Title: The Extraordinaries by T.J. Klune
Published: July 14, 2020 by Tor Teen
Edition: Hardcover, 405 pages
Rating: 4/5 stars
Nick Bell? Not extraordinary. But being the most popular fanfiction writer in the Extraordinaries fandom is a superpower, right?
After a chance encounter with Shadow Star, Nova City’s mightiest hero (and Nick’s biggest crush), Nick sets out to make himself extraordinary. And he’ll do it with or without the reluctant help of Seth Gray, Nick’s best friend (and maybe the love of his life).
Full of valiant adventures, thrilling twists, queer romance, and laugh-out-loud humor, this is the beginning of a remarkable story about a fanboy with ADHD and the heroes he loves.
I won’t lie to you, this book was cute. It was a solid 4 star read for me. I would absolutely re-read this, and I’m highly anticipating the next books in the series. The Extraordinaries by T.J. Klune is funny, endearing, and an all-around fun story to read. I loved more about this book than I didn’t, though I do realize that this book may not be a win for everyone. I’m going to avoid any spoilers since this is a fairly new release, but I do want to talk about the things that made me so fond of this book, as well as give you some insight as to why you might not love it.
One thing to know about me: I love fluffy, cheesy, CUTE young adult reads. This book checked all of those boxes. Yes, it was a bit predictable and somewhat cheesy, I’ll acknowledge that, but if you go into this book expecting and embracing this cheesiness, you’re going to have much more fun while reading.
I found this book to be cute and funny, though I was surprised at how much I related to it. I laughed out loud several times, mainly because our main character, Nick, is so funny and relatable. On the other hand, we get to see his struggle with his ADHD and a recent family tragedy, all while navigating high school, grief, and maybe-maybe not having feelings for someone. Having been 16 years old, and a fangirl (though I was never brave enough to write fanfiction), I feel like this is a book my younger self would have absolutely loved. And one that my current-self cringed at while thinking back to the days of posting my own original fiction on Wattpad… yikes. But, moving on, I loved that the teenagers in this book acted and spoke like actual teenagers. I feel like it’s a rarity for me to find that in a book, considering I mainly read fantasy and YA fantasy.
Another thing I loved about this book is the characters. All of them were wonderful and, in my opinion, well-developed, but I would ESPECIALLY risk it all for Seth Gray, Nick’s best friend. He was such a complex character, and most of my favorite scenes in this book happened when Seth was on the page. @ T.J. Klune, if you ever write a Seth spin-off story, I will be first in line to read that book. Sign me the heck up.
This book featured some of my FAVORITE tropes, like friends to lovers, a main character who is completely oblivious to the fact that someone is in love with them, and found family within a close-knit friend group. This books also fairly diverse and an Own Voices novel, which I am always striving to read more of. And although it is a superhero book, which I am typically not a fan of, this one was lighthearted and didn’t take itself too seriously, which I greatly appreciated.
Now, on to the things I didn’t love… Our main character’s father is a cop, and so there is a bit of commentary on the police force in this novel, largely regarded in a positive light. Given the current political and social climate surrounding the Black Lives Matter movement and the ongoing discourse regarding police brutality against marginalized communities, other reviewers have pointed out how this is tone deaf. I don’t think this was done with malicious intent by the author, but I still felt it was worth mentioning in case you’re interested in picking this book up. The pacing of this book was also a bit slow. At about the halfway mark, I felt like we were really going to get into the action, and yet I still had 200 pages to go. I wish things had moved a bit more quickly, but overall, I really really enjoyed this story and will be picking up the sequel, whenever it may come.
Thank you so much for reading today, if you’ve read this book, please let me know your thoughts below, I would love to chat with you! Until next time, happy reading.