Book Review: Captain Superlative

Screen Shot 2018-01-30 at 2.08.20 PMWho would be brave enough to come to middle school dressed as a superhero–with a silver bathing suit, blue wig, red mask, and homemade cape? Who would be weird enough to call herself Captain Superlative? And who would be crazy enough to think that she could make all troubles disappear?

Jane doesn’t know. She herself tries to stay as invisible as air. Especially since the death of her mother four years earlier, she’s found that it’s safest not to stand out, not to be noticed, not to get involved.

But Jane is intrigued by Captain Superlative. She wants to know who she is. More importantly, she wants to know why she does what she does. The answers she finds, though, pull her out of her comfort zone.

Captain Superlative by J.S. Puller is a coming of age story–sometimes funny, sometimes sad, and sometimes sweet.

My favorite things about this book are:

  • Jane’s point of view. Jane starts the story as an observer and bystander, and she only reluctantly takes on an active role. I love her description of Captain Superlative’s first visit to her home: “It was more like another story had just crashed into my book and the style of illustration was completely different. It was a surrealist drawing in the middle of my still life.”
  • The relationship between Jane and her father. At school, she may be Plain Jane, but at home with her dad, she’s Janey! The two of them play a game where they think of synonyms that start with the same letter, and he provides her with gentle advice and support. The glimpses the reader gets of her at home make her public transformation more believable.
  • Its message about empathy and kindness. Although the book depicts some bullying, Captain Superlative sets the example of reaching out to both the bully and the victim. The book shows that everyone has a story, and that treating others with thoughtfulness makes a difference.

Thank you to Disney-Hyperion and Netgalley for giving me the opportunity to read an advance copy of this book. Its expected publication date is May 8.

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