Junior Hero Blues, by J.K. Pendragon
Publisher: Riptide Publishing (Triton Books)
Release Date: November 7, 2016
Last year, Javier Medina was your average socially awkward gay high schooler with a chip on his shoulder. This year, he’s . . . well, pretty much the same, but with bonus superpowers, a costume with an ab window to show off his new goods, and a secret identity as the high-flying, wise-cracking superhero Blue Spark.
But being a Junior Hero means that Javier gets all the responsibility and none of the cool gadgets. It’s hard enough working for the Legion of Liberty and fighting against the evil Organization, all while trying to keep on top of schoolwork and suspicious parents. Add in a hunky boyfriend who’s way out of Javier’s league, and an even hunkier villain who keeps appearing every time said boyfriend mysteriously disappears, and Blue Spark is in for one big dollop of teenage angst. All while engaging in some epic superhero action and, oh yeah, an all-out battle to protect Liberty City from the forces of evil.
Welcome to the 100% true and totally unbiased account of life as a teenage superhero.
Enemies to Lovers
Content Warnings for:
Let’s see. Junior Hero Blues wasn’t a bad book but I wish it had been different in several aspects so I would have been able to enjoy it more.
My main issue—or we can call it a preference—is that there was way more superhero stuff going on than romance. If I had to say it in numbers, there’s maybe 25% romance and 75% superhero action. I generally do not like to read too many action scenes because I think they work better in a movie than a book, so I was bored and skimmed several scenes in the first half and also in the last 10%. In the end, honestly, because I finally wanted to see some love and just couldn’t stand to read another fighting scene.
I have to say that not only was there not enough romance on-page time for me but the little that was there could have been better as well. I didn’t buy that Javi fell for Rick in the short amount of time they spent together in the beginning of the book. Also most of the time they are together on page is not pleasant and the reunion in the end was just too short and… I think you realise that I really wanted more romance and less fighting. Maybe that won’t bother you but I was expecting something else.
Another thing that I didn’t like was the predictability of basically everything. In the beginning the book actually plays with this and tells the story in hindsight from a later point in time, but that changes after the first third and yeah, I knew what would be happening every single time and there were no surprises or twists I didn’t see coming.
Then… The message was just really simplistic. And maybe that’s okay for a young adult book but I don’t think it has to be, and it just doesn’t play in favour of the book.
I realise that I have a lot to complain about, but I finished reading this, and this kinda means a lot coming from me since I stop reading books all the time. (Mel the Queen of DNF, that’s me) What saved the book and is the reason why I just kept on reading, despite all the things I didn’t love, is the quirky and funny and honest narration. The story is told in first person from Javi’s perspective and I just got lured in by it—even though it might be a bit over the top from time to time. I also liked Javi’s parents and his friend Kendall.
So. I don’t really recommend this book but if you want some easy superhero action stuff with some romance on the side, you might enjoy this and you could give it a try.
J.K. Pendragon is a Canadian author with a love of all things romantic and fantastical. They first came to the queer-fiction community through m/m romance, but soon began to branch off into writing other queer fiction. As a bisexual and genderqueer person, J.K. is dedicated to producing diverse, entertaining fiction that showcases characters across the rainbow spectrum, and provides queer characters with the happy endings they are so often denied.
After writing in the romance community for several years, Junior Hero Blues is J.K.’s first book for young adults. Having been very positively affected by the queer books they came across as a teen, J.K. hopes their young adult books can have a similar effect on teens who may have a harder time finding books about people like themselves.
Notable works by J.K. Pendragon include Ink & Flowers, a contemporary romance novel with coming out themes, and To Summon Nightmares, a horror-fantasy that follows the journey of a young trans man into a world of magic and danger. To Summon Nightmares is the winner of the 2015 Rainbow Awards’ Best Transgender Fiction award. J.K. also contributed to Less Than Three Press’s Geek Out: A Collection of Trans and Genderqueer Romance.
J.K. currently resides in British Columbia, Canada, with a boyfriend, a cat, and a large collection of artisanal teas that they really need to get around to drinking. They are always happy to chat, and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and on twitter @JKPendragon.
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I received an advanced copy of this novel in exchange for a fair and honest review.