Hi guys! I’m lucky enough to be part of the blog tour for this amazing book called Secondhand Origin Stories, which is a diverse book that involves sensitive issues, such as systemic racism and ableism. I loved the book, here’s my review:
Title: Secondhand Origin Stories
Author: Lee Blauersouth
Publishing Date: 15 March 2018
Genres: Science Fiction, YA
Opal has been planning to go to Chicago and join the Midwest’s superhero team, the Sentinels, since she was a little kid. That dream took on a more urgent tone when her superpowered dad was unjustly arrested for protecting a neighbor from an abusive situation. Now, she wants to be a superhero not only to protect people, but to get a platform to tell the world about the injustices of the Altered Persons Bureau, the government agency for everything relating to superpowers.
But just after Opal’s high school graduation, a supervillain with a jet and unclear motives attacks the downtown home of the Sentinels, and when Opal arrives, she finds a family on the brink of breaking apart. She meets a boy who’s been developing secret (and illegal) brain-altering nanites right under the Sentinel’s noses, another teenage superhero-hopeful who looks suspiciously like a long-dead supervillain, and the completely un-superpowered daughter of the Sentinels’ leader. Can four teens on the fringes of the superhero world handle the corruption, danger, and family secrets they’ve unearthed?
This book drops you right in the middle of a world where superheroes, villains and people with habilities exist, there’s especial goverment agencies and police units that regulate them and there’s corruption and injustice surrounding them. You have to learn about this world as you read, you see how everything works through the chracters’ perspectives and that’s how you learn about it. For me this worked really well, it didn’t take me too long to feel like I understood at least the basics of how the world worked and, after a little bit, I was able to keep up with the story without problem.
Something that I really enjoyed about this book was that it was intriguing from the start, there were secrets and mysteries around the four main characters and they didn’t know the answers either and they were trying to figure things out and that sucked me into the story inmediately, because I wanted to know what was going on.
As I said before, there’s four main characters, which were my favorite aspect of this book. I fell in love very quickly with three of those characters: Isaac, Yael and Jamie. They were the children of the superheroes and they were really complex characters, a genius scientist, an non-binary aspiring superhero and a character that is both vulnerable and so strong. From the pov of these three characters, the reader gets to see the dynamics of the superhero team and how it is not only a team but a family. That element is crucial to the story, because the complicated family dynamics, which I found fascinating to read about, promt a lot of the events that move the plot along.
Then there’s the fourth main character, Opal, which took me a little longer to love. Opal is an outsider to the team, to the family and she very much felt like an outsider to the story for at least the first half of the book. During that first half, I prefered to read from the other 3 perspectives, because from them I could learn more about all the secrets that were being kept. Later on, when the circumstances made it so that all four characters have to be together in a more full time basis, that’s when I fell in love with Opal as well. She is a nice, smart, compasionate, down to earth character with a strong moral sense.
Secondhand Origin Stories is definitely a character driven book much more than a plot driven one. The main problems that the characters are trying to solve are corruption and injustice in such a large scale that one book is not enough to confront all the different characters that play a part in that. This book, as the first in the series, manages to: make the characters aware of the problems, makes them decide to do something about it and makes sure that the team is as strong as it can be. It’s defintely a book that’s setting things up, but it’s not boring or slow, there’s so many things happening all the time. There’s one main storyline, that’s really interesting, about technology and the ethical use of it, that’s one of the first issues that the characters have to confront and it has a direct relation to the corruption and injustice that they are trying to change.
I think it’s important to mention that this is a really diverse book. The main characters are all queer, including a non binary main character. Also, one of the main characters is a black girl and there’s conversations throughout the book about systematic racism and especially about racial profiling and incarceration of black people. Additionally, there are deaf characters and there are characters that use ASL to communicate, and while there’s ableism portrait in this book, it’s called out and talked about on page.
Rating: 4,5 stars
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
After about a decade of drawing comics independently or with small presses, Lee started writing prose out of a combination of peer pressure and spite, then continued out of attachment to their favorite made-up people. They live in Minnesota even though it is clearly not a habitat humans were ever meant to endure, with their lovely wife/editor, the world’s most perfect baby, and books in every room of the house.
If you like categories, they’re an ENFJ Slytherin Leo. If you’re looking for demographics they’re an agender bisexual with a couple of disabilities. If you’re into lists of likes: Lee loves comics, classical art, round animals, tattoos, opera, ogling the shiner sciences, and queer stuff.
BLOG TOUR SCHEDULE
23 April (Monday)
- Secondhand Origin Stories blog tour launch
- Feature post from The Backwards Bookshelf
- Feature post from Candid Ceillie
- Review from The Backwards Bookshelf
- Review from Crimson Blogs
- Review from Samantha House
- Review from Stuffed Shelves
24 April (Tuesday)
- Excerpt from Not Just Fiction
- Excerpt from Utopia State of Mind
- Feature post from Unputdownable Books
- Review from That Bookshelf Bitch
- Review from Bookish and Awesome
- Review from Cliste Bella
- Review from wallflower’s plight
25 April (Wednesday)
- Excerpt from The Nerdy Elite
- Review from BookMyHart
- Review from Candid Ceillie
- Review from F A N N A
- Review from forthenovellovers
- Review from Igniting Pages
- Review from Spines In a Line
26 April (Thursday)
- Excerpt from Provocatrix
- Review from Bookish Wanderess
- Review from bookishwisps
- Review from Flying Paperbacks
- Review from TheHufflepuffNerdette
- Review from My Reading List
- Review from Unputdownable Books
27 April (Friday)
- Author interview on That Bookshelf Bitch
- Feature post from Cliste Bella
- Review from Afire Pages
- Review from The Book Maiden
- Review from The Little Miss Bookworm
- Review from Reader Fox and a Box of Books
- Review from The Youngvamp’s Haven