(image from Goodreads)
Dreadnought by April Daniels
5/5 (review also posted on Goodreads)
I ordered this book from the library before they actually had a copy, just because I liked the idea of a trans superhero. And I was not disappointed.
First of all, this book is so funny. "Come, Mother, and show me the wonders of the tampon aisle!" had me laughing so hard. And Danny is such a dorky fangirl sometimes.
I love the running theme of not knowing who to trust. Superheroes - and parents and friends - can be bad people and do bad things, even though they're the people we're supposed to rely on. And teenagers make stupid decisions and skip class to go be vigilantes. (Can you blame them, though?)
The universe of Dreadnought divides people into the good whitecapes, bad blackcapes, and morally ambiguous graycapes, but it seems like everyone has a little bit of gray in their cape.
Now the gender stuff.
Wow. So when you become the superhero Dreadnought, you become your ideal self. For Danny, this means "he" is finally transformed into the girl she always knew she was. The transition is described so well, how she's surprised to be a little shorter and how her emotions are closer to the surface now.
I really identify with the way that was described because even though I'm fine being a female, I've always felt like my brain was mostly male. And there are times when the girly hormones get the better of me, and that's exactly how it feels.
And people are... not exactly cool with her change. Some are, but others are really abusive and dismissive of her identity. Those things bother me, because they aren't just characters being awful; they're real things that happen to people. There are parts that are hard to read because of the language and behavior.
But it's a really good book. A great story about friendship and awesome fight scenes. What more could you want?
(Also included in this story are helpful superhero tips, such as it's not as easy to lift a plane as Supergirl made it seem, and it's less effective than you'd think to hit someone with a car and more effective to rip out the engine block and hit them with that.)