Flash Fire, TJ Klune's deeply funny follow-up to The Extraordinaries, traces teenager Nick Bell's anything-but-average life living in the company of superheroes. This dynamic story is a satisfying sequel that also stands firmly on its own.
Nick, his boyfriend Seth and their queer female-identified best friends (one of whom is Black) are busy navigating young adult milestones like prom and becoming physically intimate while also trying to survive spontaneous encounters with Extraordinaries, superheroes of both the good and evil persuasions. One moment, Nick's single father catches him and his boyfriend in a compromising position; the next, Nick is trapped in an alley with supervillains. Unfortunately, Nick's innocent curiosity combined with his impulsivity--an effect of his ADHD--often cause him to misread potentially harmful situations. "If only ADHD could be a superpower," Nick laments. When an old foe--during a surprise encounter--claims a personal link to Nick's deceased mother, Nick becomes convinced there's more to his mom's history than what his father has shared. Nick soon uncovers a secret about his mother's past that leads to a startling personal discovery.
Nick is the novel's third-person limited narrator. His hilarious, rapid-fire thoughts and delightful non sequiturs allow readers to inhabit a comfortable space where they can laugh at his foibles while also feeling protective toward him. Klune effectively juxtaposes LGBTQ+ young adults and their everyday pressures with dangerous run-ins with Extraordinaries. The author establishes meaningful, complicated relationships and melds them with fast-paced suspenseful action scenes that will surely captivate fans of classic superhero fiction and convert newbies. --Kieran Slattery, freelance reviewer, teacher, co-creator of Gender Inclusive Classrooms