I Am Not Starfire is a lighthearted coming of age/this girl isn’t like the other superhero story. There are several obvious situations and solutions, but Mariko Tamaki’s text makes them fun and while not necessarily fresh, they are enjoyable to read.
There are several characters who are diverse (due to race, sexuality, or personality). Of course, the story of the superhero Titan Starfire is multi-layered: she is the ultimate immigrant (she is not from this world), she is a single mom, and she is raising a child that might at first looked up to her and now hates the shadow she lives in. That child is Mandy, seventeen-years-old, dyed black hair, ripped tights, and untucked school shirt. If her attitude, her best friend Lincoln, and her crush on the popular girl did not make her different already, the fact she has no superpowers and does not know who her dad is (though rumor mill has it as Nightwing), would. It is not until the past catches up to Starfire, that Mandy must face up to her present and future.
Yoshi Yoshitani’s artwork is equally fun and enjoyable. There are bold colors, traditional panel formats that also bleed into its own style. The feelings of the characters are drawn on their face (stereotypical the cute girl has “glow” around her, cheeks are red from embarrassment, eyes are rolled to show exasperation). Colorful and lightness of details, lines and images compliment the easy-going text.
Fun for the 12 and up crowd, though younger can read. There is some language but nothing anyone probably has not heard before.
And on a side note, if you haven’t read this author and do not want to do a superhero story, I would recommend starting with This One Summer, or Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up with Me (as these are the two non-superhero ones I have read). If you do like superheroes and DC in particular, you can also read Harley Quinn Breaking Glass that is an anti-hero story. They have several traditional comic book looking works as well as the more graphic novel novels.