Opal has been planning to go to Chicago and join the Midwest’s superhero team, the Sentinels, since she was a little kid. In Secondhand Origin Stories, That dream took on a more urgent tone when her superpowered dad was unjustly arrested for protecting a neighbor from an abusive situation. Now, she wants to be a superhero not only to protect people, but to get a platform to tell the world about the injustices of the Altered Persons Bureau, the government agency for everything relating to superpowers.
But just after Opal’s high school graduation, a supervillain with a jet and unclear motives attacks the downtown home of the Sentinels. When Opal arrives, she finds a family on the brink of breaking apart. She meets a boy who’s been developing secret (and illegal) brain-altering nanites right under the Sentinel’s noses, another teenage superhero-hopeful who looks suspiciously like a long-dead supervillain, and the completely un-superpowered daughter of the Sentinels’ leader. Can four teens on the fringes of the superhero world handle the corruption, danger, and family secrets they’ve unearthed? (via Goodreads)
I received an eARC of Secondhand Origin Stories through That Bookish Bitch in exchange for an honest review. The author and I are also mutuals on Twitter.
I never thought I was a big fan of superhero stories. I have realized that, when they’re done well, I do actually like them. Secondhand Origin Stories was done well, dear readers.
Secondhand Origin Stories does need a content warning for plane crashes, narcotic addiction, internalized ableism, severe injury, misgendering, homophobia by antagonist
Four very different, very queer teenagers make up the main cast of Secondhand Origin Stories. Three of them regard themselves as family, and welcomed Opal into that group with ease. All four of the teenagers make my heart squeeze in a different way.
Yael’s sweet and adorable, but also the most powerful super in the teen group. Xyr had to keep a lot hidden, but what xe could have out in the open, xe did. Xyr love of hamsters was absolutely adorable and so, so right for xem. Xe was actually my favorite character out of the bunch. I cannot wait to see what comes next for xem.
Opal was an amazing point of view character. I love how absolutely moral she is. She realized there was something wrong with Lodestar and immediately said, “I know this has been my dream, but I can’t work under you.” It’s something I’ve rarely seen in books. I love that her family was so important to her, as well. She’d do just about anything for them
I loved the dynamic between Isaac and Jamie, who are the non-superpowered second generation in the tower that our cast calls home. I’m not sure if Isaac’s super smarts are inherited from his parents’ superpowers, or if he’s just really smart like his mom. Either way, he’s the catalyst for a lot of the plot in Secondhand Origin Stories.
I identified with Jamie the most out of our main cast – she struggles with physical tasks because she isn’t healthy. Opal refers to her constantly as an “unfinished watercolor” which is just the most adorable thing.
This story is delightfully domestic and family-oriented, and I hope that their family can stop keeping secrets from each other. Dr. Tillman intrigues me, and I hope we get to see more of her in the next book. I also hope that Lodestar gets the treatment he needs. I can’t wait to see the rest of the team accept Opal as their equal.