Nestled in the Cascade mountains in the Pacific Northwest, Maillardet’s Foundation for the Future of Humanity is widely accepted as being the premiere training facility for young posthumans. The Academy accepts superpowered posterchildren from ages six through seventeen, guiding them through the training that they’ll need if they want to become legally licensed heroes.
Maillardet’s Academy advertises itself as being for all types, welcoming the offspring of the greatest heroes of today – like Ernest Wright, the son of the Commander – along with new posters just learning to control their powers – like Juniper Hovick, a temperamental New Yorker with a flaming menagerie. Maillardet’s is where the heroes of tomorrow are assembled today, so the pressure to perform is high.
For disgraced legacy poster Malek Underwood, the third block of his training begins with him being knocked from his pedestal as the top student in the school, then paired with an almost failing lesbian speedster named Zipporah Chance. Though they come from different backgrounds, Ernest, Juniper, Malek, and Zipporah all have the same goal: surviving the year.
If they’re ever going to become heroes, they have to make it to finals, first.
So you know when it feels like a book was literally made for you?
I don’t get that feeling often. Sarah Rees Brennan’s books, the Engelsfors trilogy, Six of Crows, Rosamund Hodge to an extent…and now this book. It’s honestly kind of a magical feeling.
My friend actually read this book when it was first released and was recommending it to me for literal years. I don’t know what I was waiting for, because honestly, a series about a diverse group of superheroes working together and developing friendships and growing over the years is EXACTLY my type of thing. But then I decided to do my “read books with asexual characters project” and The Posterchildren has an asexual character (along with plenty of other non-white and non-straight characters), which is just one of the many reasons it’s so amazing.
Basically, this book just filled my heart with joy. I loved that the book was so fun and self-aware, but never stopped being genuine, and all the characters were realistically flawed and the friendships were adorable and I just really wanted to hug everyone.
I noticed more typos than I usually notice in books, which isn’t really even a big issue, but it is something I felt the need to point out because I don’t know if there’s anything else that qualifies as “what didn’t work”. It’s told in episodic structure without a clear plot and there isn’t much of a resolution, so I guess be aware if you don’t like that. There’s also one scene where everything happens a lot, and the narrative kind of cuts off before the scene and we later get the scene in retrospect, which I thought was kind of strange.
CHARACTERS! The book had so many characters with different backstories and honestly, most of my thought process during the book was “MY CHILDREN” and I wanted to squish them to my chest and make sure nothing bad happened to them ever.
Our four main characters are:
- Mal Underwood, the son of a recently-dead superhero. Kind of a grumpy angry jerk sometimes, but trying really hard not to be. His entire family will make you feel things. Occasionally gets into fights with cats.
- June Hovick, sass queen and fashion designer. Fat and proud of it. Makes animals out of fire. If you hurt her friends, she will destroy you.
- Ernest Wright, a walking crowning moment of heartwarming in glasses and a grandpa sweater. Frequently compared to a golden retriever. Prone to anxiety-related baking.
- Zip Chance, basically the most adorable human being. Tries to be friendly and optimistic even when things aren’t great. Often talks and moves reallyreallyfast. Actually me in a lot of ways.
And these are just the ones with POVs; there are so many other characters who I loved, or who I know I will love once I get more of their backstories. (Apparently there are ten short stories in the world which I haven’t read yet; I’m really looking forward to that).
Also it’s really diverse! There are so many different races and sexual orientations being represented, along with non-neurotypical characters and apparently a genderfluid character later on, and it just makes my heart happy to see. Also of note: while it isn’t canon yet, the author has made it clear that she plans to have a polyamorous relationship later in the series.
Then we have the friendships. I was texting my friend as I read the series and I used so many hearteyes emojis because of the friendships and how they were built up. There’s one scene in the end with Mal and Zip that just made me so so happy.
It’s also the kind of book that makes you go from laughing to tearing up a lot. One minute June will say something hilarious and you’ll be laughing out loud. Then you’ll turn the page and something will happen to one of the characters and you’ll think, “my child, who would DO this to you?”
I don’t know if this was the best review because everything about this series basically reduces me to a fountain of emotions, but yes, definitely pick this up, especially if you enjoy superheroes or comics or feeling things.