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182 pages, Paperback

First published December 19, 2017

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About the author

Tansy Rayner Roberts

115 books250 followers
Tansy Rayner Roberts is a fantasy and science fiction author who lives in southern Tasmania, somewhere between the tall mountain with snow on it, and the beach that points towards Antarctica.

Tansy has a PhD in Classics (with a special interest in poisonous Roman ladies), and an obsession with Musketeers.

You can hear Tansy talking about Doctor Who on the Verity! podcast. She also reads her own stories on the Sheep Might Fly podcast.

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5 stars
55 (52%)
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34 (32%)
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14 (13%)
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 42 reviews
Profile Image for Stephanie.
Author 68 books954 followers
November 25, 2017
Tansy Rayner Roberts is one of my favorite short story & novella writers in the world. I especially love the stories set in her Australian-superhero world, and I think this latest one might be her very best so far. (It's a standalone story - you certainly don't have to read either of the earlier stories first - but having read the others, I've really enjoyed all the developments across time!)

I was lucky enough to get an early copy of this novella from the Book Smugglers, and I loved it so much, I sent them this blurb: "Sharp, witty, and wrenchingly heartfelt, this is the brilliant Tansy Rayner Roberts at her sparkling best."

SO good!
Profile Image for Laura (bbliophile).
791 reviews155 followers
April 5, 2018
This was so much fun! If you like superheroes, epic battles with space queens, f/f relationships, and reporters, you'll love this!
Profile Image for Stas.
1,082 reviews5 followers
July 6, 2018
3.5 stars

Ugh. Hard to review this one.
This is so weird. It feels like a caricature. Even though important issues were raised and handled well, there's just a little too much fun and not enough serious. There are parts I loved, but largely I can't take this story as seriously as Kid Dark.

I loved getting back to this world. But I'm not too keen on this girl, reporter or not.

Friday has SO much growing up to do. Because right now she is a brat. Worse yet - a privileged, first-world-problems brat (which she herself admits, bless her). I kind of have a problem with people who don't take anything seriously. Which means Friday rubs me the wrong way. And yeah, humour helps but making fun of EVERYTHING is NOT a healthy way to cope . Ahem.

This is a fun and very positive story with enough punch to make you think about things that matter. Just maybe a little off for my tastes.

Profile Image for Katharine (Ventureadlaxre).
1,522 reviews46 followers
November 23, 2017
Disclaimer that Tansy is one of my favourite authors and we get plates of gyoza and drinks when conventions arise together, so this review won't be totally impartial... because it doesn't have to be. Look to the awards she's won, everyone loves Tansy!

Putting all that aside, we're back in the Cookie Cutter Superhero-verse we were first introduced to in the Twelfth Planet Press anthology Kaleidoscope, saw again in the novelette Kid Dark Against the Machine published by Book Smugglers in 2016, and are here now in the novella-length Girl Reporter. 

Griff, who we got to know and love in Kid Dark is back but emos off mostly to the side as we follow his pseudo-sister Friday Valentine, daughter of the star reporter who was right there at the right time when Australia first got superheroes. Now we have the internet and Friday is a vlogger, as obsessed with superheroes as her mother was and still apparently is... as it seems that her mother may have travelled to literally the ends of the world (and beyond) to snag an interview that should be impossible.

It's just super lucky that in addition to being Australia's sweetheart, Friday's mother (and Friday) have a crew of superheroes ready and happy to help them out. Or at least want in on punching out Australia's worst super-villain and her dreadful taste in 80s fashion...

Like all of Tansy's writing this is a fun and lovely romp that deals with topics that shouldn't even be something we have to mention, such as feminism, disability-awareness, bisexuality and sex-positivity. This is such a safe and positive realm that we can only hope we'll eventually achieve someday. The characters are supportive yet realistic, troubled and sometimes a bit annoyed, but reflective and willing to fight evil when it shows up in shoulder-pads.

What is probably the most important part of the novel is the inclusion of Indigenous Australians, and their part in this novella is handled well, and with fire. The consideration for community, the recognition of white privilege, and the recognition that it's not a simple topic to consider. 

If you want something that's witty, with punchy dialogue and a clever commentary on the superhero genre then you've come to the right place. There are in-jokes and little nods to things, but even if you're new to loving superhero things in general, this would still be highly enjoyable without being able to notice them. 

Oh, I should also mention that Tansy never fails to write something that sparks my need for another novel, inspired by some off-hand comment or reference. In this case it's Dimes. Tansy! I need a novel on dimension pirates, please and thank you. (Or fine, a set of novellas would also work, as that's your current favourite. I may be a rabid fangirl but I'm a benevolent rabid fangirl!) And dimesaurs! THEY COULD HAVE A PET DIMESAUR. 
Profile Image for Tsana Dolichva.
Author 4 books63 followers
November 25, 2017
Girl Reporter by Tansy Rayner Roberts is a novella set in the same universe as her short story "Cookie Cutter Superhero", published in Kaleidoscope, and the novella Kid Dark Against the Machine. You don't have to have read the earlier stories to enjoy or understand Girl Reporter, but the characters from the earlier stories show up and provide minor spoilers for their backstories.

This novella was a positively delightful read. It blends Roberts' humour with social commentary on the state of superhero fiction and various contemporary issues, especially those surrounding representation. Additionally the novella is so Australian it hurts (in a good way). Despite the alternate universe setting, Roberts finds plenty of opportunity to engage with modern Australian culture and hark back to the Australian culture of the 80s and 90s. I expect there will be some references that non-Australians will miss, but the novella won't be the worse for it. And everything really important is explained anyway.

The other delightful thing about this novel is the upbeat and clever voice of Tina Valentina. I will always have a soft spot for snark, but it's also nice to have a protagonist who is pretty upbeat and excited about things, despite some cynicism. Also, Tina drops backstory into the narrative very naturally, whether it's superhero history or about her mother. Roberts has nailed alternate-dimension young Millennial, and I say this as a non-super-dimension older Millennial.

This was my favourite of all three stories in the "Cookie Cutter Superhero-Verse" so far. I hope there will be more. I love the setting and all the characters so far have been great. There hasn't been very much superhero fiction (that I'm aware of) set in Australia and the strong Aussie-ness of the setting really boosts the book into an even more exciting take on superheroes, rather than yet another superhero story set in New York.

I highly recommend Girl Reporter to all fans of superhero stories. It's fun and fresh and full of diversity. Being a novella, it's also a pretty quick read. I can't wait to read more books set in this world.

5 / 5 stars

You can read more of my reviews on my blog.
Profile Image for Lata.
3,499 reviews187 followers
June 13, 2021
Tansy Rainer Roberts gives us a whole lot of snark, emotions, some romance and action in this fun take on Australian superheroes and a journalist family whose lives are intertwined with these supers.
Friday Valentina films and follows the supes’ epic battles and reports on them, following in her mother, Tina Valentina’s footsteps, who made a name for herself in the 80s by becoming a trusted and respected reporter in this field.
Now Tina’s missing, and Friday and the Aussie supes, spurred on by Kid Dark (whose short story I have yet to read), go after her.
I liked:
-all the snark!
-the bisexual Friday and her lusting after the current iteration of Solar
-the sibling relationship between Friday and Kid Dark
-The Dark
-Roberts’ comments on the whiteness, in general, of superheroes
-a main character who was aware of her immense privilege, but still needed to be reminded that a queer indigenous person would have more to fear from everyday racists than supervillains.

I have to find Roberts’ first story in her superhero series. I understand Girl Reporter can be read as is, but this story makes me want to read the previous tales in this universe.
Profile Image for Rene Sears.
Author 7 books48 followers
March 13, 2018
This book was a delight from start to finish. Friday Valentina has grown up the daughter of her famous mother, Tina Valentina, the journalist who brought Australia's superhero team into the mainstream and basically established superhero celebrity culture when she interviewed Solar. Friday is following in her mother's footsteps--sort of. She has a vlog devoted to superheroes and the twice-a-year Superhero Spill, in which old heroes are retired and new heroes are introduced. But things go sideways when her mother disappears. This is not unusual, but her mother's destination is, and she enlists the help of her honorary brother Griff and a few other superheroes to look for Tina.

Friday's voice grabbed me right away. This is a funny book from start to finish, but there's a lot going on, too, about celebrity culture, secrets, family, and love both romantic and familial--in addition to superpowers, other dimensions, and alien technology. I gulped this book down, and I'm definitely going to find the other books/ stories in Roberts' superheroverse.

Profile Image for Nancy.
923 reviews37 followers
April 17, 2018
Finished: 12.04.2018
Genre: Adult Fiction (YA); Science Fiction
Rating: A+
Trivia: Best science-fiction novella Aurealis Award 2018
I just loved this novella....perfect for commute in the train.
I had to smile while I looked around at all the millennials in
the coupé.
Tansy Roberts just nailed it with the 'new vocabulary' for the
networked, connected, vlogging, livestreaming, vid, twitter feed generation.
Friday Valentina (#SuperheroSpill reporter) made me laugh:

"There's something beautiful about the perfect hashtag.
Truly, the hashtag is the epic poem of the 21st C."

Have some fun and enjoy Tina (mother), Friday Valentina,
Solar, Astra, The Dark and many more characters.
This book is full of snark and satire!

Full Review
Profile Image for Estelle.
855 reviews80 followers
November 21, 2017
Bisexual YouTube channel creator who reports about superheroes? Can't forget her badass reporter mom. Lots of girl power in this novella. This was great fun with a little bit of family drama, romance, and tons of secrets. Super creative. The chapter names are a clever touch.

Note: YA with an older narrator.

More about the author + queer representation in YA @ The Mary Sue: https://www.themarysue.com/girl-repor...
Profile Image for Lindsay.
1,247 reviews219 followers
December 27, 2017
The third piece in Tansy Rayner Roberts's superhero short fiction series expands the format out to novella length (the previous two are short stories). In thie world of Machine-created superheroes that have been around since the 1980s there have been journalists and fans covering them since the beginning. In particular, the Australian scene was covered by Tina Valentina who scored many a scoop and ended up becoming rich off a brilliant career. This is the story of her daughter, Friday Valentina, who's a natural in the family business, only with the media of the late 2010s.

Friday is working up to cover the next "superhero spill" where the six-monthly cycle that the Machine is on is up and one of the current superheroes becomes ordinary, and someone ordinary becomes super. But she's distracted, partly because she keeps having to cover for the disappearance of her mother, and partly because she has to idea where her mother actually is. When it becomes apparent that she's away chasing the interview of the century with a supervillainess from another dimension, Friday has to use her contacts, such as they are, with the Aussie superhero community to try and organize a rescue.

The conversation this time is about Lois Lane and that role in it's various incarnations in superhero comics. Just the difference in approach between Tina and Friday as a generational approach is fascinating, escpecially in contrast with Lois, because this pair are entirely different, and they only cover half the time that Lois has been active. There's also a diverse cast and the return of both Solar and Kid Dark from previous stories in the series, and some queer romances that work really well.
Profile Image for Llinos.
Author 7 books24 followers
May 3, 2018
This was a thoughtful look at the pressure and power of legacies and expectations, a story about what makes a family, and an incredibly funny and entertaining superhero adventure. I loved how much time this story spent exploring the world of superhero journalism – who gets to tell the stories and how, what gets hidden or left out, and what ripple effects that has. There was tons to think about, but also tons to laugh at and squee over. Super smart and fun, highly recommended.

Read the full review at Starship Library.
Profile Image for Paul Weimer.
Author 1 book134 followers
December 19, 2017
Living up to the standards of your mother is no easy things sometimes. Especially when you are Friday Valentina, daughter of Tina Valentina. Tina Valentina broke barriers as a girl reporter interviewing the Australian superhero Solar and breaking news about Australian superheroes for decades.To this day, Tina Valentina is THE Girl Reporter. That’s a lot to live up to.

Living in the 21st century, instead of writing for outfits like Women’s Weekly, Friday has a youtube channel where she covers superheroes in her own way, like mother, like daughter. Hey, she’s just gotten one million hits on her channel. Friday’s huge! She’s also grown up in a world where superheroes are real and a thing, and she is possibly the daughter of one, or at least all the gossip and tabloids suggests anyway. Her mother doesn’t talk about that either.

So in a 21st century world where superheroes are a thing and you are trying to follow in your mother’s trailblazing path...and your mother suddenly disappears, then your course of action is clear: Use your skills and existing connections to Australia’s superheroes to go find her. Rescue Mom, get the story. Even if dimension hopping is involved. Even if secrets about your Mom’s history, and the history of Australian superheroes get exposed in the process.

This is Friday Valentina’s story in Tansy Rayner Roberts’ YA novella Girl Reporter, from the Booksmugglers Novella Initiative.

Girl Reporter is not the first story in this verse that Roberts has written. Previously, her story “Cookie Cutter Superhero”, in the award winning Kaleidoscope anthology, introduced the superhero world that we see here. Kid Dark Against the Machine, her second story, continued that exploration of a world where superhero-creating machines arrived in the early 1980’s, and so nations around the world started creating superheroes, useful in a world of supervillains, invaders from other planets and dimensions, and the general mayhem that you find in comic book universes. Given that Girl Reporter has a superhero enthusiast as its protagonist, the infodumping of what we need to understand how this universe came about is efficient and easy. You don’t need to read the previous stories to grok this world, but you may want to read them after you’ve read this anyway. Characters from those stories appear here in this narrative.

Writing stories, as opposed to comics or movies, in a comic book world is not always the easiest trick to pull off. Comic book universes are a visual medium by design, using image be it on page or screen to convey what words find it more difficult to pull off. (And let me put in here, now, that I think that the cover for Girl Reporter, by Emma Glaze, is fantastic). Given that Roberts focuses on an intensely person, character and dialogue driven story, she overcomes the natural disadvantages of taking to type exclusively to tell a superhero story and instead dives deeply into the richness of her protagonist and the characters around her. ‘Friday is intensely interesting as a protagonist, and her voice as a character is strong and marked.

For all the of the entertainment value of the story, the story also asks and answers and debates questions about representation(of various forms), cultural appropriation, own voices, and much more. This is a seriously and strongly written story of our cultural moment, and it is not one that could have been easily published 20, 10 or perhaps even 5 years ago. Come for the Girl Reporter trying to find her Mom, stay for the 21st century universe of characters and ideas that we deserve.

The novella ends with an essay on Lois Lane (the ur-character for any Girl Reporter character in fiction, obviously), a strong piece on her history and role and development that is nearly worth the price of admission on its own.
In the end, Tansy Rayner Roberts proves, as a writer, feminist, and a person, you don’t need spandex to be your own hero.
Profile Image for Alexandra.
765 reviews91 followers
November 28, 2017
I received a review copy of this because, well, I asked my good friend Tansy if I could read it early and she said yes... it's coming from Book Smugglers in December and you can pre-order it right now. 

I have described this as a distillation of Tansy, and I stand by that. If you listen to Galactic Suburbia, or probably Verity! as well, you'll find as you read this book that you recognise a lot of things. Not the characters, as such, nor the plot beats, but the themes. It's superheroes and feminism, yes, which Tansy is definitely obsessed with. But more than that, it's got romance (she's been reading a lot of them), motherhood (there's been a few essays on the topic in the last few years), queer representation and ethnic diversity (she's a champion for those things). It's got people discussing 'old' media vs 'new' media, and speculation about new new media; millennials doing excellent things and not taking crap from their elders; and a whole bucketload of snark and banter. And given her obsession with Press Gang and Lynda Day, it was only a matter of time before that came out in her fiction. Also, it's sooo Australian. 

So yeh. This is a very Tansy book.

But wait! You don't know who Tansy is? That's ok! You'll still enjoy this novella if you're interested in superheroes, and especially if you're interested in superheroes beyond them just punching villains and swooshing in capes. This is set in the universe of "Cookie Cutter Superhero" from Kaleidoscope and "Kid Dark Against the Machine" - and if you liked those, you'll be super excited to know that some of the characters recur here (you can definitely enjoy this cold but it's so worth reading those other two stories anyway). It's a world where machines mysteriously appeared, many years ago all over the world, which turn ordinary people into superheroes with different powers (and outfits) - and return them to normal again too. The stories are set in Australia, and while the first two deal with superheroes themselves this one is specifically focussed on Friday Valentina, a vlogger with a famous mother and a variety of baggage. Her vlogging focus is superheroes and they do end up being very... involved... in the story. 

It's a hugely enjoyable story that also says some sharp things about a variety of relationships, and about Australian politics in passing too. I'm rather hoping there might be more stories in this world to come... 
Profile Image for Sadie Slater.
446 reviews12 followers
January 17, 2018
I've been following Tansy Rayner Roberts' blog for several years, ever since she did an interesting series of posts about the female characters in the Discworld books, and she's also one of the regulars on the Verity! podcast, which is one of my favourites. Recently, she's been posting about the influences for her new novella, Girl Reporter, and given that they include several of my own favourite characters (Hildy Johnson in His Girl Friday, Sarah Jane Smith and the magnificent Lynda Day in Press Gang) I couldn't resist buying the book, thinking that it looked like a fun read.

And it was indeed a fun read. Perfect for a dismal time of year when I'm up to the eyeballs at work and don't have the brainspace for anything too complicated or serious. It's narrated by Friday Valentina, wisecracking bisexual Millenial Youtube host, devoted fan of Australia's team of superheroes, and daughter of acclaimed journalist Tina Valentina, best known for her reports on the superhero team in the 1980s. When Tina goes missing, believed kidnapped by supervillains from another dimension, Friday has to team up with the superheroes to rescue her. Despite only being novella-length, Girl Reporter manages to take in the changing face of media, the role of women in standard superhero narratives, queer identities, disability representation and racial diversity, while also being a sweet and funny action-adventure. I'm really not into superhero stories, so I felt a bit adrift to begin with as I wasn't familiar with the tropes that were being referenced by the plot, but in the end it didn't matter; once I got into it I just enjoyed it for what it was.
Profile Image for Mark Webb.
Author 2 books4 followers
January 6, 2018
I love the very Australian superhero world Roberts is creating across this series of novellas.

It has been interesting to watch various superhero tropes get interrogated in each novella ("Cookie Cutter Superhero" in Kaleidoscope: Diverse YA Science Fiction and Fantasy Stories and "Kid Dark Versus the Machine" in Superheroes Reborn: Five Origin Stories are the other two). In this novella, rather than focus the story on the superheroes themselves the protagonist is a young women who is a new media reporter (as well as being the daughter of one of the world's most famous reporters in the superhero trade).

Themes of mother/daughter relationships, queer relationships, superhero/sidekick relationships and superhero team relationships are explored. Yes, it is a very relationship-heavy book. The dialogue contains lashings of the trademark Roberts snark, the pace is fast and the ending is satisfying. You can absolutely read this stand alone, but it is enhanced by having read the other two novellas.

If you like this, I'd also recommend checking out Roberts' podcast "Sheep Might Fly" where she alternates between narrating brand new stories and previously published pieces. Roberts seems to be building up several worlds using series of connected novellas, which is a very interesting approach to world building. You can also support her writing through Patreon (disclaimer: I am a supporter).

Girl Reporter is well worth your time!
Profile Image for Forestofglory.
117 reviews8 followers
December 20, 2017
I got sent an arc of the novella, and it was great! This the third installment of Roberts' superhero series but is a stand alone story. I loved the wise cracking (and bisexual) main character who runs a superhero YouTube Chanel and who's mother is an ace reporter. There were many fun over the top superhero parts but also some really touching family relationships in this. Recommended.
Profile Image for Elizabeth Fitzgerald.
Author 4 books46 followers
January 8, 2018
Girl Reporter is a delightful novella that has a serious side beneath the bright, spandex-covered fun.

Friday Valentina is a new media reporter with a successful YouTube channel focused on the antics of Australian superheroes. She follows in the footsteps of her mother, Tina Valentina, who was the first Australian reporter ever to gain an interview with a superhero. I loved the relationship between these two characters. There are problems between them: Tina is often absent for work and doesn't always treat Friday's vlog like real journalism. But there is genuine affection between them and I loved their frank conversations about sexuality and journalistic ethics.

Readers of the previous stories in the series will be delighted to know that Joey from Cookie Cutter Superhero and Griff from Kid Dark Against the Machine both make appearances. Seeing them create bonds with other characters was such a delight and plays into the theme of found family. However, it's not necessary to have read the previous stories--the pertinent details are covered in a way that reads very naturally, particularly since time has passed between the previous stories and Girl Reporter.

It's also a story with Australian fingerprints all over it. It's in the names of the superheroes. For example, one of Australia's earliest superheroes was called Redback (I kind of want that story now), and even Solar has an Australian ring to it. There's tons of references to 80s Australian news outlets, especially current affairs TV shows and gossip magazines. There was also a description of a hippy-ish town that had me grinning in recognition and Tansy's trademark snark kept me chuckling throughout (I may have startled my partner a few times while reading this).

But the story wasn't all fun and games. It touches on Australian issues of race, in a way that is difficult to discuss without spoilers. I felt it was well handled and one of the most poignant moments of the story.

One of the key themes of the story was about handing down responsibility to the next generation and it was fun to see that play out a number of different ways.

Overall, I found Girl Reporter heartwarming and witty. I very much look forward to more set in this world.

This review first appeared on Earl Grey Editing.
Profile Image for Alisa Krasnostein.
Author 26 books41 followers
Currently reading
April 13, 2021
So excited to be finishing off the final details towards bringing this story back into print.

Profile Image for Serena.
594 reviews32 followers
July 10, 2019
Loved listening to Tansy Rayner Roberts' podcast Sheep Might Fly where you too can listen to lots of her short stories!
Profile Image for Emily Wrayburn.
Author 5 books40 followers
November 25, 2018
Review originally published on A Keyboard and an Open Mind 26 November 2018:

I was really torn about what to rate this. There are some really well done sections, but I was kind of put off by a main character who didn’t take anything seriously, so it made it hard to feel like the stakes were ever very high. This was the same issue I had with The Martian: he’s stuck on a different planet and may well never get home and he’s making jokes about Aquaman and disco music.

This book did have some really good conversations about representation in media and whose voices should be privileged when it comes to particular stories. It handles racial tensions, sexuality crises and disability awareness really well.

I didn’t mind Friday’s quirkiness at first, in fact, I quoted a few lines in my GoodReads status updates that amused me a lot. But when it kept up, it got a bit old. There was also no build-up to the romance – literally the superhero she has been crushing on says “Hey, we’re going to be here a while, wanna make out?” and then they did. And then they were a couple. I need a bit of build-up!

The plot is a bit of a satire of the superhero genre, but I think the fact that I am not that into superhero books to begin with (I know, I know, I should just stop reading them if that is the case. I know, and yet I keep doing it!) made it all feel a little bit too OTT.

All in all, while this was… fine, I guess, I much prefer Roberts’ Fake Geek Girl series. The characters and world-building in that series just worked better for me.

This review is part of my 2018 Australian Women Writers Challenge. Click here for more information.
Profile Image for Faith.
776 reviews8 followers
May 23, 2019
Yep, this is lovely. Friday's a snarky, snarky narrator, and a lot of the exposition has its tongue firmly in its cheek, but intertwined with the millennial humor is a lot of great character work. AND we get quite a few secrets revealed, if you've been following along with these heroes from the beginning.
Profile Image for Kay Willo.
106 reviews2 followers
July 7, 2021

Someone hook Tansy up with a graphic illustrator coz this story NEEDS to be adapted into a graphic novel! I just need to see Megadethra’s domain in all its retro glory!

Such a fun novella, If you can get your hands on Kaleidoscope, a book of short stories, it has the origin story of Joey aka Solar and it’ll set you up nicely for this book.

Read it if you enjoy a good superhero novella with real world diversity. Who wouldn’t want to read about a superhero with a physical disability?

Don’t read it if… 🤷🏽‍♀️ if you don’t like superhero books? But seriously who doesn’t?
Profile Image for Rivqa.
Author 12 books34 followers
September 23, 2020
A delightful, fun romp in Tansy's wonderful superhero universe. Friday is a delightful protagonist, and there was some cute twists in this one. A lovely homage to a massive genre (even if it's one I'm a little tired of).
May 19, 2019
Definitely my favourite of the stories set in this universe so far. So many great plot twist that had me cheering for joy.
Displaying 1 - 30 of 42 reviews

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