PrintE-mail Written by Tommy James

To the outside world David is just a typical sixteen year old boy. He’s quiet, socially awkward and prefers his own company. He has converted his late father’s study in the attic into a bedroom where he blocks out the rest of the world by losing himself in his dad’s old comic books. He used to draw, but not so much since his dad died. His once close relationship with his mother is now peppered with tension and unfinished conversations. It’s the summer following his exams and whilst his best friend Joe and crush Ellen are making the most of their freedom before the dreaded Results Day, David has other things on his mind.


See, he’s a superhero.


He doesn’t have a suit. He doesn’t drive a David-mobile. He hasn’t assembled with the rest of the Avengers. But he has powers. And he has a mission: to save a man from drowning in a sinking car.


But, there’s a distraction. And that distraction’s name is Holly Harper. David tracks his beautiful neighbour using his telescope only to discover that Holly has a few secrets of her own, and it’s up to David to help her. Complicating matters is his troubled friendship with Joe, a sudden romantic entanglement with one-time crush Ellen and a rivalry with her douchebag boyfriend Matt and his band of cronies, not to mention his mother’s constant prying and the fact that she has hired Holly as a cleaner.


David’s an easy character to root for, even if you might sometimes find his attitude as frustrating as his mother does. Priestly expertly weaves the complexity of being sixteen alongside funny, relatable dialogue as the implications of David’s mission and his grief at his father’s death cast long, inescapable shadows in the background. The conversations between David and Joe on the lack of black superheroes is one that will stay with you, regardless of whether it’s an issue that’s occurred to you before, and the third act revelations are gut wrenching just as much as they are a joy to read.


Superpowerless is a socially conscious coming of age tale that entertains on every level and is required reading for anyone who is, was, or knows a teenager, whether they have superpowers or not.



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