I’d like to start this review off by acknowledging the fact that I was 100% hungover while reading The Extraordinaries. Head pounding, stomach churning, life-hating hungover.
And this book still made me so happy.
Nick Bell is our beloved hero in The Extraordinaries. Well, “hero” is a strong word considering in a town where superheros roam the skies fighting crime, Nick Bell is a completely normal, ADHD riddled, fanfiction obsessed teenager. And no one is more ticked off about it than him. But Nick has a plan, guys. Aided by his friends (two lesbians and Seth’s best friend who seems to go missing at convenient moments), he decides that he’s going to become an Extraordinary, no matter the fallout. *jazz hands* drama ensues.
This book is made for teens and young adults who have grown up in the Archive of Our Own generation. There are tropes, camp, cheesiness, and fanfiction references galore in this little novel, and that is exactly how T.J. Klune intended it. There are no apologies for lines straight out of comic books and zero excuses for the plotlines and plot twists that come out the mightiest of book lines.
This book is an ode to DC, Marvel, and every little guy who had a dream to be something more than who they were.
Nick is a funny, spastic main character who you silmultaneously want to roll in a blanket burrito and then slap upside the head for being so dumb. His thoughts are rambling and convoluted, and it may seem tiring at first, but it’s meant to. It’s tiring being Nick. It’s very rare to see a perfect description of the psyche of someone struggling with ADHD so acutely like Nick does. It’s not pretty and it can be annoying, but it’s wholly him and real. It also goes in depth about the terror of how being Nick affects his family and his self confidence. Kids who struggle with mental health may very well see themselves in him.
The action– I do wish there was a little more of it, rather than just that giant main scene at the climax of the story– is very comic book-esque. It’s filled with villain monologues and witty banter, but delivered tongue-in-cheek. We all know what we’re reading.
It leans into its ridiculousness and that’s beautiful.
Seth is a doll. My one biggest complaint in this book is that there is not enough Seth. For Nick and Seth to have such a close bond, I wish we had more one on one scenes with them together. But what we do have is absolutely heartwarming.
Nick’s relationship with his father, as well as Gibby and Jazz, are just… peak family vibes. The reader never doubts for a moment the magnitude of everyone’s love for eachother, even when Nick, himself, doubts it.
This was not a perfect book, but it was one worth reading and definitely one where I will happily wait for the sequel.