ARC Review & Australian Women Writers Challenge 2017: Book #3
Title: Girl Reporter (Cookie Cutter Superhero-verse #2)
Authors: Tansy Rayner Roberts
Publisher and Year: Book Smugglers, 2017
Genre: superheroes, fantasy, young adult
From the award-winning author of Cookie Cutter Superhero and Kid Dark Against the Machine comes a brand new novella about girl reporters, superheroes, and interdimensional travel
In a world of superheroes, supervillains, and a machine that can create them all, millennial vlogger and girl reporter Friday Valentina has no shortage of material to cover. Every lottery cycle, a new superhero is created and quite literally steps into the shoes of the hero before them–displacing the previous hero. While Fri may not be super-powered herself, she understands the power of legacy: her mother is none other than the infamous reporter Tina Valentina, renowned worldwide for her legendary interviews with the True Blue Aussie Beaut Superheroes and her tendency to go to extraordinary lengths to get her story.
This time, Tina Valentina may have ventured too far.
Alongside Australia’s greatest superheroes–including the powerful Astra, dazzling Solar, and The Dark in his full brooding glory–Friday will go to another dimension in the hopes of finding her mother, saving the day, maybe even getting the story of a lifetime out of the adventure. (And possibly a new girlfriend, too.)
An eARC of this book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
When I first finished reading this and I was updating Goodreads, I posted the following review, promising to do a proper one later.
EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEeeeeeeeeeeEEEEEEEEEEEE!!! THIS WAS JUST SO FANTASTIC AND AWESOME AND WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!!!!!!!!!!!! Is the unfiltered glee-whimsy-gush from my brain just now. It’s perfect.
Now I’m writing said ‘proper’ review, but I also think that my initial delighted squeefest is relevant because that’s what makes this book so special. It is an unadulterated, whimsical novella with a protagonist who I fell in love with instantly. I adored Friday so much, not just because she was quirky and easily someone I’d like to be friends with, but also because she’s fully fledged and has flaws and doubts and struggles with things. I loved getting to see further into the universe of the superheroes that Tansy created, I’m delighted that we get to spend more time with Solar (from the original story featured in Kaleidescope) too.
This is a superhero story with a little bit of everything – the potential fate of the world hangs in the balance! Only a band of plucky volunteers can save the day! They run into mishaps and need support from an unlikely source! Complex relationships from friendships, family, and new-found romance. Not to mention a nice little interplay between the merits of journalism and how that’s changed over time – the rise of the vlog and the immediacy of engagement and feedback versus print media and formal publishing – I loved this part.
I’m also really into the novella format at the moment – I’ve been overloaded this year and it’s impacted on my reading, I’ve found a lot of satisfaction this year in reading novellas because they’re a length that doesn’t demand too much from me, either in time or brain power. Unlike short stories that I struggle with because there is often a lack of depth and satisfaction with the story, novellas have that extra space and seem to use it well (or at least this one and the others I’ve been enjoying have managed this). But it also doesn’t drag on, or weighted down.
I also think it’s worth sharing that of all the authors I’ve read this year, I probably owe getting through the year to Tansy, because her books have cushioned me from the stress of everything going on in my life. Girl Reporter is an excellent example of how excellent characters, emotionally satisfying interactions and relationships, as well as a fun and interesting plot come together and transport you to another world for a while. All things can be conquered, if not without consequences. Bad experiences and situations are faced, there is progress, even success and always growth as characters learn and change. These elements are consistent in Tansy’s writing, especially in Girl Reporter and it’s an excellent novella.
If you’ve always admired Lois Lane, if you enjoy YouTube vloggers, if you think that the mediascape is ever-changing and are delighted by the possibilities, and if you love superheroes, queer romance, and characters that you want to make friends with, this is the book for you.