Book review: The Supervillain and Me, by Danielle Banas

Banas, Danielle. The Supervillain and Me. Swoon Reads, 2018. $17.99. ISBN 9781250154354. 310 pgs. Ages 12+. P8Q7

Morriston is having a crime wave, and the city’s “supers” (superheroes) are doing their best to fight it. High school student Abby’s brother is secretly one- the Red Comet. A new super in town may not be so super- in fact, it looks like the Iron Phantom is behind some serious crimes, including arson. But when he rescues Abby from an attempted mugging and she gets to know him a bit, she isn’t so sure that he’s a villain. The story feels light, witty and romantic, but has some serious themes too. Mind control, the long-term impact of violence on families, and what makes a person special all are important. I really liked the focus on how imperfect the supers are- they’re real people with super powers, but they have the full range of flaws and noble attributes that we all possess.

VERDICT: Whether they are looking for a romantic comedy or a superhero story, teens will enjoy this fast and fun read.

April 2019 review by Carol Schramm.

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Book review: Save Me, by Jenny Elliott

Elliott, Jenny. Save Me. Swoon Reads, an imprint of Feiwel and Friends. 2015. $9.99. 309. 9781250061478. Grades 9-12. P8 Q7

Elliott Save Me“Witches, whales, and a forbidden soul mate—even her guardian angel might have trouble saving Cara…” This story stays in-line with its designation as a Swoon Read. Cara is a high school senior living on the central coast of Oregon. She was once a member of the popular clique, but since being dumped by her boyfriend (almost three years prior) she has only her best friend Rachel. On the weekends, Cara helps a local sea captain provide whale watch tours on a zodiac. One weekend prior to the start of her senior year, the boat is attacked by a rogue orca whale (who turns out to be the victim of witchcraft) and Cara is tossed overboard. Luckily, new-in-town David is there to rescue her from the waves. The two have a unique connection and begin a relationship. On the first day of school, Cara is horrified to find David is her new Journalism student teacher. After some hesitation, David decides to quit his job to be with Cara. In the meantime, Cara’s best friend Rachel has been hanging around her new unsavory boyfriend and appears to be possessed by a demon. This turns out to be the case, and Cara’s arch-enemy turned witch is the culprit. After the help of an Archbishop and Cara’s guardian angel, Garren, Rachel undergoes a successful exorcism, and all is well. While Catholicism is part of the story, it is not overtly religious. The story has very popular traditional supernatural themes that are not scary. Cara and David’s story of commitment is a little inappropriate because of David’s position as her teacher, but it was better to see him make the sacrifice than Cara. Overall it is safe escapist literature for young fans of the supernatural, especially teens on the Central Coast. The Swoonworthy Extras section at the back of the book showcases recipes for food prepared within the story, an interview with the author, and discussion questions for readers. April 2015 review by Lillian Curanzy.