J.M.'s Reviews > Queeroes

Queeroes by Steven Bereznai
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's review
Aug 01, 2010

really liked it
bookshelves: e-books, glbt, speculative-fiction, young-adult
Read from August 01 to 18, 2010

“Queeroes” is everything I love in a book ~ adventure, drama, romance, and superheroes. It’s a humorous look at high school life from all the cliques I remember in my own school. Troy is the popular jock, Mandy and Chad cheerleaders who form the basis for the school’s “in” crowd. Troy’s brother Gibbie is the nerdy geek whose interests include Dungeons and Dragons, comic books, and dodging bullies. Goth Devon wants nothing to do with his peers, while mousy Liza just wants to be heard.

When they come in contact with contaminated drinking water, all six students begin to exhibit superpowers that stem from some aspect of their personality. Troy keeps himself emotionally distant from others, so he develops the ability to hone in on other’s emotions. Gibbie, the proverbial 98 pound weakling, suddenly harnesses super-strength. Mandy, the girl who wants to be seen, can now become invisible. Chad, always in control, loses it by changing into a cat-like creature. Untouchable Devon now melds with whomever ~ or whatever ~ he comes in contact with, and silent Liza has the power to coerce others using her voice.

What I enjoyed most about the story was how the author created a believable scenario in which the superpowers appeared ~ the contaminant only affected gay men and straight women, though when Chad first suggests it only affects gays, Mandy’s reaction to the thought she might be a lesbian is really quite funny. There were a number of laugh out loud moments, particularly when Mandy decided to embrace her lesbianism whole-heartedly and pursued a relationship with Liza even though neither was interested in the other.

Of all the characters, Troy was my favorite. I knew from the first chapter he was closeted, and could feel the tension between him and his former best friend Jesse immediately. I knew exactly where things were headed between them, though I’ll admit I didn’t foresee Jesse’s final actions. He added a somber tone to an otherwise light-hearted story.

As you would expect with any superhero story, the stage is set for a final showdown between the forces of good and evil. Troy, Mandy, Chad, and Gibbie band together against Devon and Liza, who want to rebel against the popular kids who always put them down. As a former high school outcast myself, I could sympathize with their motives, and I really felt for Liza, torn between doing the right thing and finding any form of affection. Devon uses her as much as he uses Gibbie and Chad to get what he sees as revenge on the rest of the student body.

I won’t give away the ending, but I’ll tell you this book kept me up late reading because I simply had to know what happened. It’s been a long time since a book has had me so hooked from the very first page, I literally couldn’t put it down. If you love superheroes as much as I do, and you’re a fan of gay romance and young adult fiction, you won’t be disappointed with Bereznai’s “Queeroes.” I’m anxiously awaiting a sequel!
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