Authors: Shannon Hale & Dean Hale
Series: The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl novels #2
Squirrel Girl is BACK in an all-new adventure and things are about to get . . . hairy. Thanks to Squirrel Girl, Ana Sofia, and the Squirrel Scouts, the crime rate in New Jersey is at an all time low. It makes for safer streets but also bored-er squirrels. That’s why it’s super exciting when Doreen’s school announces a new mall is being built right next to their town. Mmmm . . . Doreen can smell the soft pretzels now. The corporation building mall has also announced that there will be a competition to choose the mall’s mascot. Because malls need mascots?Anyway, Doreen’s school will be voting for a cat and the neighboring school will be voting for a dog. As the relationship starts to unravel between the two towns, Squirrel Girl and her friends suspect something more sinister is at work. With the help of old friends like Ana Sofia, Tippy Toe, and The Mighty Thor as well as some surprising new ones, Squirrel Girl will squash a villainous plot and save everyone.The unbeatable Squirrel Girl is ready for more nuts AND more butts! Are you?
It happened again. I tried to follow a reading schedule that would allow me to read books and comics and I was able to stick to it for like 6 months before getting behind on comics. Almost a year has passed without reading one. I want to make some time for them, but I can’t see how. Between that and that my reading device died a true death, I guess I will have to accept that I’m not reading comics anytime soon. But books with Marvel superheroes? I have a clear schedule for them!
In this second book we get to follow Squirrel Girl adventures once more (otherwise the title and the cover would have been very misleading…). All the neighbours of her town are very excited about the new mall. The public relationships guy is doing a superb job at getting the town engaged for the opening. The students of two schools are being told to do a campaign for the mall mascot. The team that wins will be gifted with a pizza party. Doreen’s school is Team Cat and, with a superhero in their midst, it seem pretty unfair for the other school. But Team Dog is also quite strong and a weird animosity between them starts to brew. No wonder there is something fishy going on, the mall is run by one of the most villainous organizations of the Marvel Universe…
I said it before and I will say it again: The Unbeatable Squireel Girl rocks! One of the best superheroes out there with an amazing comic run written by Ryan North. The first novel based on that character was nice, but I felt that it was trying too hard to capture the epicness of the comics. This second book is much better. The more fluent style tells me that the authors are more comfortable with the character and with what they want to tell. The story is much better, the pace is much more lifely, the action is constant and the sense of humor is above awesome. It’s not perfect, but it is way closer to perfection than the first book.
Doreen is well known in the Marvel Universe for her epic victories against some of the biggest baddies from the comics. This book drinks from that idea and pairs her against a covert opeartion of Hydra. One of the worst organizations that has ever existed. Ask Captain America if you don’t believe me! A small town obviously has a small Hydra branch, but evil enough to create havoc that only Squirrel Girl and his army can solve. The lovely craziness of the story didn’t remind me of Ryan North’s comicbooks. It reminded me very strongly of G. Willow’s style in the Ms. Marvel comics. In case you are wondering, no, that is not a bad thing. Au contraire mon ami (I’m feeling my Gambit side, today! :P). It is the perfect approach for a book meant for a younger audience.
The story is a lot of fun, but the gold mine of this book rests in those chapters with group chats and forum posts. They are so, so… which word is greater than awesome? Nuts? I laughed a lot with those. Marvel humor at its best. The exchanges between some of the most popular characters (in both sides of the law) are legendary. I have had such a good time with those that I wish there were more. I would devour a whole book with just much more of that! That is the kind of humor my Marvel fan heart cherishes. The kind of humor thast is actually meant to be read by fans like me. Weirdly though, most adult fans would never read this book and most kids who read it won’t understand what they are being told in those chapters. In order to achive full enjoyment of the book, you need a rather deep knowledge of the Marvel Universe.
What it doesn’t work as smoothly as in the comics are the footnotes. Ryan uses the blank spaces of almost every page to write some comment or joke. This book tries to replicate the same. I bet in a printed edition they must look nice, but in my Kindle edition with a pretty old device (it has a complete keyboard!) reading the footnotes becomes tiresome pretty quickly. Navigating through them was an effort not worthy of my time.
It seems that there are zero plans for a third book, which is sad. I need to check more books based on Marvel characters to see if there is something interesting out there. Or even better, I should try harder to clear time for reading comics again.