Book Review #50: Supra/normal by A.S. McDermott

Julie Jackson is the strongest member of her family.

With her mom doing everything and anything she can to support them financially and her brother’s sticky hands, Julie has to be the rock. She has to be the mother and the sister and the teacher and the best friend. She has to be the strongest.

But Julie has a secret. One that could land her in prison or, worse, executed.

She’s a Supra–a “superhero,” and Supras have been illegal since the devastating Supranormal War.

When her impulsivity leads her to save her crush, Julie’s super strength is exposed, and Julie is forced to run for her life. The person that finds her sleeping on the floor of a church, though, is the last person she ever expected to rescue her, and the friends she meets, the family she creates, will lead her on an adventure to save not only herself but Supras everywhere.

Style

First of all, I really LOVE YA books. I totally do! I’ve been reading so much geared towards adults that I forgot how refreshing reading a YA book is. It was touch-and-go in the beginning. Julie had me giving some pretty big eye rolls at her teenage girl self complaining about her “crush” on the “cute” basketball player. It felt so shallow and simple and then BAM.

One basketball game changes EVERYTHING. We can talk about that character development later.šŸ˜‰

As far as style goes, McDermott’s is pretty laid back. It reads like a YA book. There’s no long, drawn out, flowery prose, but that’s perfectly acceptable. Instead of focusing on making the words nice, we instead get a really solid storyline and setting. The world that McDermott has built is both well-thought out and very well-rounded. It’s a broad setting, and I’m here for it.

Plot

Like I said before, the pacing was a big sluggish at the start. I couldn’t get past how silly it all sounded. But the words were so gosh-darn good and lighthearted that I just had to keep going. I did this fun little read along thing through a Twitter thread, and I had nothing to say until the Big Game.

That’s when things picked up. That’s when I got really invested.

But after that, it was one punch after another, and it did NOT stop. I was clutching the edge of my seat for the last twenty percent of the book. At that point, I was so invested and concerned and downright upset. I needed to know what happened.

That’s how you know the pacing is *chef’s kiss*. When you’ve got me yelling at my husband to leave me the eff alone so I can finish.

Last plot comment: I appreciate how McDermott covered EVERYTHING. This man left no stone unturned when he wrote this. The plans– bullet proof. The events– absolutely necessary. The end– a perfect set up. I kept trying to do that silly author thing where you nitpick and dig for issues in things, and I could not find a single thing. I’d think of something and then two pages later, one of the characters would literally find a solution for my problem. Lol. It’s just so well-thought out.

Characters

Now, this– THIS is where McDermott shines.

I was attached to Julie from page one. I wanted what was best for her. I sympathized with her. I loved her. As an oldest child from a divorce, I totally felt the pressure that she was constantly under to be the “strongest” of the family. It glued me to her so fast. What worried me was her impulsive personality. I think that’s where the genius of the book comes in. Because one character shouldn’t carry the entire story line. One character should have his or her strengths and faults. Julie is so strong. She’s a natural born leader. But she’s impulsive and has a massive hero complex.

You know who isn’t impulsive? Penny. Leon. The two of them balance Julie out so well. Even Monica, with her penchant for breaking the rules and starting fights, keeps everything well rounded in the group. Even Steve (who, I’m sorry, is still the WORST) has his part to play and does it well.

This poor assortment of teens and young adults absolutely blossom together as the story progressed. They became a little family, and it was beautiful watching them bond. I’m still mad about what happened to GD Granny, but… I guess I won’t complain.

You know what I will complain about? The fact that there’s NO SEQUEL. Do you hate me, McDermott? HUH?

I tried something new with this book and did a little “read-along” on Twitter, sharing my thoughts as I went. Here are some of my favorite screenshots from the week. You can follow me on Twitter by clicking riiiiight here.

Final Ratings

Overall Rating: 4.5/5

Pacing: Slow-ish at the start, but picked up with a PUNCH at the end.

Intended Audience: YA, very YA.

Content Warnings: Violence towards the end, but nothing really bad.

Buy link: https://www.amazon.com/Supra-normal-S-McDermott-ebook/dp/B087PMT36Z

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