Reviewed by Alex McGilvery
These are not your average comic book super heroes. Superpowers is a novel describing what happens when five young people wake up one morning to discover they have superpowers. Charlie can read minds while Jack is super fast. Harriet can become invisible; Caroline flies, and Mary Beth is super strong. Life is far from simple for these newly minted superheroes. It takes them a while to learn to control their powers, and longer to decide whether they should be using their powers to make their community safer.
Once they embark on their career as the All-Stars, Madison is polarized between the people who think the new vigilante group is great and those who want to track them down and stop them. The All-Stars also learn that life is far from simple even for super heroes. Their actions have unexpected consequences, and their powers exact a price.
David Schwartz gives us a glimpse of what might happen if ordinary people suddenly gained extraordinary powers. The book is told by a narrator, who also appears as a minor character in the story. It is a device that works very well. Schwartz is able to hint at coming problems without being too heavy handed. The characters of the five heroes are well developed and their life situations are realistic. As in all the best stories, you will find both humor and tragedy in this novel. The ending shows that the powers of super heroes have limits, but that ordinary people may be able to move past those limits.
David Schwartz has penned a fable for our time. Even the best of intentions may go awry, and nobody can control their own destiny completely. He shows both the fear and the strength of our society. Superpowers or not, he challenges us to take responsibility for our lives and our actions.
I found Superpowers to be a fun and satisfying read.
Armchair Interviews says: A most-interesting novel.