Some people are extraordinary. Some are just extra. TJ Klune’s YA debut, The Extraordinaries, is a queer coming-of-age story about a fanboy with ADHD and the heroes he loves.
Nick Bell? Not extraordinary. But being the most popular fanfiction writer in the Extraordinaries fandom is a superpower, right?
After a chance encounter with Shadow Star, Nova City’s mightiest hero (and Nick’s biggest crush), Nick sets out to make himself extraordinary. And he’ll do it with or without the reluctant help of Seth Gray, Nick’s best friend (and maybe the love of his life).
Rainbow Rowell’s Fangirl meets Marissa Meyer’s Renegades in TJ Klune’s YA debut.The Extraordinaries, T.J. Klune July 14, 2020
Now, is this book for you? Simple answer. Yes. The real question is on a scale from one to ten how much are you going to enjoy this book. That answer is also simple. The answer is an eleven. You really should be asking more open-ended questions. Why is this book so, do forgive the pun, extraordinary? That. Now that is a good question.
The Extraordinaries by T.J. Klune is a beautiful story about friendship, young love, and dreaming about becoming more than you are. Sure, does that kind of sort of sound like every other YA book ever written? Partially. What if I told you that this book involves superheroes, called Extraordinaries, slash-fiction about those Extraordinaries, and more queer characters than I have fingers? Oh yeah! That’s right.
T.J. Klune writes a wonderfully witty and heart-warming story that involves superheroes. Who doesn’t love some superheroes, right? There is something very important that ties The Extraordinaries to reality. Is it Nova City? Maybe…let me see if Nova City exists in the world. Alright, according to Google Maps, Nova City isn’t a real city so it’s not that. Although, Nova City feels like you live there the entire time. What really ties this story into reality and humanity is the fact that Klune isn’t telling a coming out story. Nick is out. All of his friends are out. This is a story that is happening AFTER one comes out to their friends and family. This story shows the great things that happen after one comes out to the people they love. Like Nick’s awkward conversation with his dad about how to use a condom and Nick’s dad asking Nick to stop posting soft-core porn on his Tumblr. Oh that’s right. it is all in here. Plus, there is the beautiful awkward love story of Nick having dated Owen, who is the rich boy in the friend group, versus Seth who is the shy stud-muffin in the friend group. Holy crap. There’s also Gabby and Jazz who are are a pair of badass lesbians who are dating. Oh my god! The friend group is like The Breakfast Club, but what if Claire Standish and Allison Reynolds were dating and if a gay Brian Johnson dated a rich John Bender but was actually in love with a bi Andrew Clark. PLUS superheros. Like, how are you still reading this review and now The Extraordinaries right now?
Fine, let me keep talking about the best four star reviewed book I have ever read. Why four stars? Well, because it’s book one of a series and that makes me mad I am not currently reading book two. Like, how dare T.J. Klune not have book two immediately available for me to read. How dare he, right? Anyway, what do superheroes look like in The Extraordinaries universe? The EU if you will. Well, Klune plays on a lot of superhero tropes for the benefit of establishing the world as well as Nick Bell’s love for superheroes. Klune doesn’t pretend like superhero stories don’t exist and he uses the tropes from those stories to explore Nick’s journey. Honestly, without giving any major details away, Klune is a master of both comedy and heartfelt love. To say Klune has his tone fine-tuned is an understatement and the way that Klune dissects both the tropes of superhero stories and tropes of queer literature to perfectly blend them together into a story that makes the tropes not only good things but also celebrates the glorious parts of the tropes.
Now, something that I am not familiar with personally, but is still in the book…Nick is diagnosed with severe ADHD. To the point where he gets severe migraines if he doesn’t take medicine for it or tries too hard to fight it himself. I can’t say that I have ADHD or that I know what that feels like. However, I do feel like after having read The Extraordinaries, I feel like I have a better appreciation and understanding of what it must be like chemically being unable to focus. T.J. Klune does some amazing work on a line-to-line basis showing Nick deal with not only his ADHD, but also the feeling his has when he takes his medication. Klune uses the form to perfectly demonstrate how Nick feels and what his day is like having ADHD and how it controls decisions he has to make throughout his day and life.
Overall, T.J. Klune tells a beautiful story about inclusion, acceptance, and accomplishment. Klune’s characters are all diverse, special, and wonderful in a million thousand ways. My only complaints about this book is that it is a series and that I don’t immediately have the next book in front of me and that there is no graphic novel version. I am dying for Netflix to pick up The Extraoridnaries. So, like, get on it Netflix. If you have room for one more fandom, pick up Klune’s book. If you don’t have more room for a fandom, pick up Klune’s book to replace that one semi-problematic fandom you hold on to. You know the one. I don’t have to tell you which one it is. Thank you, T.J. Klune for this amazing book and i am doing the Judge Judy GIF at you for book two.