Ultimate Author Jason Reynolds brings Ultimate Spider-man Miles Morales to novel form in a surprisingly complex superhero story.
Recommended grade level: 7 and up
Pages: 272 (for ISBN 9781484787489)
Summary: 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.
Who will like this book?: This book is slick. I feel like the coolness rubbed off on me while I was reading it. (It has since faded and I am back to dorkdom.) Teen readers should appreciate Reynolds’ firm grasp on the language and habits of kids their age. Marvel fans will of course want to jump on this. Readers looking for empowering characters of color will like it, too. You do not have to be familiar with Miles or the Marvel universe to enjoy this.
Who won’t like this book?: While there’s some action in here, it’s actually more about Miles dealing with his past, his family, and who he is going to become, so readers who aren’t into internal conflict should look elsewhere.
Other comments: How does Jason Reynolds write so well, so fast? HOW??
Note that this is not Miles’ origin story.
The characters and setting have an incredibly authentic feel. I love all the AAVE in this book. Reynolds puts the reader right into Miles’ world.
Miles’ uncle makes in appearance in the recent film Spider-man: Homecoming, hinting that Miles may be on his way to the Marvel cinematic universe.
Readalikes: An obvious choice is the Miles Morales Spider-man comics. Miles was introduced as the replacement for Peter Parker in an alternate Marvel universe in which Parker dies. His first trade is Ultimate Comics Spider-Man Vol. 1. There is also an Ultimate Collection that combines the trades from this series into 3 large books. This more recent book is also a good jumping-on point. There have also been a lot of Marvel novels for middle grade and young adult readers coming out. Readers who like the tone and setting of the writing and don’t care whether superheroes are involved should try Jason Reynolds’ other books.
Image credit: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/32793053-miles-morales