"Mother, I love and admire you. But when I grow up, I want to be just like me."
~Wonder Woman, WONDER WOMAN at SUPERHERO HIGH
There is something implicitly appealing about taking a larger than life character and imagining what they were like as a youth. Do Superheroe's get acne, do they gossip, do they have cliques? Do they doubt themselves and try too hard, do they get scared? In the DC SuperHero Girls series, Lisa Yee says yes to all of the above. She reimagines the female characters of the DC universe into high schoolers going through some of the same trials and tribulations that any middle grade reader might be experiencing. These larger than life ladies are brought down just enough to a level that makes them relatable, and gosh darn it the books themselves are so adorable and fun to read, even for adults! I loved seeing Amanda Waller as the Principal of the high school, I loved how the personalities of these well known Superhero's were kept intact but imagined with the extra flair of teen hormones and high school environment.
The series is technically a numbered series, and the end of one will sort of introduce who the main character of the next book will be, but if you happen to read out of order I don't think you'll have lost anything. For review I read the first book, Wonder Woman at Super Hero High, and the third book, BatGirl at Super Hero High. They were both quirky and fun engaging reads, each with their own character specific moral. In Wonder Woman's story, she has lived a sheltered life on Paradise Island, but manages to let her mother allow her to go to Super Hero High. Wonder Woman is pretty good at rescuing people but it seems that some part of her desperately wants to know what it feels like to not save the day all alone. Acclimating is not so easy as she finds herself lost in translation when it comes to her peers's lingo. As a young girl who told her mother that she wanted to grow up to be herself, she ends up feeling doubtful that she'll be accepted at Super Hero High, doubtful that she has what it takes to be a part of the school. In BatGirl's story, we explore what it means to be Super. After all, Barbara Gordon is not a metahuman, she is perfectly normal. After working at the school as a tech assistant ( Her Barbara Assisted Technology a.k.a B.A.T was such a cute touch!) BatGirl gets the opportunity to become a student there. Her father is doubtful that she can handle it, and once she starts trying to keep up with all of these powerful peers, Barbara begins to doubt herself too. What we all come to learn is that there are multiple ways to be a Superhero, and you don't have to have a power in order to be powerful and capable of inducing positive change.
These are the kinds of empowering messages we want for middle-graders. And I say middle-graders because I think even though this series is a little more geared towards girls, boys could enjoy it too if they gave it a chance. So if you have any middle-graders in your life, introduce them to DC SuperHero Girls by Lisa Yee, or pick it up for yourself if you want the nostalgia of imagining your favorite superheroes had to go through high school just like you.