BWW Review: THE SUPERVILLAIN AND ME by Danielle Banas
"Heroes don't destroy things. They help. I want to help people."
~THE SUPERVILLAIN AND ME
Even if you aren't a big fan of superhero books, you're going to enjoy THE SUPERVILLAIN AND ME. The setting is super contemporary and the book is more about school and family and relationships and life with a side of heroes. (Plus, it's about being cast as the lead in a school musical where everything is going wrong!) It's very palatable if you aren't a fan of the genre. And if you are a fan? It's just as much fun!
Abby isn't a superhero and she has no desire to be one. Her brother is secretly Red Comet, the most dashing, swoonworthy hero out there. Her best friend is obsessed with Red Comet, which is kind of weird since, you know, he's her brother. Abby just rolls her eyes when it comes to the superheroes of Morriston and isn't as impressed as everyone else. She'd rather spend her time nabbing the lead in this year's school musical, Hall of Horrors. When she gets into a bad situation on the way home from school, a masked, nameless vigilante saves her. The next day, he helps a homeless man. Is there a new superhero in town? But wait...did he just burn down city hall!? Is he actually a villain? Abby isn't sure. The media names him Iron Phantom, and he starts popping up more and more in Abby's life. He swears he isn't a villain and that he's being framed. But can Abby believe it? She feels a connection to him and enjoys their conversations, but if she believes him, it may mean her dad, the Morriston Mayor, is involved in something dastardly.
This book was just so much fun. Every time I had to put it down, I was sad and wanted to get back to it. I really loved all the scenes where Abby and Iron Phantom were together. Their banter was fantastic and you could feel a real connection between them. Abby convinces herself that Iron Phantom must be someone she knows in real life, and settles on her co-star in the school musical Hall of Horrors because they have the same hair, same eyes, and same build. It makes her trust Iron Phantom even more, even when the rest of the world is calling him a villain. In and out of the mask, Abby and Iron Phantom always had the best scenes, and I love how their time together was ramped up in the back half of the book.
There was also a great emphasis on family I wasn't expecting in the novel. Abby's brother is a superhero, but he's also just this ordinary, everyday dorky, lazy teenage boy. She loves him, but it's crazy to think he could be this swoonworthy superhero. Her dad is pretty involved in her life as well, which I love seeing in a YA novel. The fact that he is the mayor and something big is going down at City Hall adds an interesting twist to the mix.
Also, how did I not know that a large chunk of this novel centered around a school musical? I LOVE books featuring musicals, especially original in-world shows. When we meet Abby, she is excited to be auditioning for Hall of Horrors, and a lot of the novel takes place at rehearsal. I love this contemporary spin brought to the world of heroes, and how knowing someone in real life may add to feelings elsewhere. Plus, a musical setting!!! Much like with ROOMIES, a recent adult novel from Christina Lauren, I wanted to know more about the in-book musical. Christina Lauren kindly sat down to do a guest post exposing their show for us to run on BroadwayWorld, and I wish I could read something like that for Hall of Heroes as well.
The book wrapped up well and had no cliffhangers, yet I wish we could keep going forever. I wasn't ready to say goodbye to Abby and Iron Phantom. I thought the way the finale played out was interesting and the stakes were higher than I expected them to be, yet I appreciated the way not everyone came out unscathed, unlike many other books with battles, be they comic or otherwise. I was excited to see Goodreads state this is the first book in a series, though no information is released about future books. Are they companion novels featuring other superheroes where Abby and Iron Phantom make cameos? Are they further journeys involving the duo? I want to know!
THE SUPERVILLAIN AND ME by Danielle Banas was published on July 10, 2018 by Macmillan / Swoon Reads.