Today, I am recommending a book written by a man I have known as both an in-character Cookie Monster talking about politics and life on the Internet, and as a freelance writer on pop culture. It’s a weird feeling, to be saying (in my own mind) “read Cookie Monster’s book!” but here I am, saying it.
This isn’t Vago’s first book: he’s written a few books for children, most notably the adorable Train, which allows children to actually lead a little train through adventures in the book. But this is his first novel for an adult audience (though it would also work nicely for a young adult audience), and it’s a great beginning!
The book follows two young superheroes: Ree, who is indestructible, and Charles, who can fling fire. I appreciated that the two stories intersect but are not constantly intermingled: it allows for their unique perspectives to be really appreciated and to build on their own. Ree reminds me of Jessica Jones: she’s a mess sometimes, but she knows when and how to take charge, and is obviously a powerful ally and formidable foe. Charles is an excellently written teenage boy, awkward and earnest, and impossible not to root for.
Another thing to appreciate here is that the violence described isn’t watered down to the point of feeling unrealistic: there are no “POWS” or surprisingly clean punches here. We read what might actually happen if a person with super strength punched you. That isn’t to say that the book is incredibly gory. But it doesn’t hide the fact that being a superhero would mean being part of a world that contains brutality and gore.
I highly recommend this read. It reminded me a lot of Soon I Will Be Invincible, another enjoyable “becoming a superhero” read. I hope there’s more to come for Ree and Charles, as I’ll happily read it!