Superpowerless by Chris Priestley

Superpowerless by Chris Priestley

Release Date: June 15, 2017
Publisher: Hot Key Books
Rated: YA 14+
Format: Paperback
Source: Pansing
Buy: Available at all good bookstores!

To his mother and his best friend, Davis is just a teenager who spends too much time reading comics in his attic bedroom.

But David is not what he seems.

He has superpowers. He is a superhero with one mission: to save a man from drowning in a sinking car.

He is also spying on his beautiful neighbour, Holly, who sunbathes in the gardens at the back of his house. And Holly has secrets of her own.

There is one last secret too–one David hides even from himself. When it it finally dragged into the light, David will have to face the truth–and face it superpowerless.

From the title alone I knew that this was going to be a poignant read. Superpowerless. Kinda makes you think, doesn't it? Of course, when I got to the synopsis I knew I had to read this one. Emotions be damned, and all that. Well, I finally sat down with this one and devoured it in a few hours. Mental illness is a big topic addressed in this book, and I thought (not having experienced it myself, but having seen others struggle with it*) that Superpowerless tackled it pretty well. Priestley's book was a moving and a very (yes, I'm really going in for this pun) powerful read.
*Obviously, since I have not experienced any form of mental illness, I cannot vouch for how accurate it is, and this is based solely on my experience through hearing other testaments, reading or seeing other depictions, and knowing people who have gone through it.

I love illustrations in a book, but not too many young adult books actually have them unfortunately. It was definitely fitting for this book though, with David's love for comic books and super heroes, so I'm glad they were featured! The illustrations are absolutely gorgeous, and I'm in awe of Priestley's artistic depictions of his story. The comic-book style drawings usually showcase parts of whatever's going on, and it generally has to do with a flashback, or David's imaginings. I thought it was such a cool visual portrayal of synecdoche, as we see parts or close-ups of images that contribute to a whole. 

'Talking for us isn't a truth game, is it?'
David scowls. What is this?
'Because we're both liars, David,' says Holly. 'Don't you see? Wouldn't it be interesting to tell the truth. Just for once. Just us. Liar to liar.'
–p. 253, paperback

Other than me geeking out over the illustrations, the characters were so well fleshed out–even the secondary ones. You could really get a grip on the characters interact with one another, how David perceives them and how they perceive David. The writing style is a little different than the usual first-person or third-person perspective because it describes the actions (and I hope I'm describing this correctly) as if a narrator would. "David is reading a comic book in his attic" is sort of the way the prose is written, and while it mainly focuses on David's character, we come to know of other character's thoughts and feelings every now and then. It's a pretty unique way of storytelling, in combination with the drawings, and it absolutely lead to an interesting reading experience.

I'm gonna address the elephant in the synopsis: the spying on Holly as she sunbathes bit. Yeah...obviously I was not okay with that part, because 1) it's creepy and 2) why are guys like that, buttttt as much as I hated it, it 1) seems like a pretty realistic portrayal, because I mean teenagers are just hormonal in general (there's no denying that fact) and 2) it added to David's character. Definitely not saying that the spying okay, because it most certainly is not, but the constant thoughts about girls and all that hits the nail in creating a realistic teenager. But I do love the relationship that develops between Holly and David. Not gonna say what kind of relationship it is exactly, but it was wonderfully played out throughout the book, and provided some moments of relief as well from the sad storyline.

Raw and compelling with these fantastic (I seriously can't get enough of them) illustrations woven in, Superpowerless is a touching story about a boy who tries to move on from tragedy, but is held back by a secret. With fantastic and complex characters tied into an enthralling narrative, Chris Priestley's latest novel is remarkable.

▪ ▪ ▪ Thank you so much to Sasha at Pansing for sending me a copy for review! ▪ ▪ ▪

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1 comment:

  1. I haven't heard of this one before but it does actually sound pretty good. I love when novels have illustrations, maps, and diagrams too! You're right, we don't get to see that very often so the fact that this has them makes me interested even more. Definitely a bit creepy about the spying on Holly thing but like you said, that's completely realistic. Great review!


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