4 out of 5 stars
The thing I enjoyed most about this story is that the principal character, Gaby, is a strong, unapologetic lead. She is not a giggly, girly-girl, nor is she by any stretch of the imagination perfect. It is always great to see more of that in literature, especially that targeted at the Young Adult market. A strong YA minority lead is even better because more now than ever, representation matters and it’s incredibly important for young people to see themselves in all forms of media.
My second favorite aspect was the beautifully crafted, unexpected and unique friendship with Ninja Girl’s sidekick Wallman. Watching it unfold was wonderful and heartbreaking. Character building is one of Ms. Moore’s strength’s, but this relationship is a fine work of art.
The main heroine has experiences she is entirely too young to process, and it messes her up – just as one would expect. The book explores mental illness in youth, and it does that in the form of a fast-paced action thriller. One aspect of the world building that could use some work is Gaby’s fighting skills. It was a tad unbelievable how well she could fight, and at times it challenged my suspension of disbelief. She was taking down drug dealers and well-muscled men much larger than herself. It helped that her life as a super-hero unraveled quickly, making it a little more believable, but in reality unless she was secretly part-slayer per the Buffyverse, they would have taken her down the first night she went out.
The author could beautifully conveyed the style of a twelve-year-old throughout the book which is no easy feat. I received an ARC, so there were more errors than usual. Her style was engaging and kept me at the edge of my seat, wanting to know how this young girl was going to handle this mess she’d created.
Those that enjoy thrillers, both psychological and action, will find something to enjoy in this book. While the story’s heroine is a young woman, it seems like the issues tackled in this novel actually make the book more appropriate for a more adult novel.
The issue with Gaby’s fighting style lost Moore a star, but otherwise it was a wonderful debut novel by an author I’m sure will do great things in the future.