*not the final cover
Rating: 3.75 Bookworms
Short and Sweet Summary: When life begins to get too overwhelming Miles starts to think that maybe the superhero life isn’t for him. However, something is amiss in his school and he needs to figure out what it is before it’s too late.
Genre: YA Sci-Fi Superheroes
Miles rolled the mask over his forehead, over his eyes. For a split second, darkness. Then he lined up the holes so his vision cleared and continued stretching it over his nose, mouth, and chin. He looked at himself in the mirror. Spider-Man.
Wow, you guys! This was the first time I’ve picked up a middle grade book since well…. middle school! But how could I not?! It was freaking Spider-Man/Miles Morales and the iconic Jason Reynolds wrote it! Win, win, win!
“You’re Spider-Man, whether you like it or not.”
When we first meet Miles he’s struggling to balance school, a social life, and being a superhero. Just imagine all the pressures of school, all the pressure your family puts on you, and trying to save the world all in one day. Yeah, I would be stressing out too. It doesn’t help that one of his teachers has it out for him and that his spidey sense seems to be on the fritz. Thankfully, his dad and best friend, Ganke, know his secret so he’s able to confide in them whenever he gets overwhelmed, which seems to be happening a lot lately.
I hate my father’s face when he tells me my block is my burden
like my job is to carry a family I didn’t create
like my life is for fixing something I didn’t even break
One of the main things that Miles seems to be struggling with is the death of his uncle. There is such a complicated backstory that goes along with that that I feel it could’ve taken up a whole other book. I wanted to understand more of what led them to that point, his uncles death, and to understand the impact that it has on Miles’ life. We see a bit of it throughout the book but it was kind of rushed and shown to us in bits and pieces and I just wanted more; especially since it really haunts Miles and is a big part of his story.
“I got up to go to the bathroom and you were literally crawling on the ceiling. And I just gotta tell you, as your friend, it’s not cool to wake up to a human-size spider above your head.”
I felt as though this book had a ton of really good build up but the action at the end ended too soon. It felt a bit rushed and again I wanted more. The fight scene was so creative and unlike anything I have seen before that I wish that it went on for a bit longer. I’m not sure if it’s because it was a shorter book but wanting more was a reoccurring theme for me while reading this book. More action, more backstory, more more more. Jason Reynolds’ writing is so enchanting, can you really blame me for wanting more of it?
“How am I supposed to work to keep some of the weight off my folks, and do stuff like extra credit? It’s hard to do extra anything, y’know?”
I loved how Jason Reynolds showed Miles’ struggles, struggles that any average teenager would have (well, aside from being a superhero). When we think superhero we also think invincible and we forget that they are people, too. Saving the world, or even your city, is not easy work not to mention that when you get home you still have to finish your homework. Jason really shows Miles’ more vulnerable side which endeared me to him even more. Showing his interactions with his parents and showing us how at the end of the day he just wants to make them proud made this superhero a bit more relatable. I love that his dad knows that he’s Spider-Man because it adds a whole new layer to their relationship. I grew up in a household where I could tell my mom anything and everything, and I still do. I can’t imagine having to keep a huge secret from my parents and I’m glad that Miles has that parental guidance through what can be a very confusing time for the young superhero.
“We underestimate the bond between slave and master. So many slaves were comfortable with being enslaved. Happy even.”
Do I have your attention now? The villain in this book definitely says some things that are a bit jarring and had my eyes widening as I was reading. There was some definite KKK vibes going on that was attention grabbing, for sure. While I’m not certain that that is appropriate for a middle grade book I definitely understood that Jason was trying to convey a message through this villain. This book also highlights the importance and influence that teachers have on their students and the oppression of minority students. A lot of times it just takes one teacher to believe in you in order for you to succeed.
“If only life weren’t such a strangely complicated pattern,
every person in the world, a single fly stuck to the web,
And fear is the spider waiting for the right moment to feast.”
For those of you that didn’t know, like I didn’t, here’s a text exchange between me and one of my comic savvy friends! Miles Morales lives in a universe in which Peter Parker has died and then when he, Miles, gets bitten by the radioactive spider he becomes the new Spider-Man. Woo, the superhero universe is complicated!
“Everyone gets mad at hustlers, especially if you’re on the victim side of the hustle. And Miles knew hustling was in his veins.”
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.
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