bonus Factor: Superheroes Unmasked

Abby’s brother, Connor, is the Red Comet, and we also meet the man behind Fish Boy. Abby doesn’t appreciate knowing their secret identities because she feels it’s just one more thing that separates her from other normal people, having to keep these secret identities, but to that I say, PSH. I love secrets, and I love knowing things.

Relationship Status: I Can Save Myself, Thanks

You mean well, Book, and I’m sure there will be enough people who find you as beguiling as Sarah finds the Red Comet. But I’m the kinda girl who needs more than spandex and a ready smile—I want complexity and humor and charisma, so if you see me in need of some help; remember, I’m good: I’ve got a Taser.

The Supervillain and Me is available July 3.