My rating: 3 of 5 stars
I received an ARC via Goodreads which didn't influence my review one way or the other. I have to admit it, I wasn't thrilled with the beginning of this one. Other parts I really enjoyed but if I hadn't felt obligated to read this because that's part of the covenant I entered into in winning it, I might not have gotten to the better parts.
Part of my problem with the beginning was I'm not a fifteen year old girl anymore, like our protagonist is. Sarah spends the first few chapters fan girling over Freedom Boy. Almost every thought is either about him or getting into Hero Academy. Here's the thing, I didn't like girls like that even when I was fifteen.
The story does settle down though, especially once Sarah's mentor Sam enters the picture and is pretty enjoyable from there in. But let me back up to the beginning. All Sarah wants, other than to meet Freedom Boy, is to get into Hero Academy. Her mother used to be the dean there before she went all super villainess. But things aren't in her favor. Not only did Mom turn in her hero cape, Sarah's brother, Johnny, dropped out of the school, opting to go to Harris High with Normals (non-powered kids) and Misshapes (kids whose super powers are frankly not that super). Her dad is a Misshape and frankly Misshapes have a hard place to be. They're looked down upon by the Heroes but they don't fit in with the kids with no powers either.
Sarah's young dreams take a hit. SHe is denied entry into the Academy but Dr. Mann, the new dean promises her, if she shapes up her weather control (she uses emotion for this), then she can get in the following year. For now, she's relegated to the Civics class in Harris High with her fellow Misshapes. However, for some reason, Freedom Boy wants to date her.
And in those early OOoo dating Freedom chapters, I found myself wishing either Johnny or her cousin Betty were the lead. They share the ability to turn any water into alcohol and it could kill them if they aren't careful. Frankly, that was more interesting to me than yet another weather controller.
But then Sarah stumbles over a naked young man who turns out to be another Academy drop out who can control weather and has a very cool job with a local company. Sam is willing to train Sarah.
As the story progresses, Sarah is torn between desperately wanting to be a hero and fitting in with her Misshape friends. Soon there are dark things in Doolittle Falls. The stakes do get very high and none of the Misshapes will escape unscathed if something isn't done.
I did like this over all, in spite of my feelings about the beginning. However, I would have liked to see the hints of bad things ahead coming earlier in the story than we got them. Much earlier. It felt like there was no real threat to the story until about mid-way in. Before that, it was just, can she train hard enough to get into the Academy.
One thing I didn't take into consideration in my review because I had an uncorrected proof and I'm hoping the grammar blips and formatting issues will be taken care of later, is the font. I really hope this isn't the font they're going to use. It's miniscule, very hard to read. So, if you like superheroes, you'll probably enjoy this
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(and judging by some other reviews, they haven't ever read a comic book if they think a bit of violence and comic book names don't go together)