FICTION

Lightning Girl: Superhero Squad

Kane Miller. (Lightning Girl). Mar. 2020. 336p. pap. $6.99. ISBN 9781684640799.
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Gr 4-6–Aurora Beam is learning how to use newly discovered superpowers. Having retrieved the Light of the World stone, Aurora finds out she’s part of a dynasty of superheroes. Her female relatives all share the power of light; when the earth was plunged into darkness, an ancestor harnessed the powers of the stone and lit up the earth. Newly famous, Aurora appears on Good Morning, Britain, where her superpowers create havoc. An unsure and awkward girl, celebrity does not come naturally to her. But Aurora’s family is supportive (even her annoying tech-savvy brother, who deletes a viral video of the calamitous appearance). The Beam family bring the stone to a conference for superheroes, who will collectively decide how to keep it secure. However, a new friend Cherry has a worrying premonition. Can Aurora and company keep the stone safe? Dixon’s second book in the series begins with a recap of the previous adventure. The central conflict—a precious stone key to the light of the earth—is difficult to conceptualize, and the theme could be restated more to keep readers on track. Much of the book deals with family and friendship, and presents a cast of appealing characters including a jewel-thief aunt with her ostrich sidekick, and Kizzy, Aurora’s agent and cheerleader. Although the depiction of the Beam family is warm and engaging, the superhero element of the story feels underdeveloped and vague. Black-and-white illustrations match the text to aid comprehension.
VERDICT A warmhearted superfamily story best suited for middle graders who enjoyed the first book in the series.

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