Title: Secondhand Origin Stories
Author: Lee Blauersouth
Genre: Young adult sci-fi
Published: By Createspace Independent Publishing on March 15th, 2018
Grade: Exceeds expectations
Opal has been planning to go to Chicago and join the Midwest’s superhero team, the Sentinels, since she was a little kid. That dream took on a more urgent tone when her superpowered dad was unjustly arrested for protecting a neighbor from an abusive situation. Now, she wants to be a superhero not only to protect people, but to get a platform to tell the world about the injustices of the Altered Persons Bureau, the government agency for everything relating to superpowers.
But just after Opal’s high school graduation, a supervillain with a jet and unclear motives attacks the downtown home of the Sentinels, and when Opal arrives, she finds a family on the brink of breaking apart. She meets a boy who’s been developing secret (and illegal) brain-altering nanites right under the Sentinel’s noses, another teenage superhero-hopeful who looks suspiciously like a long-dead supervillain, and the completely un-superpowered daughter of the Sentinels’ leader. Can four teens on the fringes of the superhero world handle the corruption, danger, and family secrets they’ve unearthed?
The Avengers hype has reached a fever pitch and being the Marvel fangirl that I am, I was really looking forward to a good story that would be reminiscent of the movie magic I love. I had also heard that the cast was diverse, which added to my expectations.
The strongest point of this book that almost every review I’ve read also speaks about is the cast of characters. The angst, the rebellious attitude and the identity crisis was captured brilliantly. The representation was also one of the highlights of the book because not only was it was incredibly diverse in terms of gender and sexuality, it even had good disability rep. Of course, I can’t speak to any of these personally. The plot started off a bit slow for me and I was confused at the beginning. However, after a few chapters it picked up pace and by then I had fallen in love with the characters. As it is the first book in a series, it also had to introduce the world to the readers, which was why I didn’t mind that the story had some lull points. My only reason not to rate it higher is that the writing style didn’t appeal to me personally. There was nothing technically wrong about it, but I somehow found it incredibly hard to read it. I had to use the text-to-speech feature on my phone to get through it, which took away from the reading experience a bit.
I’d recommend this book to anyone who is looking for a superhero kick to fight the post-Avengers hangover. I don’t know why anyone in their right minds wouldn’t listen to the Avengers soundtrack while reading this book because it is a match made in heaven. I’d recommend a huge tub of popcorn to go with this, my favourite being caramel-flavoured.
Have you read this book? What did you think? Are you anticipating the release of the new Avengers movie as well? Let me know in the comments below.