just-call-me-superheroIf you haven’t heard of Russian-born author Alina Bronsky hopefully by the end this review you’ll become a fan and read her latest novel Just Call Me Superhero.

After her other two novels Broken Glass Park and The Hottest Dishes of the Tartar Cuisine, Europa Editions published her latest about a teenager named Marke whose face was mauled during an attack by a rottweiler. He considers himself a freak that nobody will ever love and just wants to be left alone with his fate in life. He spends his life hidden behind hats and black sunglasses

Marke’s mother wants to change his attitude and sets him up in a recovery group. When he arrives he sees that it’s literally an AA group for the people with major illnesses or injuries. He immediately wants to leave until he catches the eye of a girl in a wheel chair.

Here is where Ms. Bronsky could have taken this novel and turned it into a sappy novel about people overcoming their handicaps. Instead, she creates real characters who aren’t all warm and fuzzy. An example is the wheelchair-bound love of Marek’s life who is named Janne.  She could easily be the most unlikeable character in the novel. There is also a blind boy who seems to be up to no good. These are not the pat characters we’ll usually see in YA adults novels that are pretty one dimensional. These are real people with real problems that don’t know how to deal with them so do it the best way they can.

Bronsky also shows the complication of family life in an honest and open way. the realism of her novels are makes them lovable and also will keep them in your conscience for quite a while. There are scenes in the book that make you wonder if they really happened to the author in real life. By the books end you’ll be dreading that there are only a few pages left and you won’t be able to see how Marke deals with the rest of his life. This book cries sequel and with a title like Just Call me Superhero why the heck shouldn’t there be one.