Book Review: Miles Morales by Jason Reynolds

Miles MoralesMiles Morales by Jason Reynolds
Hardcover, 272 pages
Expected publication: August 1st 2017 by Marvel Press
Pre-Order: Amazon
Review Copy: Provided via NetGalley

Description from Goodreads:
Miles Morales is just your average teenager. Dinner every Sunday with his parents, chilling out playing old-school video games with his best friend, Ganke, crushing on brainy, beautiful poet Alicia. He's even got a scholarship spot at the prestigious Brooklyn Visions Academy. Oh yeah, and he's Spider Man.

But lately, Miles's spidey-sense has been on the fritz. When a misunderstanding leads to his suspension from school, Miles begins to question his abilities. After all, his dad and uncle were Brooklyn jack-boys with criminal records. Maybe kids like Miles aren't meant to be superheroes. Maybe Miles should take his dad's advice and focus on saving himself.

As Miles tries to get his school life back on track, he can't shake the vivid nightmares that continue to haunt him. Nor can he avoid the relentless buzz of his spidey-sense every day in history class, amidst his teacher's lectures on the historical "benefits" of slavery and the importance of the modern-day prison system. But after his scholarship is threatened, Miles uncovers a chilling plot, one that puts his friends, his neighborhood, and himself at risk.

It's time for Miles to suit up.

My Review:

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Over the past year or so, Marvel has made it a point to put out young adult novels centered on some of their biggest heroes – Black Widow, Squirrel Girl, and soon Captain Marvel – and while I’ve enjoyed those books, Miles Morales is something else. It’s not just a great read, it feels like so much more.

This isn’t merely a novel adaption of a Mile Morales comic book. It’s a story with so much to tell; with so much heart inside of its pages. And it finishes on what is easily the best and biggest closer I’ve read in a young adult novel in quite some time. Reynolds took a superhero story and made it so much more than just another story about a web-slinger.

Ever since his Marvel Comics debut in 2011, Miles Morales has quickly become just as notable as his predecessor, Peter Parker. So much so that fans campaigned for the character to take on the moniker in the next Spider-Man film. While we won’t get the chance to see that anytime soon, we can at least appreciate that Marvel has begun to branch out with the character, taking him from characters to the small screen and now young adult novels. While the Black Widow novels have seen their fair share of criticism of Natasha not truly being the lead in those stories, the publishing giant’s latest efforts have done an excellent job at showcasing these young heroes and the difficulties they experience along their journey to heroism. Miles Morales fits into the category of the latter.

We do get to see the web-slinger be heroic and go on adventures as Spider-Man throughout the novel, but this book is very much about Miles and his struggles to retain a normal life while trying to do good with his powers. Along the way the book touches on topics such as racism and profiling, topics that are sadly still far too relevant in our society today. Thankfully, though, the story doesn’t just casually brush upon those topics. It full on tackles them with one of the most powerful closing scenes I’ve read in a book lately.

All in all: If you like Miles Morales, this book is for you. If you’re not familiar with Miles? This book is still well worth picking up.

If there isn’t a sequel, I’ll be incredibly disappointed because I’m already eager to go on an adventure with these characters again.

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