**WARNING – THIS REVIEW CONTAINS ADULT CONTENT**
Our scrappy teenage superheroes from San Francisco are back with Heroine Worship.
Annie Chang fights under her superhero name: Aveda Jupiter. She fights against the demons who have infested San Francisco from another world or dimension. And she fights alongside her best friend, Evie Tanaka. But jealousy is a pretty cruel demon on its own and Annie isn’t enjoying being relegated to becoming Evie’s side-kick. Adding to the feeling that she’s in the backseat to Evie, is that Evie is about to get married, so San Francisco’s eyes are all on her.
And to make matters worse … is Evie’s wedding dress haunted by a demon? Haunted, and only Annie has figured it out? Ripping away the dress in public only makes Annie look pathetic and desperate for attention. But Annie’s got a plan to get the demon-possessed bridal dresses to attack her – she needs to get Scott to propose to her. It doesn’t matter that he’s been a little distant, or that they haven’t even ‘done it’ yet – it’s just to draw out the demons after all. What could go wrong?
What I like about this book (and its predecessor) is that it feels very topical. These superheroes aren’t all-powerful or omniscient and that younger readers can relate to them. Being Asian-American young women also adds to the intrigue here as this (hopefully) reaches out to a new audience.
What I didn’t like about this book is that it was … well … boring. There are almost 400 pages here and there isn’t really a lot happening in those pages, except for Annie to, time and again, look like she’s upset at playing second fiddle. We got that pretty quickly, we don’t need constant reminders.
But it isn’t entirely a story about jealousy. There’s sex. Oh yeah … there’s sex!
I have to say, the sex in this book made me blush! And bear in mind … I read and review erotica sometimes!
Two examples that I highlighted in my Kindle because they seemed a little too ‘graphic’ for a YA novel (you’ve been warned!):
when I’d made the commitment to being Aveda Jupiter, I simply didn’t have time to pursue such things further. I got myself a vibrator, learned all the best techniques for making use of it, and relied on that to relieve all urges and unwanted tension. After all, who knew what I liked better than me? Bringing another person into the equation seemed like an unnecessarily complicated proposition.
“I’ve grown rather fond of the bag o’ dildos. The fruit punch-flavored condoms came in really handy last night.”
I went back to look over my review of the first book and noted that I commented on the sex in that volume as well.
There’s nothing wrong with sex in literature. Even in YA fiction! But when the lasting impression from a novel (or two) is that of the sex scenes, then perhaps there’s a little problem with either the way it is addressed or presented. It’s just a little bit too prominent, given the rest of the story. But perhaps that’s intentional. Teens and twenty-somethings tend to think about sex a lot and author Kuhn is simply working within the teenage boundaries. Even so … I didn’t need it. I didn’t need to be in the room while the kids got to it. Just let the door close. We know what happens.
Looking for a good book? Heroine Worship by Sarah Kuhn is the second book in the Heroine Complex and understands its YA audience – perhaps just a bit too well.
I received a digital copy of this book from the publisher, through Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review.
* * * * * *
author: Sarah Kuhn
series: Heroine Complex #2
publisher: Daw Books
paperback, 384 pages