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  • Helen

The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl: Squirrel Meets World by Shannon and Dean Hale

Meet Doreen Green: just your average 14 year old girl, whose day to day life includes all the regular 14 year old girl things, such as eating nuts, talking to squirrels, and hiding her fluffy tail — wait, what?!? Okay okay, so maybe Doreen isn't quite like your standard teen, but when you have the power to rescue cats from trees, halt neighbourhood gangs, and prevent vandalism, the average teen life can seem quite... strange.

After moving across the country to California, Doreen has to start at a new school, make new friends, and keep her squirrel talents secret. This is a task in itself, without the added complication of an Evil Nemesis who seems to be determined to defeat Doreen and Ruin Her Life (and no, that is not a teen exaggeration, someone really does want to). As she navigates through high school and its many difficulties (such as how to avoid getting on the bad side of the popular kids, how to find a place in the lunch cafeteria, and how to not be attacked by LARPers), Doreen has to decide whether or not to embrace her squirrel side and become the town's local Superhero (with a capital S).

As a fan of Shannon Hale, this Marvel comic prequel novel (co-written with her husband Dean Hale) did not disappoint, with lots of humour, superhero darings and, of course, squirrels. Text messages are scattered throughout to keep the reader in the loop without losing the pacing of the story, which is something I usually don't love, but works really well in this book. It is a great way to add in Marvel characters (and a whole bunch of hilarity) to the story, without sidelining Doreen as the protagonist.

All in all, I really enjoyed this book; it's a fun take on the popular superhero trend, as well as displaying realistic teen friendships and dealing with feeling like an outsider. So grab your bear-ears hoodie, a handful of nuts (or substitute snack of your choice), settle in with your best-squirrel friend, and simply enjoy.

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