Supergirl at Super Hero High

Notice: While it’s not 100% necessary to read Wonder Woman at Super Hero High, the first book in Lisa Yee’s DC Super Hero Girls series, before reading the second installment, it is a pretty good idea. Not only does it help to establish the world of these novels, it also focuses on Wonder Woman. Isn’t that reason enough to read it? (Yes, it is.)

If it’s not already obvious, the second book in the DC Super Hero Girls series focuses on Supergirl. Now, you may think you know Kara Zor-El from the awesome Supergirl TV series or even the older movie (which brings on a sense of nostalgia in me), but you might want to think again. In this book, we get a look at a teen Supergirl, a girl dealing with being not only the new kid in school but the new kid on the planet. Her home planet of Krypton was destroyed, and everything and everyone she knew–including her parents–are gone. That’s a lot for a normal kid to take in. Throw in some brand-new superpowers, and things get much more complicated.

Kara Zor-El never really wanted to be a superhero. One minute, she was a happy kid on Krypton, enjoying life with her loving parents. The next minute, she was strapped into a spacecraft and sent off into the great unknown while her parents, her planet, and everything familiar to her was destroyed. She landed on Earth, and two wonderful people, Martha and Jonathan Kent, took her in…much like they had done for another Kryptonian years ago.

Now, Kara is facing even more change in her life. Thanks to Earth’s yellow sun, she’s dealing with some pretty intense superpowers–heat vision, super strength, flight, super speed, and much more. Sounds great, right? Unfortunately, Kara is a tad clumsy, and managing her newfound abilities is becoming something of a hazard to those around her. What she needs is a place to learn how to control her powers and how she can use her gifts to help the world around her. That’s where Super Hero High comes in!

At Super Hero High, Kara, now known by the name of Supergirl, immediately feels like the odd person out. Everyone here, especially her hero Wonder Woman, seems to already know so much. They don’t trip over their own feet or cause mayhem and destruction with their out-of-control powers. Supergirl is overwhelmed by how much she has to learn, and she often wonders if this place is even right for her. A new friend, Barbara Gordon, and a cookie-wielding librarian, Granny Goodness, try to reassure Supergirl, but her doubts continue to plague her.

When a mysterious threat begins to target Super Hero High, the students and staff work together to determine who–or what–is attempting to infiltrate their school. Supergirl wants to help, but what can she do? Sometimes she thinks she just makes things worse. But when the true nature of this threat is revealed, Supergirl–with an assist from Barbara–may be the only one capable of neutralizing this menace for good.

Can Supergirl find the confidence she needs to face this danger head-on? And can she finally find her place at Super Hero High?


Like Wonder Woman at Super Hero High, this book is an ideal fit for upper elementary and middle grade collections. (I assume that this will also be true of the remainder of the series.) It’s a fun, inviting book that gives readers a glimpse into what life may be like for some of their favorite teen superheroes. It also lets readers know that they’re not alone when they feel out-of-place, lacking in confidence, lonely, or clumsy. Superheroes deal with the same stuff we all do.

Spoilers ahead! While I thoroughly enjoyed Supergirl at Super Hero High, I do have one (not totally serious) issue with it. I just have to ask one question. Why did it have to be the librarian? Why, I ask you?! Sure, some in my profession could have super-villain tendencies, but most of us are awesome. I, personally, vow to use my powers for good and never get my students to help me take over the world. I can only hope my fellow librarians feel the same way.

If the DC Super Hero Girls series seems like something you or your kids, students, or library patrons would enjoy, have no fear! There are at least two more volumes to love. In addition to Wonder Woman and Supergirl, Batgirl at Super Hero High is already out. (I’ll be reading this one soon.) Book four, Katana at Super Hero High will be released on July 4th. Given how popular these books are, I have high hopes that we’ll see even more books in this wonderful series.

For more information on Supergirl at Super Hero High and the series as a whole, visit author Lisa Yee’s website. Happy reading!

Wonder Woman at Super Hero High

I’ve loved Wonder Woman since I first saw Lynda Carter spin around when I was a kid. My parents have pictures of my three-year-old self posing in my Wonder Woman Underoos. I have Wonder Woman action figures, comic books, t-shirts, and even Converse shoes. There’s a Wonder Woman display in my school library. I buy my nieces Wonder Woman stuff for birthdays, holidays, or whenever the mood strikes me. So of course I had to read Wonder Woman at Super Hero High, the first book in the DC Super Hero Girls series by Lisa Yee. I’m just embarrassed it took me so long to get around to it. (It was released nearly a year ago.)

Super Hero High is the place to be for teen super heroes…and Wonder Woman wants in. After spending her entire life on Paradise Island (also known as Themyscira) with her mother, Hippolyta, Queen of the Amazons, Wonder Woman finally convinces her mom that she needs to be trained as a proper super hero. Off to Super Hero High she goes!

With a positive outlook and a desire to make a difference, Wonder Woman enters the hallowed halls of Super Hero High. Even though some things perplex her (like slang and sarcasm), she’s determined to be a successful student.

Almost immediately, she makes a few friends–like Bumblebee, Katana, Hawkgirl, and Harley Quinn (who’s also her roommate)–but it seems she’s also made an enemy or two. Someone keeps leaving notes for her indicating that she’s not wanted at Super Hero High. Who could dislike her so much?

With Harley Quinn videoing every move she makes and someone leaving her mean notes, Wonder Woman is feeling the pressure to be the best, especially when she factors in her desire to be on the school’s Super Triathlon team. Can she make a difference when so much is weighing on her? Can she possibly figure out who wants her gone?

Join Wonder Woman and many other familiar faces to find out if they’ve got what it takes to be true heroes!


I’ve glossed over a lot here, and that’s sort of intentional. It’s a fast, entertaining read, and I don’t want to spoil it for anyone. A few things I will say, though:

  • I love that Wonder Woman has kind of an Amelia Bedelia vibe in this book. She’s very literal, and it’s fun to see how someone who’s been so removed from slang and popular culture navigates through high school.
  • Speaking of high school, who knew super heroes had it just like the rest of us? Mean girls, struggling to make friends, bullies, striving to make good grades, living up to parents’ expectations. It’s all there, and it’s nice to see that even those with super powers deal with the same stuff we all do.
  • If you’re not familiar with DC comic book characters now, you soon will be. I know a lot of the characters mentioned in this book thanks to the old Adam West Batman TV series, some DC movies (some good, others not so much), and the wonderful programming on the CW. Wonder Woman at Super Hero High introduced me to some I didn’t know much about, and I look forward to reading more adventures of these super (and not-so-super) heroes as teenagers.

Wonder Woman at Super Hero High is a great fit for elementary and middle school libraries. Considering that many kids (and adults) read DC comics and collect action figures, there’s a ready-made audience just waiting for this book and those like it.

The next two books in the DC Super Hero Girls series are Supergirl at Super Hero High and Batgirl at Super Hero High. Both are already out. The fourth book, Katana at Super Hero High should be out on July 4th of this year.

If you’d like more information on Wonder Woman at Super Hero High and the series as a whole, visit author Lisa Yee’s website.

Enjoy!

Followers

I try to find something positive to say about every book you see here on Knight Reader. That’s not always an easy feat, and it’s especially difficult with my latest read, Followers by Anna Davies. I guess the best things I can say about it are that it was a quick read (and didn’t take up too much of my valuable time), and it involved social media, something that is vitally important to the book’s target audience. I also sort of liked that the book revolved around a school working on a production of Hamlet. Any excuse for a Shakespeare reference, right?

Those few positives aside, Followers didn’t really do it for me. Even the cover, in my opinion, failed to capture the book. I was expecting a much scarier story based on the cover…maybe one with evil little girls with yellow eyes. That was not the case. The girls on the cover are very misleading. They appear to be younger than any of the characters in the book, and they fail to tell readers anything about the book.  Even the tagline at the top has nothing to do with the actual story. Cover=fail.

This book, as I said, centers around a school’s production of Hamlet. Our protagonist, Briana, or @alleyesonbree as she’s known in the Twitterverse, is desperate to play Ophelia. She knows she’s good, but she still worries that she’s not good enough. She’s also anxious about her place at MacHale, the private school where her mother was an acting star. Bree is just now starting to become part of things at MacHale, and she’s hoping that nabbing the role of Ophelia will make her feel as if she truly belongs. Alas, it is not meant to be…

Bree doesn’t get the coveted role, but the director, an altogether strange man who takes over when the previous director dies, wants Bree to be the play’s social media director. He’s seen her Twitter feed, and he thinks she can make Hamlet an interactive experience. Bree reluctantly agrees, but it seems there’s someone else on Twitter, @hamletsghost, who knows more about this production than anyone. This person even knows when “accidents,” incidents that are taking lives, are about to occur.

Bree is getting really freaked out, but the drama is just beginning. Soon, everyone thinks that Bree is behind the deaths. After all, the killer is using Twitter to brag about what’s happening, Bree is the school’s Twitter queen, and she’s the only person who’s really gained anything from this chaos. But how can Bree prove that she’s not behind these murders? Can she prove her innocence and reveal the true identity of @hamletsghost before she or someone else is the next victim?

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I feel like Followers could have been a really good book, but, truthfully, it just didn’t have enough meat. There was too much build-up, but the climax was kind of a let-down. It happened too suddenly, and I think the entire book could have been scarier. I expect something marketed as horror to keep me up at night. This book didn’t. I’m a wuss from way back, and this book didn’t give me the first nightmare. I can’t even call it horror, to be honest. Suspense? Maybe, but I thought it was pretty obvious what was going on. A few red herrings would have been nice.

I did like the Twitter angle in the book, but I thought even that could have been fleshed out more. It seemed to be an afterthought at times. I would have liked to see more Twitter conversations between @alleyesonbree and @hamletsghost, as well as the other characters in the book. With a title like Followers, one kind of expects entire chapters to be written in tweets, but there were only a few in each chapter. The concept of a killer using Twitter to draw attention to his/her exploits is a clever one. It just needed a little more oomph in this book.

Followers won’t officially be released until June 24th, and I really hope that the final version is a bit better than the NetGalley proof I read. If it is, I think the book will be a good addition to middle and high school libraries, particularly those that serve schools with strong drama programs. If not…well, this may not be a necessary purchase.

I’d Tell You I Love You, But Then I’d Have to Kill You

This book–the entire series, really–has been in my to-read pile for a while. This week, I finally decided to jump right into the first book in Ally Carter’s Gallagher Girls series, I’d Tell You I Love You, But Then I’d Have to Kill You. (Great title, by the way.) I had a feeling I would enjoy it simply because I liked Carter’s Heist Society series. So far, so good. This first book, which introduces us to Cammie and her fellow spies-in-training, is a great start to what I’m sure is a wonderful, light-hearted series.

The Gallagher Academy for Exceptional Young Women is no ordinary school, and student Cammie Morgan is no ordinary girl. From the outside, the Gallagher Academy looks like a private school for girls from prestigious families. Within its walls, however, some of the brightest girls in the country are trained in the arts of espionage, combat, code-breaking, and covert operations. That’s right. It’s spy school. Cammie Morgan, who happens to be the headmistress’ daughter, is a sophomore at Gallagher Academy this year, and this is one year that might just change her entire world.

Now, the Gallagher Academy might teach its girls how to speak a dozen languages, the latest in chemical warfare, or how to use trash to learn all about a person, but there’s one thing that this school never prepared Cammie for. How to talk to boys.

While Cammie is trying to be incognito on a class assignment in town, she gets noticed by a guy. Cammie is used to being overlooked (one of her strengths as a spy), so she’s taken aback by this guy, Josh, who is showing interest in her. But what can she really tell him about herself? She can’t tell him where she goes to school. (Townies have attitude about the Gallagher Girls.) She can’t tell him about her family, friends, or many of the details of her day-to-day life. So what’s a girl to do? Well, this is where being a spy comes in handy…

Cammie gathers intel–in a variety of ways and with some help from friends–on Josh, and she slowly forms a relationship with him. Yes, the relationship is kind of awkward and is almost completely based on lies–at least on Cammie’s part–but Cammie is getting her first taste of what it might be like to be “normal.”

But what will happen when Cammie’s real life as a Gallagher Girl collides with her first brush with love? Will her lies be uncovered? What could this mean for Cammie, Josh, and the Gallagher Academy? Discover how one extraordinary girl tries to navigate two very different worlds when you read I‘d Tell You I Love You, But Then I’d Have to Kill You by Ally Carter!

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I’m kind of glad I waited so long to read this series. The sixth and final book, United We Spy, will be released on September 17th, so I won’t have to endure the long, agonizing wait that usually accompanies a series. I’ll probably start book two, Cross My Heart and Hope to Spy, next week, and I’ll continue on until I finish what I’m sure will be a wild ride!

For those who’d like more information on this series and other books by Ally Carter, check out her website at http://allycarter.com/. There’s a strong possibility that this series will eventually be adapted for the big (or small) screen, so stay tuned on the author’s website for developments!