Monday, May 23, 2016

Lois Lane, Crusading Teen Reporter

I have a family member who thinks that if you're going to make dramatic changes in an established character and her world, why not just give her a new name, too? To him, you're no longer working with the original material.

I, on the other hand, enjoy it when someone messes with the known. The first Mission Impossible movie when Mr. Phelps ended up doing what he did? The rest of my family was distraught, but I loved it.

So, yes, I liked Lois Lane: Fallout by Gwenda Bond.

Lois is a contemporary teen, not someone from the original comic book era or an adult. She's a bit of a troublemaker. Is it because she's had to change schools a lot because she's a military brat? Or is it because she has an uncontrollable need to help the downtrodden? She has a future as a crusading reporter, though she doesn't realize it at the beginning of the book.

You know, "crusading reporter"--that's a phrase I don't hear much anymore.

This teen Lois also knows teen Superman, but only on-line. And, of course, she doesn't know he's Superman or is going to become Superman. This Lois can almost do without him. She doesn't need no Superman, especially in the form of a teenage boy who will only interact with her over the Internet and won't even tell her his name. But, okay, okay. Lois Lane is from the Superman universe. I get it. He has to be there, whatever his age.

One of the most interesting things about this book doesn't have anything to do with the Superman narrative. Fallout is about bullying. We're not talking an improving "Bullying is baaaaaad" story. This is a thriller in which students are turned into bullies and then bully others into becoming bullies, too. It's all part of an evil plot, which I won't go into because that's a particularly good part of the book.

But Why Don't Any Adults Notice?

This is, I have to say, one of those books, like Evil Librarian, in which dire things are happening and no adult seems to notice. The bullies are all dressed in black and behaving in a disturbing manner and not a single teacher raises a red flag? I get why the principal and computer teacher didn't, but they weren't the only adults in the building. Teenagers with behavioral problems have done some horrific things in schools over the last decade or more. One kid like the bullies in this book might be able to stay under the radar, but, logically, that many would have had someone keeping an eye on them. (I sure hope so, anyway.) It's also unbelievable that not a single parent voiced concern over the dramatic change in their kid's behavior. Or raised questions about where their child was going in the afternoons.

But Otherwise...

Lois, herself, is great. She has personal power and an edge. A second book came out this month, one that looks as if it will take Lois out of the high school. And there are a couple of free digital short stories, so you can be introduced to Lois and her world right away.


tanita✿davis said...

I was *shocked* I liked this so much - since I tend to be of the school of, "Meh, it's a whole new person, just give them a new name..." but I am a sucker for Teen Lois, because what do we really know about her life? Nothing, except wherein it intersected with Clark Kent's and there's tons more of her life before and up to that point to explore. I think Gwenda's chosen a real winner and am so excited for her.

Gail Gauthier said...

I wasn't particularly interested in a teen Lois to begin with when I first saw a review somewhere. But I saw the book included in an article and picked it up when I stumbled upon it at the library.

I guess that supports the argument that readers need to see multiple mentions of a book before they'll make the decision to read. Or, more likely, remember to read.