Flash Fire by TJ Klune is the second book of The Extraordinaries trilogy. Flash Fire will be published on July 13th, the still unnamed third and final book is expected to be published in 2022. This trilogy follows Nick Bell, a 16-year old gay boy with ADHD who is obsessed with extraordinaries (aka superheroes). This isn’t necessarily a book for those for loves comics or superheroes, think more like Smallville but with LGBT+ and ADHD rep.
I read The Extraordinaries in February 2021 and really enjoyed it. I was a little predictable and read a little young but I loved the characters. Klune does such a good job of writing quirky yet adorable characters that I can’t help but fall in love with. The first book was sweet and adorable and just left me smiling.
This series doesn’t get a whole lot of love on Goodreads because of Nick. His ADHD is definitely used in the telling of the story which makes it a totally different narrative than most books but I really appreciated that. TJ Klune has ADHD and I have multiple family members with ADHD and the rep is needed and appreciated. I also found Nick’s energy and excitement infectious, it carries the book beautifully. Nick is excited and impulsive but in the best way possible.
I think my internal rating was about 3.5 stars, rounded up to 4 on Goodreads. Superheroes are not really my thing and I gave it a try because it’s TJ Klune but the predictability and a love triangle I didn’t love left me a little underwhelmed but still definitely continuing with the series.
When I received the ARC from NetGalley for Flash Fire, I was super excited. I decided to hold off to read it during pride month and closer to the publication. I devoured it over the last two days. This one is even better and so close to perfect. I still love Nick and really appreciated getting to know his friends better in this one. Gibby and Jazz are the lesbian best friends every gay boy needs, I love them entirely and their scenes in this book were gold. The relationship between Nick and his dad was also used more and may be one of my favorite parent/child relationships I’ve ever read. They have their ups and downs and a few serious disagreements but overall, they so clearly love each other and Nick’s dad loves him unconditionally for exactly who he is. His dad is also hilarious and his unflinching dad humor had me laughing out loud repeatedly.
Flash Fire takes all the best parts of The Extraordinaries but takes it in a new direction that isn’t predictable, has an adorable romance instead of a weird love triangle, and really uses the superhero portions in a better, more artful way. I also appreciate that this book dives deeper into issues of race and police that were glossed over in the first one. My only issue with this book is that it really drags in a few parts, particularly a few conversations that just dragged on way after I got the point. It was maybe 50 pages too long overall and could have used a bit of editing to keep up the momentum throughout.
I really enjoyed this book, 4.5 stars rounded down to 4.
**I received a free eARC of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.**