Well, it’s been almost a whole month of no blog posts! The first time it’s actually almost looked like I went on the hiatus I promised 😛
I’ll probably post a check-in/life update sometime soon (though I’ve been having computer problems which is more of the reason I’ve been absent from a lot of blog chatter) but today I’m very excited to be a part of the Secondhand Origin Stories book tour, organized by Shealea over at That Bookshelf Bitch (sorry Mom, that’s just her blog’s name)! There are so many people involved in this and so many great posts to check out so make sure to follow the links below or follow the convo on Twitter with #SHOSPH
Secondhand Origin Stories (Second Sentinels Book 1) by Lee Blauersouth
Genre: YA | Sci-fi
Publisher: Createspace Independent Publishing
Publication Date: March 15, 2018
Opal has been planning to go to Chicago and join the Midwest’s superhero team, the Sentinels, since she was a little kid. That dream took on a more urgent tone when her superpowered dad was unjustly arrested for protecting a neighbor from an abusive situation. Now, she wants to be a superhero not only to protect people, but to get a platform to tell the world about the injustices of the Altered Persons Bureau, the government agency for everything relating to superpowers.
But just after Opal’s high school graduation, a supervillain with a jet and unclear motives attacks the downtown home of the Sentinels, and when Opal arrives, she finds a family on the brink of breaking apart. She meets a boy who’s been developing secret (and illegal) brain-altering nanites right under the Sentinel’s noses, another teenage superhero-hopeful who looks suspiciously like a long-dead supervillain, and the completely un-superpowered daughter of the Sentinels’ leader. Can four teens on the fringes of the superhero world handle the corruption, danger, and family secrets they’ve unearthed?
Buy it from Amazon!
When I read that this one was about superheroes, I was intrigued. When I heard about the diverse representation, I immediately signed on for the tour. I was really happy to find that the rep in this book wasn’t just for show; it’s clear the author really cared about how they approached this representation, as well as really cared for their characters so they were front-and-center even in a story that you’d expect to be mostly focused on action. Somehow, the author managed the perfect balance of character development and expanding their stories with the more plot-driven side involving action and bad guys and superhero powers!
I think part of that was that the story really lent itself well to having a slow buildup, where we had more time to learn about the characters before they were thrust into the battle. I could’ve used a somewhat slower introduction, because I was super confused in the first 15 or so pages. We were being given a lot of names as if we already understood everyone’s relationships, and even code names for some people (which I totally didn’t pick up on until a couple chapters in). It was a lot to keep track of when we were going in with nothing so I had to do a lot of rereading once those names were sorted out later on.
The blurb above gives you a good idea of what the book’s about; the main characters are these teens who are trying to figure out their place in the superhero world, and we get to follow each of their perspectives throughout the story, so you do really get to know each one pretty well. I feel like I’m going to talk about the characters a lot in this review but they were so well-written! It’s been a while since I’ve encountered that level of depth and strength in writing so what a good book for my first “fun” read now that my semester is over! I did find that some of the characters were making some dumb decisions, but they were at least recognized as dumb by others in the group so I’ll let that naïveté pass.
Some more info about the rep of course, though I won’t be super specific to avoid some spoilers. One of the main characters is Black, as the cover shows, and some secondary characters are as well. There are also Jewish characters, several who identify as queer and one who identifies as agender, and a number of characters who are Deaf so the use of ASL comes up a little in the book. There were some trigger warnings that came up as the book talks about systemic racism, which is directly addressed and challenged early on, and ableism. I did want to talk about this, because there’s really an extended conversation about disabilities throughout the book. One of the characters recognizes ableist behaviour right away and tries to address it but it does take time for the others to change their attitudes. I still felt that we didn’t really get away from this mindset, so I hope the characters continue to learn about this problematic behaviour as the series continues and are actively called out for such behaviour. (If you’d like more detail about this, feel free to message me and I’ll do my best to avoid spoilers).
What I really loved in this book was that along with our balance of self-discovery as the teens explore who they are and who they’d like to be seen as, and the more action-heavy sections, there was constantly this more tense and suspenseful tone underneath everything. So many people in this story are keeping secrets! I wasn’t able to guess any of them (no surprise there if you’ve read my reviews of mystery books) so I was just on edge the whole time, waiting for the other shoe to drop. It makes it really easy to speed through this one because you just want to figure out what is going on!
One quick issue though, more to do with the characters than the writing. Without giving away spoilers, one character starts to use contacts but is (understandably) freaked out about touching their eyeball. Others try to help them out and they kept being described as just taking the contact case and fishing around in the liquid for the contacts, like, NO, WASH YOUR HANDS BEFORE YOU GO ANYWHERE NEAR SOMEONE’S ELSE’S EYE (or your own for that matter). And that’s all I have to say about that 🙂
This was a really great read and I’m so looking forward to the next in the series! Don’t forget to check out the links below to find more posts from this tour and continue to follow along!
About the Author: After about a decade of drawing comics independently or with small presses, Lee started writing prose out of a combination of peer pressure and spite, then continued out of attachment to their favorite made-up people. They live in Minnesota even though it is clearly not a habitat humans were ever meant to endure, with their lovely wife/editor, the world’s most perfect baby, and books in every room of the house.
If you like categories, they’re an ENFJ Slytherin Leo. If you’re looking for demographics they’re an agender bisexual with a couple of disabilities. If you’re into lists of likes: Lee loves comics, classical art, round animals, tattoos, opera, ogling the shiner sciences, and queer stuff.
BLOG TOUR SCHEDULE (look how many bloggers! 😀 )
23 April (Monday)
- Secondhand Origin Stories blog tour launch
- Excerpt from Stuffed Shelves
- Feature post from The Backwards Bookshelf
- Feature post from Candid Ceillie
- Review from The Backwards Bookshelf
- Review from Crimson Blogs
- Review from Samantha House
24 April (Tuesday)
- Excerpt from Not Just Fiction
- Excerpt from Utopia State of Mind
- Feature post from Unputdownable Books
- Review from That Bookshelf Bitch
- Review from Bookish and Awesome
- Review from Cliste Bella
- Review from wallflower’s plight
25 April (Wednesday)
- Excerpt from BookMyHart
- Excerpt from The Nerdy Elite
- Review from Candid Ceillie
- Review from F A N N A
- Review from forthenovellovers
- Review from Igniting Pages
- Review from Spines In a Line
26 April (Thursday)
- Excerpt from Provocatrix
- Review from Bookish Wanderess
- Review from bookishwisps
- Review from Flying Paperbacks
- Review from TheHufflepuffNerdette
- Review from My Reading List
- Review from Unputdownable Books
27 April (Friday)
- Author interview on That Bookshelf Bitch
- Excerpt from Afire Pages
- Feature post from Cliste Bella
- Review from The Book Maiden
- Review from The Little Miss Bookworm
- Review from Reader Fox and a Box of Books
- Review from The Youngvamp’s Haven
I received this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.