Book Review – The Extraordinaries

Author: TJ Klune

Publication Date: July 14, 2020

Length: 405 pages

Read Date(s): April 26, 2021 – April 28, 2021


Goodreads Synopsis

Some people are extraordinary. Some are just extra. TJ Klune’s YA debut, The Extraordinaries, is a queer coming-of-age story about a fanboy with ADHD and the heroes he loves.

Nick Bell? Not extraordinary. But being the most popular fanfiction writer in the Extraordinaries fandom is a superpower, right?

After a chance encounter with Shadow Star, Nova Cityโ€™s mightiest hero (and Nickโ€™s biggest crush), Nick sets out to make himself extraordinary. And heโ€™ll do it with or without the reluctant help of Seth Gray, Nick’s best friend (and maybe the love of his life).

Rainbow Rowell’s Fangirl meets Marissa Meyer’s Renegades in TJ Klune’s YA debut.

My Review

I love almost everything about this book. I picked it up because I enjoyed one of TJ Klune’s other books, The House in the Cerulean Sea. It is nothing like that book (other than having great queer rep), but it turned out to be everything I never knew I needed. A wide range of fantastic queer characters? Check. Cool superheroes? Check. A beautiful coming of age story? Check. Hilarious teen angst with a side of romance? Check and check. The story just has so much going for it.

My favorite thing about this book is its humor. I laughed throughout the entire story because of the author’s wit and the book’s hilarious dialogue. I was hooked on the tone and writing style from the very first chapter. I loved all the pop culture and comic book references sprinkled throughout the text. The entire book felt like I was inside the head of a queer, teenage boy with severe ADHD. So, kudos to the author for making the book not only funny but also real.

The book wasn’t all fun and games, though. It tackled a few very serious topics, including grief, living with a mental illness, and learning to accept yourself the way you are, among others. Overall, I think it handled each of these topics with care while using humor to make them feel less heavy. I particularly enjoyed following the main character’s struggle with wanting to change himself, and the antics he engages in while attempting to make the changes are quite ludicrous and fun to read.

The characters in this book really shined. Nick was an absolute disaster of a human in all the best ways. He was loud, tangential, and self-absorbed while also being loving, hilarious, and much more than meets the eye. His friends were great too and added a lot of fun diversity to the book. Gibby and Jazz provided excellent snark to counter Nick’s ridiculousness. Additionally, I was particularly excited to meet Seth, who rounds out this crew with excellent bi male representation. I enjoyed the complexity of Nick’s father and his relationship with Nick, and their sex talks were one of the most hilarious parts of the book.

Despite loving this book, there was one thing I did not like. The book devoted a great deal of time to police because Nick’s father was a police officer. Overall, I think the book did a fantastic job of portraying what it is like to love someone who is an officer. Nick clearly idolizes his father, but I think the book could have done a little more to take a balanced approach to the police, especially since the book attempts to tackle the topic of police brutality. I don’t think the author did a terrible job with it, but there was one joke, in particular, about police brutality that really shouldn’t have been there. The author did a good job of humanizing the police, but I would have liked to see more of a critique of the system, as well.

Overall, I loved this book and recommend it to fans of superheroes, teen angst, and queer romance. I hope the author does more to critique the police with the next book while keeping all of the elements I loved about this story. I can’t wait to read the next book. Therefore, I rate this book 5 out of 5 stars.

Book Review – The House in the Cerulean Sea


Linus Baker is an overworked case worker at the Department in Charge of Magical Youth. He is also kind of a square who always does everything by the book and lives for his routines. His quiet life gets upturned when he is unexpectedly summoned by Extremely Upper Management and given a classified assignment. He must spend a month at an orphanage that holds some of the most dangerous magical children in the world to determine if the man running the place is fit to do so. During his time there, Linus struggles to maintain his objectivity while determining what is best for the children and attempting to uncover this orphanage’s secrets.

What I Liked

Everything. Seriously though, I loved everything about this book: the characters, the plot, the pacing, the LGBT+ representation, and, most of all, the message. This book took me through a wide range of emotions as the story unfolded. I was amused, angry, heartbroken, and ecstatically happy all within a span of several hundred pages. I teared up from both sadness and happiness multiple times while reading this book. Although, I won’t admit to crying…much.

The characters in this book were adorable and well-written. There was a great deal of depth to all of them, including the children, and getting to see their distinct personalities and backstories was a treat. Following Linus’s journey was particularly enjoyable. He started out as a stick in the mud who kept himself closed off from everyone, and the plot of the story helped him to expand his world and slowly let the children into his heart. It was a joy to read from start to finish.

This book conveyed several heartwarming messages through the plot of its story. It illustrated the healing that can come from acceptance while highlighting the damage caused by experiences of discrimination. The story of Linus also showed how stepping outside of your box and taking a risk can pay off and help you find exactly what you didn’t know you needed. His growth reminded me that the main thing usually standing in the way of my happiness and success is myself because of the limits I place due to what I think others expect of me. Finally, this story beautifully illustrated how powerful and important a ‘found family’ can be.

The romance in this book was well done. It developed subtly over the course of the book and does not take over the story. It was a believable build-up, which I appreciated.

What I Didn’t Like

Nothing. I enjoyed everything about the book. My only complaint was that there isn’t more of it. I will say, however, that the plot was predictable, but in a way that was cozy and enjoyable.

Final Thoughts

This a great book with a heartwarming story. The characters are fantastic and provide the vehicles for excellent story telling and important life lessons. I cannot recommend this book enough. Therefore, I rate it 5 out of 5 stars.