Superheroes Anonymous by Lexie Dunne
Published by Harper Voyager Impulse, November 18th, 2014 (Speculative Fiction / Urban Fantasy)*
I had the most fun reading this story. Gail Godwin is Hostage Girl. In a world full of superheroes and villains, she has unwittingly become, due to her small stature (her “portability”), and the rumored secret identity of her boyfriend, *the* girl that villains want to kidnap. They all want to draw out her “boyfriend,” the superhero Blaze, and know that he will rescue her. Because he does. Every single time.
Gail herself is quiet, unassuming, and not very self-confident. Small wonder, given that her only worth, as viewed by others, is to do most of the work at her office, and to be a hostage. So she plods along, being taken captive and being rescued, until the day she’s dumped by her boyfriend, and discovers that both he and Blaze are moving to Miami – at the same time as her boyfriend. She is firmly convinced that her boyfriend (sluggish, selfish, rude 24/7 gamer – in fact, I never liked him even a little). Villains lose interest in her, and her life finally returns to normal. Until the day a villain that didn’t get the memo about her breaking up with “Blaze” kidnaps her one last time.
This is such a FUN book. Nothing gets very dark, although there are dark moments. There’s a pretty even balance between butt-kicking male superheroes and butt-kicking female superheroes, which I enjoyed – one of the latter is named Plain Jane, which I really enjoyed. The life of a superhero is filled with comedic moments: medical visits and fitness tests, physical training sessions with a sadistic Brazilian superwoman, human awkwardness, and eating astonishing amounts of food to fuel superpowers.
The two things I didn’t love about this book: the cliffhanger ending, and Gail’s lack of confidence.
On Gail’s character: At times, I found her so cripplingly unsure of herself, and I kept wishing she saw just a little bit more to like about herself. Little by little, though, as she becomes more acquainted with other superheroes, she begins to see herself through their eyes – and she’s definitely not just “Hostage Girl” to them. I liked that – I liked that she slowly grows confident, and that readers are gradually introduced to the sides of Gail that nobody, including herself, sees. It’s unfortunate that the contrast is divided between her “normal” self and her “superhero” self. Not all of us can be superheroes, but we should all believe in ourselves.
The cliffhanger ending: Not just one cliffhanging plotline, but at least three! I can’t divulge, obviously, but there are SO MANY MANY things going on at the very end that just get completely cut off. And now, the word is that the sequel won’t be published until NEXT SUMMER. That’s right – Nine (NINE) months from now. Words to the wise: you may want to wait to check this one out, until closer to (or after) the sequel’s publishing date. Maybe I’ll dig up some read-alikes that I haven’t read yet, to keep me busy until then…
I want to reiterate that this book was an unalloyed pleasure to read, a truly enjoyable superhero fantasy with excitement, suspense, adventure, superpowers (obviously), and a dash of adorable romance. A charming caper with comedy and danger, romance and action, it will surely delight.
Recommended for fans of lighthearted fiction and the not-dark variety of urban fantasy, as well as fans of superheroes and comics.
Historical Superhero-esque Fantasy:
Contemporary/Alternate World with Superheroes or Monsters:
Are there any more??
*Advance copy provided by the publisher via NetGalley.
**Yes, they’re on my to-read list! To tide me over until next summer.