Gotham Academy: Second Semester Vol 1 is the second arc of the YA-oriented series for DC and picks up after the winter break for the kids at GA.
(Non-spoiler series blurb for those who missed the first arc: our main character is Olive Silverlock, a returning scholarship student at Gotham Academy. Olive suffered a pretty traumatic event over the summer which resulted in her mother being institutionalized. Her best friend is Mia “Maps” Mizoguchi, an enthusiastic and inquisitive freshman bent on uncovering all the secrets, real or imagined, at their slightly spooky school. The series is set in Gotham, so we get a couple of Batfam appearances, but the stories don’t center on them. Other characters include Olive’s ex and Mia’s big brother, Kyle Mizoguchi, school delinquent Colton Rivera, and head mean girl Pomeline Fritch.)
Olive Silverlock returns to Gotham Academy to find herself assigned a new roommate who proves to be more of a handful than her friends. Amy is set on making mischief, often leaving Olive holding the bag for her trouble. Maps is a bit put out that her plan to share a room with Olive have been put on hold by the new arrival, but she’s on to a new mystery: the new “witch club” on campus is making people act really strange. And, of course, we get a huge revelation about Silverlock legacy and what that means for Olive.
There’s a lot of love about the Gotham Academy series. Olive, Maps, Kyle, Colton, and Pomeline are likable kids. The book feels like a slightly edgier version of the Scooby Gang (1.0, not Buffy), but the kids are still recognizable as kids. I like that it’s a low-stakes story and that it’s not closely tied to the larger Batfamily stories. Olive isn’t trying to save the world, or even Gotham; she’s just trying to make it through sophomore year. Given the cliffhanger of an ending, this might be enough of a struggle.
Though the tone of this volume is not quite as peppy as the first arc, the Gotham Academy books remain something I would have no trouble putting in the hands of a young reader. My 8 year old is currently enjoying DC Super Hero Girls and this would be a nice next step when she’s ready for something beyond that series.
This volume collects Gotham Academy: Second Semester #1-3, 5-8. I received an advance copy of this volume for review from the publisher via NetGalley.