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What: The Extraordinaries (The Extraordinaries #1) by TJ Klune

Who: Hodder & Stoughton

When: July 14th 2020

How: A copy of this novel was provided by Hachette Australia for review.

In Nova City, there are extraordinary people, capable of feats that defy the imagination. Shadow Star protects the city and manipulates darkness, and Pyro Storm is determined to bring the city to its knees using his power over fire.

And then there’s Nick who . . . well, being the most popular fanfiction writer in the Extraordinaries fandom is a superpower, right?

Instead of fighting crime, Nick contends with a new year at school, a father who doesn’t trust him, and a best friend named Seth, who may or may not be the love of Nick’s short, uneventful life.

It should be enough. But after a chance encounter with Shadow Star, Nova City’s mightiest hero (and Nick’s biggest crush), Nick sets out to make himself extraordinary. And he’ll do it with or without Seth’s reluctant help . . .

Rainbow Rowell’s Fangirl meets Brandon Sanderson’s Steelheart in TJ Klune’s YA debut: a queer coming-of-age story about a fanboy with ADHD and the heroes he loves.

I’m going to break this review of The Extraordinaries down into The Good and The Bad because y’all know how much I love my lists. So here we go:

The Good

– It’s #OwnVoices

Yes, the gay and ADHD rep in The Extraordinaries is own voices and that is super important because we all know m/m YA is dominated by non-queer women. So one of the most compelling reasons for me wanting to read The Extraordinaries was its own voices queer content. When I realised that the ADHD rep was also own voices it was a bonus.

– It’s aimed at the lower end of YA readers

Even though the protagonist of the book is sixteen years old, the book did feel like it was aimed at the younger end of the YA audience which is great because I am passionate about young teens being able to relate and read YA without feeling like the book is pandering to its adult readers.

– Seth

Seth was just an adorable character and I was constantly waiting for him to come back on the page because he was sweet and awkward and totally in love with Nick which was obvious to everyone but Nick.

– The friendship group

The friendship group in The Extraordinaries was pretty great because everyone was queer and even though they weren’t always perfect (what teenagers are) they were always there for each other, which is just heart-warming.

The Bad

– The writing style

I never, not once, got into the writing style in The Extraordinaries. It was juvenile and all over the place and I found it hard to connect with on the story level and on the character level. I did almost DNF this book but in the end I wanted to give it a go and see if I got used to it. Unfortunately I didn’t and the writing style was one of the main letdowns of The Extraordinaries.

– The pro police content

The pro police content in The Extraordinaries is out of this world and also incredibly uncomfortable to read about. In The Extraordinaries the police are portrayed as amazing, upstanding human beings who work really hard to protect people and do the right thing because they care. I think, in the year 2020, we all know that is not the truth. Some people have said that this book was written three years ago. Yes, it was. Was police brutality also a thing in 2017? Yes. Yes, it was. To use 2020 as some kind of awakening to the police brutality that Black people and people of colour experience on a daily basis is diminishing the issue as it has been happening for a very long time. There is no excuse for a book to include pro police content, especially since that content was never, not once, challenged on the page. Especially if that content is in a book for kids because teens are kids even thought they love to pretend they aren’t. Pro police content is not okay and it should not have been in this novel.

~

Overall I was let down by The Extraordinaries and it didn’t end up being the book I wanted it to be. I can say with certainty that I won’t be continuing the series.

© 2020, Chiara @ Books for a Delicate Eternity. All rights reserved.

trigger warning

pro police content, use of ableist language, panic attack, explosions, parent hospitalised, reference to death of a parent, physical fights

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Posted on: August 12, 2020 • By: Chiara

8 Responses to The Good and the Bad in The Extraordinaries by TJ Klune

  1. Shame you didn’t enjoy this! Writing style plays such a big part in getting absorbed by a story :/

  2. Sarah Says says:

    Oh, what a shame! I was rooting for this one to be a good read. But I’m pretty sure the things that rubbed you the wrong way will upset me too. Damn!

  3. I’m glad the author ended up writing a post apologising for the pro-police content though and said he’ll fix it for the sequel?! So i’m hoping for that a lot. (we shall see 👀🙌🏻) I did find it cute and funny, just meandering 😂but it’s definitely nice to have more ownvoices rep!

    • Chiara says:

      I read the apology and I wasn’t very impressed tbh! Like police brutality was still a thing in 2017 when he wrote it, and definitely a thing when he was editing it but he still made that choice :’) I won’t be continuing, it was hard enough to get through this one haha.

  4. I’m so sorry this one didn’t work for you. I don’t think I will enjoyed this either with the writing style being too juvenile and the content being too pro-police.

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