Authors: Shannon Hale & Dean Hale
Series: The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl novels #1
WHO RUNS THE WORLD? SQUIRRELS!
Fourteen-year-old Doreen Green moved from sunny California to the suburbs of New Jersey. She must start at a new school, make new friends, and continue to hide her tail. Yep, Doreen has the powers of . . . a squirrel!
After failing at several attempts to find her new BFF, Doreen feels lonely and trapped, liked a caged animal. Then one day Doreen uses her extraordinary powers to stop a group of troublemakers from causing mischief in the neighborhood, and her whole life changes. Everyone at school is talking about it! Doreen contemplates becoming a full-fledged Super Hero. And thus, Squirrel Girl is born!
She saves cats from trees, keeps the sidewalks clean, and dissuades vandalism. All is well until a real-life Super Villain steps out of the shadows and declares Squirrel Girl his archenemy. Can Doreen balance being a teenager and a Super Hero? Or will she go . . . NUTS?
It’s no secret that The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl is one of my favourite current comics. There are not enough adjectives to express how awesome it is!! When I was told Marvel was going to publish a comic featuring Doreen Green I laugh thinking it was very absurd. Nothing against the character, but she was almost a nobody. Many comics later, I wish I could punch my past self!!! Ryan North has elevated the character to such a high level that I’m already dreading the fall… Fingers crossed that that will happen in a really far future. Due to my love for Squirrel Girl, I couldn’t miss the chance of reading this book.
The story doesn’t take place in the current Marvel timeline (which is cramped enough). Instead, we get to know a little bit more about Doreen before becoming a superhero. She has just moved to New Jersey with her parents and is already in a mission: making friends. It’s way harder than you could think if you take into account Doreen’s way of facing life. Her unrelenting optimism can esily overwhelm people that are not used to it. Thanks to her perseverance, she gets two new friends: her classmate Anna Sofía and a squirrel named Tippy-Toe (yes, that Tippy-Toe).
But not eveything is a walk through the park (literally). There is a new supervillain in town that wants to make a name for himself: Micro-Manager. Obviously, he wants to defeat Squirrel Girl to make all the big baddies offer him a job. He doesn’t have any kind of special power, but he doesn’t need any. His knowledge about robotics and computers is more than enough to be a tough contender. If you are a comic reader, you may know that Doreen is also very proficient in those fields. Well, not in this book. Actually, she is lacking in all the academic smarts. Maybe too much. I found hard to believe that the Squirrel Girl from this book becomes the Squirrel Girl of the comics in such a short time.
The book is mainly written in third person, but there are several chapters from Tippy-Toe’s point of view. I have to say it: those chapters are pure genius. I didn’t know that squirrels could have such a huge personality. Tippy has made me smile the whole book with her antics.
I know I shouldn’t do it, but I can’t help comparing the book with the comics. The author tries too hard to mimic Ryan North’s style, which is a daunting task. At first, it didn’t work. It didn’t feel natural. But later on the book, I think Shannon is more relaxed with her story and her style starts working. By that I mean her sense of humor starts being funny by its own, instead of being funny just because it’s similar to the one in the comics. Am I making any sense?
Another thing that separates both formats is the audience targeted. The comics can be very enjoyable for any reader no matter their age. But this book is clearly more focused on the younger spectrum of that audience. If you are an adult who doesn’t like reading books for kids, it doesn’t matter if you love the comics, I don’t think you will enjoy the book.
There is a second book that I will read sooner or later. Getting to know how Doreen became Squirrel Girl has been very enoyable, so I don’t want to miss the next step in her path to become one of the best superheroes there is!!