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Superpowers [Kindle Edition]

David J Schwartz
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)

Print List Price: £7.99
Kindle Price: £5.49 includes VAT* & free wireless delivery via Amazon Whispernet
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Book Description

A party in a college flat in May 2001. A case of dodgy home-brewed beer. A violent storm. Next day: the mother of all hangovers. What would you do if you the morning after the night before brought a banging head, a raging thirst... Oh, and your very own superpower?

Meet the All-Stars: Harriet, Charlie, Caroline, Mary-Beth and Jack. Harriet can make herself invisible, Charlie can read your mind, Caroline can fly, and Jack, well, Jack can run faster than a speeding bullet.

Determined to become costumed crime-fighters, but baffled by the lack of super-villains to tackle, the quintet soon finds that the ramifications of their new powers are more complicated than they anticipated, and that humans (even themselves) are much more fragile than they'd realised.

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Product Description


`witty and charming debut ... an adult novel but teenagers of 14+ will enjoy it'
-- Times


"Schwartz strikes the right balance between vicarious superhero adventure and thoughtful reflection on the hidden costs of being a good Samaritan"
--Carl Hays, "Booklist"
"A book for everyone who's ever wondered what superpower would be most fun or whether Batman or Superman would win in a fight. (And for everyone else who's ever wondered what made comic books so much fun.) David J. Schwartz has written a first novel with superpowers, smarts, and heart to spare. If you'll forgive a lame pun in the service of a swell book: Bookstore patrons, online browsers -- may the Schwartz be with you.
--Kelly Link, author of "Stranger Things Happen" and "Magic for Beginners"
"A thoughtful and convincing blend of magic and realism. I believed in these ordinary, recognizable college students with their extraordinary abilities. As their powers change and fail them (and vice versa), "Superpowers" tells us a story both soaring and sober."
--Karen Joy Fowler, "New York Times" bestselling author of "The Jane Austen Book Club "and "Wit's End"

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 427 KB
  • Print Length: 388 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage Digital (4 Sept. 2008)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0031RS5CE
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #441,029 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars With Great Power... 23 Jun. 2008
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
'Superpowers' is a comic book but without any pictures, which frankly ought not to work but thanks to David J. Schwartz's fast moving prose, it does. Five college students wake up one morning and discover that they have acquired various (and typical for the genre) superpowers. Unlike many superhero tales 'Superpowers' does not rely on Good Vs Evil to drive its plot. Indeed, the novel's central message is that good and evil largely depends on perspective.

'Superpowers' explores the moral obligations of those imbued with supernatural ability in a far more effective way than having Tobey 'Spiderman' Macguire banging on about 'great power coming with great responsibility' every five seconds. The attempts of Schwartz's characters to come to terms with their powers and their responsibilities is very well actualised and extremely human.

Schwartz also tackles, with great sensitivity, humanity's failings and the feelings of inadequacy we all feel from time to time. By using, larger superpowered examples, he offers us a microscope with which to look at our own motives and ambitions. As the tension in the novel builds, real world events also impact on the group, distorting their world view even further. Their response, is an excellent (if thinly veiled) metaphor for the American led response to the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

All in all, I found 'Superpowers' to be a very satisfying read. The novel is well paced and manages to be describe the supernatural and yet remain believable. Excellent stuff.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not for grownups 2 Oct. 2008
Contrary to what the Times review says, this is a teen novel that might appeal to some adults. It adds nothing at all to the debate - pretty much exhausted by the major comic publishers - about the use and abuse of "super" powers, the nature of good and evil, secret identities to protect loved-ones and ends versus means. Its pretty well written, which got it its second star, but otherwise it lacked originality and I found the characters rather 2-dimensional. Its only realism is that it ends with a whimper not a bang. Read a graphic novel or The Death and Life of Superman by Roger Stern instead.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Deeper than I expected, and better 6 Sept. 2008
By Christopher Halo VINE VOICE
We've probably all wondered what it would be like to have powers -- to fly to work when we can't be bothered with the traffic; to turn invisible in horrible situations; to run away at light speed; to hear the thoughts of those around us; and, perhaps, to throw people through brick walls.

In Superpowers, the first novel of David J. Schwartz (who, much like a superhero, has many different aliases throughout the Internet: world renowned motivational speaker; popular science writer for children, et cetera) we learn just what it would be like have those powers, and the answer he gives is funny, well-written, and often quite sad.

Five American college students, decide to have a party, and home made booze is brought along. The very next morning they wake up with superpowers... Now, before everyone goes rushing off and gets totally inebriated ("in the name of superpowers!"), their powers aren't an entirely great thing to have. Hardly super at all, really. Mary Beth is so strong that she can't open the fridge without tearing it apart (or make love to her boyfriend...); Charlie goes pretty much insane with all the minds he can hear, all the emotions that wash over him, and now wanders around wearing a tinfoil hat and a scruffy beard; Harriet is invisible and is worried she's fading away; Caroline, though, can fly, and has no problem with that fact; nor does Jack, who can run faster than the fastest bullet. Eventually, they decide that they will use their powers to help their city -- and in come the superhero costumes (they have, after all, started reading comics) and the late evenings. Most people are pleased to have them around -- except the police, and criminals.

Eventually, though, things go wrong. Mistakes are made, people are hurt.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
'Superpowers' really isn't the sort of book I would usually read, I tend to give sci-fi and comic books a wide berth, but I was initially attracted to the cover of this book and thought I would give it a go.

The book is based on the premise that it is journalism rather than fiction, and so there are 'Editor's notes' chapters written by one of the minor characters, Marcus Hatch. The story tells of five college students who wake up one morning after a house party and have acquired superpowers: Charlie can read minds; Harriet can become invisible; Mary Beth has incredible strength; Caroline can fly and Jack can move at great speed. As the story unfold we see how each of the characters adapts to their new skills and comes to terms with how their life changes. It doesn't take long before they have pooled their skills and are acting as a crime-fighting team, trying to prevent crimes and clearing up unsolved cases.

The one thing I really liked about this book was that it does not always follow the expected path. If I tell you that the action is set in the summer of 2001, it isn't hard to imagine that September 11th will fall into the plot, but perhaps not in the way you would expect.

This was a good and well-paced read. The only minor criticisms that I would have are that the female journalist, who is a minor character, could have been dispensed with completely; that there are times when the narrative seems to be overtly 'male'; and that the editorial explanations can feel a bit like disclaimers and excuse the author from explaining some of the more outlandish events in the story. On the whole though, these are minor criticisms, if you can manage to suspend your disbelief you'll enjoy it!
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