Tuesday, March 21, 2017

The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl - Her First Prose Novel! Squirrel Meets World!

One of Marvel's most enjoyable and fun comic characters is now starring in her very first prose novel!  That's right, Doreen Green, better known in the Marvel Universe as the Unbeatable Squirrel Girl, now has her very own young adult book! I remember seeing this in Previews magazine some months ago, but quite honestly, forgot all about it until I happened to come across the books at Barnes and Noble recently.  I absolutely love the comic series (the writing, I should specify - the art is way too cartoonish and the artist makes all the characters, including Squirrel Girl, look way too mannish for my taste) - it's one of the few comics on the market today that is simply good ol', down home fun!

Well, authors Shannon Hale and Dean Hale certainly know their Squirrel Girl, as the book read just like the comic - a fun, outrageous story filled with human conflict, friendship, selfless sacrifice, and plenty of squirrels!  Squirrel Meets World basically gives readers the opportunity to see what it was like when Doreen Green first came to terms with the fact that her tail and her above-average strength, speed, and reflexes could be used for the greater good.  She could be a super hero - - like the Avengers!  And just like the comics, there are footnotes throughout the book, as Doreen comments on everything that's going on (including her own actions and dialogue!).

The Hales begin the story with Doreen having just moved from California to New Jersey, so the reader knows right away this is going to be a fish out of water story as Doreen must adjust to an entirely new world, a new school, and a new group of squirrels.  Her parents are insistent she hide her tail, as "everyone would be sad that they don't have a tail, and we don't want to make all the other kids sad, do we?"  Doreen, ever the optimist (and also always gullible) heads to her new school with her tail tucked between her legs (literally!), intent on making new friends.  But making new friends in this school isn't easy, and soon Doreen begins to think that maybe she's doomed to be alone - particularly when even the squirrels don't want anything to do with her.

It isn't long, however, before Doreen finds herself righting the wrongs that a group of vandals are doing throughout the neighborhood - and while she never expected anyone to see her, they do!  Suddenly, she becomes the talk of the town!  Only, not as Squirrel Girl (that name her inner voice gives her as she narrates her days), but rather, as the Jersey Ghost!  Although her parents do not want her out putting herself in danger, her newfound friend (Ana Sofia) begins to come out of her own shell and encourages Doreen to take action.  And the more she does, the more Doreen begins to realize that she could be the super hero she's always dreamed of being - particularly after she rescues a squirrel from a trap and they refer to her as Squirrel Girl (hey!  that's the name she's been calling herself inside - maybe it's fate?).

The thrill of it all!  The excitement!  Doreen ... er, I mean Squirrel Girl ... enjoys it all, believing she is doing good in the world!  Until her antics are posted via videos on the internet.  Until someone begins to question whether her actions are really good, or if she is wreaking havoc in the community?  Suddenly, all of her good deeds are being twisted into the crazed antics of a super villain!  But who would think that?  And why would they convince others of that?  Well, it seems that someone has targeted Squirrel Girl - could it be?  Does that mean?  Why, yes, it does!  Squirrel Girl finds herself facing her very own arch-nemesis!

With guest appearances (via text) of Black Widow, Iron Man, Winter Soldier, She-Hulk, and Rocket Raccoon, Squirrel Meets World is a rambunctious romp through Squirrel Girl's mind, as well as that of her friends (since we also get chapters narrated by Tippy-Toe and her new friend, Ana Sofia).  Readers and fans of the character will thoroughly enjoy this comic-like tale - my only hope is that Shannon and Dean Hale will bring us more tales (or is that tails?) of Squirrel Girl!

RATING:   10 over-protective robot parents out of 10 for a good, clean, fun story about a fun-loving and always-optimistic super hero!

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