It is the summer break of 2001, and five college kids wake up after a party one morning to find two things have happened: 1) They’re all sporting a good hangover, and 2) they all have superpowers. Not that they know this right away, of course, and that’s part of what makes the first third of the book exciting. This is Superpowers, by David J. Schwartz, and the novel gets right to it, setting a pace that even the character Jack might have trouble keeping up with. The beginning of the book reminded me of the first season of NBCs Heroes, when it was easy to get swept up in the emotions as people discovered the extent of their powers, and also decided what to do with them.
One of the refreshing things about the novel is the different approach to a subject which has been capitalized on so much lately in literature, movies, and the aforementioned TV shows. There are no real super villains. There is no criminal mastermind for the newly formed group to do battle with. There are only their own issues in having telekinesis or super speed in the real world, and in the end, that may be more difficult to fight than if there had been a Dr. Doom or Lex Luthor. At least then, you would have someone to focus your newly formed powers against.
The book moves quickly, and if you get engrossed enough, it may seem like you’re on page 100 in no time, without a lot of showy plot development. In this case, this is ultimately a good thing, as I breezed right through the book, having felt like I watched a good movie, or enjoyed some decent music. There was no challenge of the mind, but it was fun. It was like the novel equivalent of a summer popcorn movie, with just enough at the end to keep you pondering it in a way that summer blockbusters don’t.
I give it an 8 out of 10.