Review | The Art of Being Normal : More like The Art of Being Problematic (which this book was very good at)

The Art of Being Normal by Lisa Williamson is a book about two transgender teens, which deals with the matter – how do I say this nicely? – rather terribly. Let me tell you why.

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I initially didn’t want to include this synopsis in this review because even the synopsis is terribly problematic – I really wish I had read it before buying and reading this book and had not just read the blurb on the back of the book instead (WHICH WAS NOT PROBLEMATIC). Though it also feels wrong to not include any synopsis so I’m going to cross out some parts and replace them by good things.

Two boys One boy, one girl. Two secrets.

David Kate Piper has always been an outsider. His Her parents think he’s gay she’s a gay boy. The school bully thinks he’s she’s a freak. Only his her two best friends know the real truth – David wants to be a girl Kate is a closeted transgender girl.

On the first day at his new school Leo Denton has one goal – to be invisible. Attracting the attention of the most beautiful girl in year eleven is definitely not part of that plan.

When Leo stands up for David Kate in a fight, an unlikely friendship forms. But things are about to get messy. Because at Eden Park School secrets have a funny habit of not staying secret for long…

Continue reading “Review | The Art of Being Normal : More like The Art of Being Problematic (which this book was very good at)”

Sovereign: The Transgender Superhero is Back!

A couple of months ago I reviewed Dreadnought, which is the first installment in the Nemesis series. I don’t know whether this is going to be a trilogy or a full-blown long series, but it doesn’t state it anywhere so we’ll see, I guess. I was lucky enough to get a free copy of Dreadnought back then and I was lucky again to be able to read this one.

Regular rating: 3.5 stars
Diversity rating: 3 stars (LGBT+, POC, disabled)

Warning: this is the second book in the series, and though I will try to avoid major spoilers, it could happen that you get spoiled. I marked one in white, so be aware!

Sovereign (Nemesis #2) – April Daniels32565582

Only nine months after her debut as the fourth superhero to fight under the name Dreadnought, Danny Tozer is already a scarred veteran. Protecting a city the size of New Port is a team-sized job and she’s doing it alone. Between her newfound celebrity and her demanding cape duties, Dreadnought is stretched thin, and it’s only going to get worse.

When she crosses a newly discovered supervillain, Dreadnought comes under attack from all quarters. From her troubled family life to her disintegrating friendship with Calamity, there’s no trick too dirty and no lever too cruel for this villain to use against her.

She might be hard to kill, but there’s more than one way to destroy a hero. Before the war is over, Dreadnought will be forced to confront parts of herself she never wanted to acknowledge.

And behind it all, an old enemy waits in the wings to unleash a plot that will scar the world forever.

Having lived as a girl for months now, Danielle’s struggles as a transgender are not yet over. There are still people (ahem Greywytch) not accepting her as a girl and not only that, the aftermath of her separation from her (abusive) family has left her in tricky situations. In court, she has to fight her father to be able to live with Doc Impossible, while the whole world is watching. The lines between what is right and what is are slowly fading, because through her job of saving people and hunting bad guys, a lot of people get hurt.

“Falling apart can come later, when people aren’t shooting at me.”

In this second book, we meet old and new characters. We meet Calamity (a black morally gray bi superhero with a prosthetic hand), who became Danny’s friend in the first book. Luckily, I didn’t think she was as irresponsible in this book and I liked Calamity a lot more. We meet a few new faces, a genderqueer, Iranian-American superhero called Kinetiq, a magical boy called Charlie and Karen, a half-American, half-Scandinavian death goddess (her own words) who is afflicted by her death mother’s memories (literally). We also meet new enemies (VERY EVIL, WORTH ALL MY HATE), supervillains who want to take over the world, and Dany has to save it.

I loved the added characters a lot, especially Kinetiq, but Doc Impossible and Danielle are still my favourites. Danielle is a strong character, who, even though she always gets in trouble, finds her way out. She makes mistakes, does things she shouldn’t have done, but in the end, you keep rooting for her. Doc Impossible is Danielle’s new mother figure, who also has her troubles laid out for her. *SPOILER FOR BOOK 1 marked white* Now that she involuntarily betrayed her friends, and is no longer perceived as the human she liked to be, she has to figure out how to live as an android. *end of spoiler*

There is also some romance added to the story and I won’t tell you exactly who or what but I did like it a lot. I thought it brought some extra dimension to the story and I loved that.

I also loved how well-researched and developed the story was. From the way Danielle determines the course to fly to get to her destination to how calculated every move is. You can see in everything how much time and devotion April spent on writing this book.

“There are two things I never get tired of looking at. The stars from low orbit and human brains.”

So by now, you might wonder why I am not giving this book a solid 4 stars or even more, and I don’t really know. I just didn’t enjoy it as much as I’d hoped. In my review of Dreadnought, I mentioned that I always get confused while reading fight scenes, and that still happened. I am giving this book 3.5 stars, because again it gives so much insight and diversity. The diversity makes this story so important. Every character has its own background story and each of them is unique in a way. I really enjoyed reading this book so I will definitely recommend it if you like superhero stories with diversity. Also if you want a badass protagonist, you’ve found one.

*** I want to thank the publisher and NetGally for the chance to review this book, which will come out July 25th 2017**