Rad Reads

A non-definitive ranking of our fave YA superhero reads

Whether it's popular heroes like Captain America and Wonder Woman or lesser-known ones like Squirrel Girl, we *love* superheroes. And while watching them on the big screen is fun, there's nothing like a good book to get deep into their backstory and motivations. Fortunately, more and more young adult books with supernatural themes are being published. Read on to see a ranking of our fave YA superhero reads!


Ranking: Will make you want to fall in love with your nemesis 

Super Adjacent by Crystal Cestari

Whether it's collecting their trading cards or having a speech prepared if she ever encounters one, Claire *loves* superheroes. Now, she's landed an internship with Warrior Nation (the corporation that manages superheroes), and she's ready to prove she belongs. She isn't ready, however, to face the newest WarNat hero, Girl Power, who happens to be egotistical, self-important....and maybe something more. Bridgette, on the other hand, has dated the famous Vaporizer for years and is sick of being second to people in peril. This take on civilians at the edge of superhero life is full of witty banter, action and *all* the feels.


Ranking: Will make you want to bench-press your enemies

Wonder Woman: Warbringer by Leigh Bardugo

Diana wants to prove herself to her legendary Amazon warrior sisters. But when she finally gets the opportunity, she breaks their Amazon law and risks forever exile to save a mortal. The mortal Alia turns out to be a Warbringer, a direct descendant of the infamous Helen of Troy, fated to bring about an age of bloodshed and misery. Together, they'll have to face their enemies *and* find a way to save both of their worlds. This book is full of girl power and the importance of friendship and braving your fears.


Ranking: Will make you want to create an alter-ego and *literally* become a superhero

Renegades by Marissa Meyer

Nova is on a mission for vengeance against The Renegades, the prodigies (aka superheroes) who rule their city after establishing a new society. As she tries to get closer to her target by becoming one of them, she meets a Renegade boy who believes in justice—and in Nova. Her allegiance to the villains is strong, but will her mission or new relationships prove stronger? Marissa Meyer's dynamic writing provides tons of found family feels, secret identities and page-turning adventures.


Ranking: Will make you want to befriend a squirrel...or five

The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl: Squirrel Meets World by Shannon Hale & Dean Hale

When 14-year-old Doreen Green moves from California to New Jersey, she has to balance a new school, making new friends and...hiding her tail. The truth is, she has the powers of a squirrel. And with her squirrel sidekicks, she helps save cats from trees and keeps the sidewalks clean. It's all good fun until an actual supervillain declares Squirrel Girl his archenemy. She'll have to learn how to balance being a teenager and a superhero, fast! This super cute read is on the younger side of YA books and has true laugh-out-loud moments.


Ranking: Will make you want to singlehandedly take on a villain 

Collateral Damage by Taylor Simmonds

Meg Sawer has never tried to stop a moving bus, gotten bitten by a radioactive insect or anything *close* to saving the world (besides serving coffee at the local cafe). She's happy being a background civilian in Lunar City where superheroes have thwarted evil for years. Her main goal? To keep from becoming a casualty in daily battles for justice. She's managed for seventeen years, but when she accidentally stumbles upon one of the city's superheroes murdered under suspicious circumstances, she's coerced by his determined girlfriend into a mission to help the rest of the superheroes.


Ranking: Will make you want to uncover dangerous powers and change the world

The Belles by Dhonielle Clayton

In a world where Beauty is a commodity, Camellia Beauregard is a Belle. The Belles are revered as powerful, for they are the ones who can transform people born gray and turn them into someone beautiful. But Camellia doesn't want to just be a Belle; she wants to be the *favorite* of the Queen of Orleans. Once she arrives, it's clear that being the favorite can lead to dark secrets and life-threatening powers. When the queen asks her to risk her own life by using her Belle powers in unintended ways, Camellia is faced with an impossible decision. Will she save herself, her sisters and the way of the Belles—or will she risk her own life and change the ways of her world forever? Find out in this thriller from Dhionelle Clayton.

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What's your fave superhero read?
Tell us on Twitter @glbestiebookclub!

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by Ally Coy | 1/26/2023