Fallout (Lois Lane #1)
By: Gwenda Bond
Publisher: Switch Press
Publication Date: May 1st, 2015
Lois Lane is starting a new life in Metropolis. An Army brat, Lois has lived all over—and seen all kinds of things. (Some of them defy explanation, like the near-disaster she witnessed in Kansas in the middle of one night.) But now her family is putting down roots in the big city, and Lois is determined to fit in. Stay quiet. Fly straight. As soon as she steps into her new high school, though, she can see it won’t be that easy. A group known as the Warheads is making life miserable for another girl at school. They’re messing with her mind, somehow, via the high-tech immersive videogame they all play. Not cool. Armed with her wit and her new snazzy job as a reporter, Lois has her sights set on solving this mystery. But sometimes it’s all a bit much. Thank goodness for her maybe-more-than-a friend, a guy she knows only by his screenname, SmallvilleGuy.
Something I’ve noticed is that the superhero movie trend is slowly moving into books. First it’s Margaret Stohl’s Black Widow, then Eoin Colfer’s Iron Man, and now both DC and Marvel are pouring tons of money into YA books (I have to admit, I’m excited for the DC lineup, from what I’ve heard of it). Gwenda Bond’s Lois Lane fits into this trend, although it slightly removed.
This book is somewhere between middle grades and YA proper, although I think it’s highly accessible for both. After all, we all know who Lois Lane is, and we can appreciate her both as Superman’s girlfriend and as a badass journalist. It fits a delightful trend of ‘the young so-and-so’, in giving us a glimpse of her life pre-Superman (kind of). But Gwenda Bond’s version is decidedly modern. Lois Lane’s tools are the internet, her challenges hologram video games and school bullies.
What I liked most is the portrayal of Lois. Although she’s a badass journalist in the Man of Steel movie, what I remember most about her is her role as Superman’s love interest. Gwenda Bond reminds us that, well before she met the Man of Steel, she was a woman on a mission, someone who was fearless in pursuit of the truth and willing to do whatever it took to accomplish her goals. But, despite that, she was also a kind, compassionate human being who was deeply empathetic and adamant in the pursuit of justice. So really, she’s just an all-around fantastic character.
The story was very fast-paced, with Lois on the hunt from page one. There was a very nice balance between action and character, and everything felt both realistic for the (somewhat futuristic) timeframe and the intended audience. Lois’ interactions with her fellow journalist group were especially nice, and helped to give her balance and smooth her rough edges. I thought that the topics of gaming, bullies, bad school administrators and well-intentioned-but-problematic parents were both interesting and relevant.
I also really enjoyed the love story. Of course we ALL know who her mysterious Kansas-based chat partner is, but it provides an interesting bit of tension that Lois doesn’t. I also like that Gwenda Bond isn’t trying to warp DC canon by putting a teenage Clark Kent in Metropolis, but instead has their relationship an internet-based one. Gwenda Bond did this both cleverly and well, including a lot of the amusing quirks of online relationships, and some of the awkwardness of the high school dating scene, while still creating an almost-romance very in keeping with the time period, the ages of the people involved, and the characters.
This is on the younger side of YA, at least in my opinion. But, also in my opinion, it’s a fun, fast-paced, exciting read that I would read recommend to anyone, regardless of age, who likes YA.
Disclaimer: The synopsis and cover picture were pulled from the book’s Goodreads page. Neither belong to us.