Flash Fire

- TJ Klune

Goodreads Book Blurb:

Through bravery, charm, and an alarming amount of enthusiasm, Nick landed himself the superhero boyfriend of his dreams. Now instead of just writing stories about him, Nick actually gets to kiss him. On the mouth. A lot. But having a superhero boyfriend isn’t everything Nick thought it would be—he’s still struggling to make peace with his own lack of extraordinary powers.

When new Extraordinaries begin arriving in Nova City—siblings who can manipulate smoke and ice, a mysterious hero who can move objects with their mind, and a drag queen superhero with the best name and the most-sequined costume anyone has ever had—it’s up to Nick and his friends Seth, Gibby, and Jazz to determine who is virtuous and who is villainous.

And new Extraordinaries aren’t the only things coming to light. Long-held secrets and neglected truths are surfacing that challenge everything Nick knows about justice, family, and being extraordinary. Which is a lot to handle when Nick really just wants to finish his self-insert bakery AU fanfic.

Will it all come together in the end or will it all go down in flames?

Series / Genres:

My Review:

***Thanks to NetGalley and Tor Teen for an eARC of this book. The following review is my honest reflection on the text provided.

almost perfect:

I was worried that it would be hard to recreate the unique quality of Nick’s narrative in a second book. It would be so easy for it to become repetitive or pushed too far to force the story. I didn’t need to worry, though: Nick is back with his unflinching sentimentality and unpredictable honesty, and I loved every page. There are still plenty of absurd quotes to be found:

"Oh my god, wait. There have to be trans Extraordinaries! Do you think we'll get to meet them?"
"Probably," Jazz said. "I've personally met an absurd number of queer Extraordinaries. Poor straight people. They really don't get to have much, aside from fake-white Jesus, do they?"
They took a moment of silence for the heterosexuals of the world. When enough time had passed (six seconds - straights didn't need that much sympathy), Nick clapped his hands.

There’s definitely more action this time around, and I found the story to be a lot less predictable. But don’t worry, it’s still incredibly cheesy, especially as Nick and Seth navigate their friendship becoming a relationship. I loved Nick’s steadfast refusal to allow bisexual erasure when it came to Seth’s identity, always pushing it to the forefront while seemingly oblivious to their surroundings.

It’s unusual for parents to play such a big role in YA, but it allowed for the discussion of police brutality that was sorely missing from The Extraordinaries. Admittedly, it was a little clunky and politically correct – it’s hard to do a total 180 from cop worship to defund the police – but it was definitely an improvement. I’ll be interested to see if this is developed further as the series continues.

The biggest sticking point for me was that no one figured out that …

… Seth was Pyro Storm. One day Nick is kissing Pyro Storm, and the next day he’s kissing Seth – who else could it be?!

For some reason, in a series that is full of plot holes and unlikely events, that’s the one that bothers me. Unfortunately, I wasn’t a fan of the post-credits scene this time, either. I’m hoping Klune can save this stinker of a development with a bulletproof explanation in the third book, but it doesn’t seem possible.

Flash Fire managed to replicate the magic of The Extraordinaries while developing the relationships of the characters and adding more depth to the narrative. Nick and his friends demonstrate how to balance acceptance, inclusion, and accountability admirably; it’s not always easy, but it’s definitely worth it.

They danced. Here, in this little corner of the world, they danced. It wasn't perfect, but then, Nick thought beautiful things didn't always have to be. The truth was in the awkwardness, the imperfection.

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