SQUIRREL GIRL by Shannon and Dean Hale

I am not an Avengers fan which is unfortunate because it seems to be a prerequisite for enjoying this book. Hale’s book is full of ridiculous one-liners and monologues during fight scenes, made-up squirrel gibberish, and pages of phone texts with spoofy Avengers. It is all too disingenuous and hyperbolic for me.

Reminiscent of the Avenger comics, the plot, villain, and superhero struggle in Squirrel Girl are all predictable and cliche. I adore Hale’s other novels and admire her writing; I assume she wrote this way on purpose, imitating Marvel’s “over-the-top” genre writing, and it just lacked the cleverness and heart of her other novels.

I read the book out loud with my children, who enjoyed the book, but the “chitter speak” is embarrassing to read out loud and the dialogue is immature, lacking in depth and nuance. It is a typical superhero story with nauseating optimism. I did enjoy the inclusion of a deaf sidekick, the relationship between Doreen and her parents, and the LARPers.