John is a powerless teen at a private school in a world where everyone has a power. He's determined to do well and study hard, and he's particularly determined to keep his head down as he's a target for high-power bullies. But, he often finds himself in the infirmary after standing up for folks who can fight back or for mouthing off to someone with more power than him. Good thing that his best friend is Seraphina, one of the most powerful kids in school. There are some strange things happening around in the community, though. Someone is murdering high powered superheroes and tracking even high schoolers who are overpowered. And Sera comes under fire when school officials find her with a copy of a banned book, so now he's without his loyal protector. Will it be the school that finally breaks him, or will it be his secret past finally catching up with him?
This was a pretty unassuming title at first that followed a lot of tropes and reminded me a lot of My Hero Academia. But the title got more complex with the darker side of the society and the structure to the school's hierarchy. I also appreciated that there weren't as many characters introduced as quickly in this title, and the color illustrations helped to differentiate between all of them. The magical powers were interesting and didn't require a ton of explanation. This is a little longer for a graphic novel, but it got really intriguing halfway through, and I was immersed in what was happening with John. At that point, the pages flew by, and the cliffhanger ending left me unsatisfied that there weren't more pages.
John gets in quite a few fist fights and often breaks or has his bones broken, so expect some violence and lots of hand-to-hand combat in this title.
Sara's Rating: 9/10
Suitability Level: Grades 9-12
Publication Date: November 7, 2023
ISBN: 9780358467809 (Paperback)
This review was made possible with a digital reader copy from the publisher through Net Galley.
Tags: Rating: 9/10, Suitability: High School, Graphic Fiction, Action Adventure, School Life, Magic, Friendship, HarperAlley
I've been reading manga and comicbooks for years. Now, I write reviews and other helpful things for School Librarians, teachers, parents, and students.
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