The Extraordinaries

Tor Teen. (Extraordinaries: Bk. 1). Jul. 2020. 400p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781250203656.
Gr 9 Up–Nick Bell is an active member of the Extraordinaries fandom, writing lengthy fan fiction pairing an original character that is obviously based on him with Nova City’s resident superhero, Shadow Star. Nick’s dad, a cop whose wife was killed in a bank robbery, wants nothing more for Nick than him staying out of trouble—a challenge that, given Nick’s ADHD, proves difficult. Shadow Star is Nick’s biggest crush, but he is also a bit conflicted: Owen, Nick’s ex as well as the son of the Burke Pharmaceuticals CEO, is constantly around, and Seth, Nick’s BFF, suddenly seems more attractive than ever before. Nick is convinced that if he can become an Extraordinary, he can ensure his father’s safety and get Shadow Star to fall in love with him. Chance encounters with Shadow Star and his nemesis, Pyro Storm, force Nick to question his dogmatic beliefs about good vs. evil. Nick’s ADHD manifests in his overt focus on details, while he ignores the glaringly obvious big picture. He’s shocked by the book’s twist, but some readers will be way ahead of him. Others, though, will appreciate the laugh-out-loud humor and well-developed supporting characters. Klune takes cues from Peter Milligan’s classic queer comic Enigma, with an Everyman bewildered by the superhero story that seems to revolve around him. A post-credits scene, clearly inspired by the trend in movies, hints at a sequel.
VERDICT Hand to teens involved in fandom, writers of fan fiction, lovers of superhero stories, and queer romance readers.

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