- The Extraordinaries by TJ Klune
Klune, TJ The Extraordinaries. Tor Teen, 2020 [400p] (The Extraordinaries) Trade ed. ISBN 9781250203656 $18.99 E-book ed. ISBN 9781250203670 $9.99 Reviewed from galleys R Gr. 8-12
As Shadow Star's biggest fan and writer of his most popular fanfic, sixteen-year-old Nick Bell is sure he knows everything about Nova City's favorite Extraordinary. Now Nick sets out to become Extraordinary himself, only to find himself distracted by his ADHD, his seemingly ever-present ex, and his new fascination with adorable best friend Seth Gray. His plans also put him in the middle of the ongoing battle between Shadow Star and nemesis Pyro Storm, both of whom are hiding more than their identities. Soon, dastardly plots unfold and secret identities are revealed, and Nick learns he knows far less than he realized about his hero, his friends, and his own heart. Part superhero homage, part sigh-worthy romance, part action-packed adventure, this novel is all kinds of comical fun. Klune skillfully strings together the tropes of the genre for an enjoyably fresh take that celebrates superhero fandom even as it playfully mocks its excesses. The real draw here is Nick himself and his myriad relationships, whose playful banter full of snark and sass gives the novel its heart and its humor, alongside plenty of genuine laugh-out-loud moments; his navel-gazing, which humorously lacks any real self-awareness, just makes him more likable. This will be a strong recommendation for genre fans who will be glad to see a post-"credits" scene that offers extra reveals and sequel potential.