Review: How to Date a Superhero

Rating: 2 out of 5.

*I received a copy from the publisher in return for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book.*

Astrid has her plan for life all sorted out. Everything is planned to the T, each second allocated and never wasted, all for the end goal of getting into medical school. While endearing and loveable, her boyfriend Max manages to throw her entire life up in the air. He never keeps to her schedule and always disappears mid-date for unknown reasons. When a villain breaks into her room one night, the last thing she never expects is Max to be the one to save her as local superhero Kid Comet. With the truth now out, Astrid must come to terms with the fact that life might become much more demanding. And hopefully, her GPA doesn’t suffer.

What worked well for me with How to Date a Superhero was its concept. I enjoyed Fernandez’s debut and her take on the coming-of-age story within a college setting of a young girl learning her boyfriend is a superhero and has been for quite some time. We’ve always asked ourselves what happens to the regular person during the midst of a superhero takedown of a city. And for Astrid, it’s wondering if her classes will still be happening. It was funny and relatable as someone who also had a very stressed-out experience in university that began with a multitude of strikes and ended with the beginning of a global pandemic. There is minimal action as we follow mainly Astrid’s college life and her time in a programme designed for significant others of superheroes.

While Fernandez sets up a fascinating and unique story, I couldn’t help but feel like this entire story was lacking. In theory, the book is good, but its execution was rather lacklustre. It felt somewhat repetitive: Astrid goes to classes, something comes up (Max related or not), and she laments about the strain it will cause her plans. And this is repeated throughout the novel. There is a significant conflict within the story between Astrid and a classmate, but it wasn’t well incorporated into the story to the point when the climax happens; it feels deflated and unexciting because the build-up wasn’t there, except for a few throwaway lines that were painfully obvious it was meant to link back to the resolution. As part of Astrid’s nature to stick to her rules and timetable, her feelings for Max don’t come across well on the page. I’ll be honest; I felt more stressed on her behalf, wondering what the two saw in each other. There are sweet flashbacks, but again, it slows the story down because of their odd timing.

Astrid is the only character I liked because she was the only one who got any development. Her roommate is quirky but strategically gone for most of the novel, Max is sweet, but again, his thing is to be that goofy boyfriend hiding a lot from Astrid. There is minimal action as we follow mainly Astrid’s college life and her time in a programme designed for significant others of superheroes. Again, we are introduced to more characters who aren’t memorable at all.

Overall, another book where the execution doesn’t live up to the potential of its concept. A fun take on the life of a superhero from someone not so super. I did like that it was in a college setting (more books like this, please), but in the end, I wouldn’t recommend it.


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