'Flash Fire' by TJ Klune is book two in The Extraordinaries, a series about everyday teens with not-so-everyday abilities.
Though I missed out on the debut book, I definitely intend to go back and catch up.. because this one was delightful. I laughed so much in the opening pages and didn't want to put it down, even briefly and had to keep explaining to the people around me why I was laughing at all.
Nick Bell is the central figure, a charming boy with ADHD, enough enthusiasm for multiple people, and a hot superhero boyfriend. When he isn't busy helping out via his place on 'Team PyroStorm' or even better.. making out with the Extraordinary himself, he spends his time writing fanfics about his favorite hero and trying to deal with the fact he doesn't have any special powers of his own.
As new Extraordinaries come to light, like a pair of twins who can manipulate smoke and ice, a telekinetic enigma, and a drag queen with the best name and possibly the best catchphrases ever heard, Team PyroStorm has to figure out who's a threat to Nova City and who they can count on to help.
Old secrets start to bubble up in the midst of everything else, making Nick question who he can trust and what he really knows about those he's come to idealize.
There are spots of dialogue throughout the book that are brilliantly funny and remind me of people I know. Most of the brightest dialogue is front-loaded and while I feel the topics handled later are very important, the way they are addressed often feels a little less natural in the moment.
I can't say the reveals weren't predictable to me, but they might not be for others. Likewise, instead of feeling disappointed that I already knew where things were going, I was pleased.. even excited.. to see them come to fruition.
Nick and Seth are so lovely together, I just adore them. And Gibby and Jazz are a very close second to that. I really enjoyed how genuine and warm these relationships were in a genre where stories seem to thrive largely on conflict between couples. It's a very 'us against the world' theme at times and it made my investment in the outcome much stronger. These are people who love completely and are there for one another first and foremost.
It's also nice to see some pretty healthy parent-kid relationships, where they can interact with each other respectfully and it's not all one-sided demands for obedience. Though that's obviously not every scenario, it is present here.. and something I can relate to personally.
The story itself is really fun, lots of action scenes and excitement, plus we seem to be set-up for another book while avoiding the dreaded cliffhanger. I can happily recommend this to fans of stories about superheroes, coming of age stories, and teen camaraderie at its best.