The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl: Squirrel Meets World – Shannon Hale & Dean Hale

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Authors: Shannon Hale & Dean Hale
Series: The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl novels #1

Pages: 324

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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!!

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2018 – Book Gallery

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Runaways: An Original Novel – Christopher Golden

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Author: Christopher Golden
Pages: 352

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Turns out murderous Super Villains don’t make for good parents. The Runaways had no choice. They had to kill them. Well, more or less. Now Nico, Karolina, Gert, Chase, and Molly are on the run again, hiding out and trying to regain a sense of normalcy. But kids with super powers don’t get to be normal.

The city is overrun with criminals, each faction bent on murdering them for one reason or another. It’s only when the Runaways uncover the truth behind their parents’ past that they realize the evil isn’t just in L.A.

It’s everywhere.

When I first heard about this book I thought it was based directly on the TV show, which would be a bummer. Don’t get me wrong, I like the TV show, but it’s not as epic as the first volume of Runaways published by Marvel Comics. But this book takes place in the same universe as the comics!! More precisely, the action is set between the first and the second volume. So, Alex is dead and they haven’t met Victor or Xavin yet. Once I learned about that, I jumped to get the book.

After defeating the Gibborim, the Runaways have found a nice place to live and they are not in any kind of danger. But that doesn’t last long. Their base of operations is attacked by Sunstroke. That obscure villain of the Marvel Universe is a member of the Masters of Evil when Crimson Cowl was the leader. They are taken by surprise, but the Runaways managed to escape and called the police. Even though they had to abandon their new home, Chase promised them he had a back-up plan. That the rest should have a fun night out while he and Molly went to a mission.

The “fun” night out ended up rescuing a poor girl called Allis who was going to be sacrificed by Pride followers. The same followers that in that moment were being attacked by the Nightwatch. Nope, not that Nightwatch. It’s not the good Kevin Trench. This Nightwatch is like Pride but for San Francisco. It seems there are more Elder Gods than just de Gibborim. In San Francisco, the Kurdogrim are the ones to watch. So, they rescued the girl and a boy that tells them he is the son of one of the Nightwatch.

Feeling that both of them are kin souls, the Runaways welcome Zeke and Allis to their new home. And here is when the main issue with the book begins. I mean, can any loyal comic reader tell me who is Allis or Zeke in the Runaways history? If there is something you can tell about that group is that they are usually fiercely loyal to their friends. During the story of the book, we read how Allis get closer and closer to Karolina or how Zeke charms Gert and Nico. We are sold that they became friends pretty quickly and soon I realized there was something fishy going on. I know Zeke and Allis are not in the comics and Christopher Golden knows it, too. So, it was pretty obvious that that friendship had to be a lie.

The author tries to hide the real role of Zeke and Allis in the story, but that is an impossible task if you know The Runaways. So, the end of the book is not shocking at all. It didn’t punch the reader with something unexpected. It was what it had to be. Otherwise, there would have been some contradictions with the comics that many readers would have disliked.

Even though the development of the book doesn’t surprise me, I must admit that is a very enjoyable reading. There is one fight after another, with lots of different powers at play. So getting bored is out of the question. I also liked quite a bit how the author has enhanced the Elder Gods mythology, which has been barely explored in the comics. And the Masters of Evil cameos have been a lot of fun!!

I’m satisfied. Much better than I was expecting.