The She-Hulk Diariesby Marta Acosta
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JANUARY 1 CURRENT STATUS: No job, no boyfriend, no permanent place to live, no car, and most of my clothes are held together with staples and duct tape. Bank account almost wiped out. Many of my former associates have expressed a desire that I never darken their doorways again for legal and financial reasons. She-Hulk got us got us kicked out of the Avengers Mansion. People keep posting videos online of her New Year's Eve shenanigans: twirling flaming telephone poles in Times Square, climbing the Empire State Building while dangling Anderson Cooper, dancing wildly at parties, and commandeering a motorcycle cop's ride to do wheelies across the Brooklyn Bridge. Saying there are two sides to Jennifer Walters's personality is an understatement. When she hasn't morphed into a 650-pound, crime-fighting, hard-partying superhero, she's a single lawyer trying to get her act together. Hilarious and action-packed, The She-Hulk Diaries tells her story, as she juggles looking for Mr. Right and climbing the corporate ladder by day with battling villains and saving the world by night. Maybe she'll finally take on a case that will define her career. Maybe she won't meet one Mr. Right, but two, and she'll have to choose. Maybe bad guys will stop trying to destroy the planet so she can read her Perez Hilton in peace.
Acosta ("Casa Dracula" series) offers a fresh and lively take on a comic book heroine in The She-Hulk Diaries. Jennifer /Shulky is lovable and funny. With a sizable dash of adventure and romance to spice things up, this is a good choice for the comic-book nerd as well as the light romance reader. Woodward's Rogue Touch feels more serious than The She-Hulk Diaries but is equally entertaining. Fans of the X-Men and any reader who enjoys a strong female lead will want this volume. It will have some cross-over appeal for older teen readers as well.Library Journal
Ellis' take on the Marvel Comics superhero She-Hulk is sweet and funny and will delight readers whether they're into superhero comics or not.
Before Rogue became one of the X-Men team of mutant superheros, she was Anna Marie, a young Mississippi girl grappling with her strange power. Her touch can be deadly; a kiss put her first boyfriend into a coma. Now she’s on the run from her past and meets a mysterious stranger, James, who also has unique abilities. Together, they flee the police as well as James’s dangerous family, heading across the United States, learning about each other’s secrets, and falling in love. The action comes to a head when Rogue has to make some hard choices.
Verdict Acosta (“Casa Dracula” series) offers a fresh and lively take on a comic book heroine in The She-Hulk Diaries. Jennifer /Shulky is lovable and funny. With a sizable dash of adventure and romance to spice things up, this is a good choice for the comic-book nerd as well as the light romance reader. Woodward’s Rogue Touch feels more serious than The She-Hulk Diaries but is equally entertaining. Fans of the X-Men and any reader who enjoys a strong female lead will want this volume. It will have some cross-over appeal for older teen readers as well.Kristen Stewart, Pearland Lib., TX
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Read an Excerpt
The She-Hulk Diaries
By Marta Acosta
HyperionCopyright © 2013 Marta Acosta
All rights reserved.
The problem with New Year's Resolutions is that you're expected to make tectonic lifestyle changes immediately after the holidays, when your brain is as lumpy and dried out as a slice of fruitcake that someone shoved under the sofa. When I advise a client who is in a state of physical/mental/emotional exhaustion, I always say, "Take time to decide your priorities. Write down your goals so that you can stay on target and identify problems."
That's why I'm starting this year by keeping a record of my own activities. I'll make a special effort to accurately transcribe conversations so they won't get jumbled in my head when I replay them over and over. I wish life was like being in court: because I can drill someone under oath and have the stenographer keep a record.
Ruth gave me this journal when I stopped by the Avengers Mansion to sign several hundred Christmas cards with "oxox, She-Hulk, aka Shulky" in her childish loopy script. Ruth reminds me of a summer camp counselor, but in a good way, with her khaki pleated pants and pastel polo shirts. I love her carrot-top curls and bright blue eyes that are always open in OMG! amazement.
"She-Hulk was supposed to do this herself," I said. "These are for her VIP pals, not mine."
"Here's something for you, Jen!" Ruth handed me this journal with the cute stripey kitten hanging from a branch on the cover.
I assumed she'd grabbed it from the LAST MINUTE GIFTS! display, but Ruth said, "I know things haven't been easy for you lately, what with all the conflict with the others ..."
"I don't take it personally," I said. "She-Hulk's not as responsible as they are, so it's natural that they'd get tired of her antics."
Ruth reached over and patted my hand. "She's so OMG! rambunctious and exciting. I don't worry about her, and I was a little worried about you, but I'm sure this year will be totally awesome if you keep hanging in there!"
I thanked her and was already intending to re-gift this journal, when Ruth added, "You know the reason I like cats so much? Besides their amazing fluffiness! It's because they have an internal gyroscope—no matter how far they fall, they figure out a way to land on their feet, just like you!"
I informed Ruth that I didn't even have a job, and she was good enough to point out that I'd lost several positions in the past, always managing to go on to better ones. She's right. I'm not going to let the dark winter weather get me down. I'm going to be like that fluffy kitten and be brave enough to take an honest a ruthless assessment of my life so that I can improve it:
CURRENT STATUS: No job, no boyfriend, no permanent place to live, no car, and most of my clothes are held together with staples and duct tape. Bank account almost wiped out. Many of my former associates have expressed a desire that I never darken their doorways again for legal and financial reasons.
She-Hulk got us got us kicked out of the Avengers Mansion. People keep posting videos online of her New Year's Eve shenanigans: twirling flaming telephone poles in Times Square, climbing the Empire State Building while dangling Anderson Cooper, dancing wildly at parties, and commandeering a motorcycle cop's ride to do wheelies across the Brooklyn Bridge.
POSITIVES: Excellent health. Don't smoke, floss daily, exercise and train regularly. Allowed to store weapons collection at the Mansion. Allowed access to Mansion's fleet of vehicles. I have the use of fantastic corporate loft with a private elevator that goes directly from my foyer to a secret subbasement entrance.
I think the private elevator is worth bonus positive points—since I'm the one who has to sneak back home in shredded clothes and clean up the trail of wreckage that Shulky leaves in her wake.
That is why I've made a decision that's as huge as She-Hulk's ginormous inflated ego. I'm not relying on her anymore to live my life. Okay, I've made this New Year's Resolution once occasionally frequently before. I am a bright and accomplished woman—so why do I always slip up and revert to being a six- foot-seven, jade-green party girl/superhero? Even the other superheroes don't want to deal with her anymore, not that she cares.
If that happened to me, I would totally care. My reputation means everything to me.
After considerable deliberation, I've decided that my problem is that I try to adhere to life-altering resolutions too soon. Marathoners train for months and carbo load before the actual race. Medical students practice on cadavers before operating on a patient. Attorneys draft outlines before drawing up a suit. So doesn't it make absolutely perfect sense to allow myself a warm-up period before challenging myself with extremely difficult goals? Yes!
Instead of New Year's Resolutions, I am setting Valentine's Day Resolutions. Now I have an entire month and a half to prepare for them.
I have narrowed down my list to these important goals.
VALENTINE'S DAY RESOLUTIONS
I, Jennifer Susan Walters, being of sound mind and body bodies whatever do promise to try to achieve the following life-improving objectives beginning February 14:
1. Stop hanging around the loft playing online games (take sabbatical from Skyrim, BF3, Massive Threat, etc.) and get a new job as myself: apply to my five top dream legal firms. Update CV. Replenish business wardrobe with clothes that can survive hulking out.
2. Meet an actual human man and establish an actual relationship. He should: (a) be employed, (b) have a sense of humor, (c) like me no matter how I look that day, (d) not be attempting to rule the galaxy, and (e) be considerate (e.g., remember to put the toilet seat down). Cancel account with Smingles.com because they match me with smorons. Stop Severely restrict Moderate cyberstalking and crank calling exes.
3. Have a real date on Valentine's Day: flowers, lingerie, the whole deal. Going out for burgers with my cousin again DOES NOT COUNT.
4. Seek balance in work environment and social life. Have fun and learn how to speak up for myself without doing anything that will get me fired. Participate in more activities and get more culture: buy membership to Met, go to opera, ballet, and theater. Join a book club?
5. Stretch outside my comfort zone. Don't automatically reject opportunities to do something new and different especially if there's a chance to meet friends/boyfriend.
I'm totally psyched to take control of my life and I'm determined that my new year will be the best one yet!
Bought tickets to see Wicked again, so I'm off to a great start culturewise! If people can get over initial ookiness to green skin, they'd realize that most green people sentient beings have wonderful qualities. Case in point: Kermit the Frog.
Took my last remaining good suit to the dry cleaner. They said they can fix the ripped seams. Then I went to the bookstore, where bleary holiday survivors hovered around the self-help section, all of us hoping to go from good to great.
I skimmed through several books and there seemed to be a surfeit of banal encouragements and/or magical thinking. I thought everyone knew by now that magical thinking only works if you actually possess magical powers. Even Dr. Doom prefers to use gadgetry to achieve his nefarious ends because Murphy's Law always applies where magic is concerned. That's why I advise my clients, "Although casting an enchantment or invocation seems like a shortcut, I strongly recommend that you avoid magic because it has deeply regrettable blowback consequences."
Then I had brainstorm #2.
Doesn't it make sense for me to follow my own expert advice instead of taking advice from a stranger who probably made up his credentials? Yes! I was excitedly thinking about the brilliant guidance I could give myself when I received a high-priority message.
Text from Dahlia: Meet me @ Laundromat STAT!! Bring Korean tacos & raspberry Joocey Jooce!
I bought kitten-hanging-from-a-branch supplies (calendar, notebooks, pencil case, pencils) and slogged out into the frigid sludgy day. I followed Dahlia's link to a nearby food truck, got two plates of food, and extra Sriracha, kimchee, and lime wedges.
Even though I walked by three Joocey Jooces on my way to Delancey Street, they all had lines out the door. I'll never understand New Yorkers: people were shivering on the sidewalk to buy cold fruit smoothies.
The blast of heat from the Laundromat thawed me out. Dahlia was ignoring the "Do not sit on folding table!" sign and wearing a black miniskirt, spiderweb stockings, platform boots, and a gray security guard jacket. Her short spiky hair was electric blue today and so were her contacts, making her look like an anime character.
As I approached her, I heard a nasty yipping from the Juicy Couture bag on the floor.
"Hey, Dahl, what's the emergency?"
"I'm critically hungry. Where's my drink?"
"I wasn't going to wait in line at Joocey Jooce. Or like they say here, on line. That doesn't even make sense." Naturally, the tacos were cold, but still tasty. After I'd eaten one, I said, "Okay, why are we here?"
"Rodney did a revenge piss on the comforter after I took him to the groomer, and the big machine at the salon is broken. Rodney doesn't even look that bad. See for yourself."
The small dog growled at the sound of his name.
"I'm not sticking my hand in that bag. He bit me the last time."
She scrunched her face. Girls as petite and pretty as Dahlia can scrunch their faces and still look cute. If I scrunch my face, I look like I'm suffering from irritable bowel syndrome. "Don't be such a sissy, Jen. He's got itty-bitty little teeth. They don't hurt that much."
"I am not a sissy. Azzan says I'm his most fearless student. But it's not as if I can body slam that glorified rat when he attacks."
"Is Azzan your sex therapist? Do you body slam him?" She slapped her palms together and pulled them away while making a horrid sucking sound.
"Hardy-har-har. I body slam him because he's my Krav Maga coach. You're sick."
"I'm normal, and you are a perplexing blend of kick-ass chick and honor-roll nerd. How was your Christmas?"
"Beyond dismal. My dad's condo is so motel-generic and grim that I kept looking around for chalk outlines of bodies. It was smoggy, and my cousin and I sat by the pool and drank lukewarm eggnog from a carton."
"How is Bruce? The last time I saw him, he looked seething in a very intriguing way, like he was about to erupt, but maybe trying to teach science to teenagers has that effect."
"He's always had anger issues," I said, so she wouldn't get any ideas about him. "It's hard to tell with Bruce, because he's not exactly 'peppy'—one of my mom's favorite words—but he seemed as morose as I felt."
"No wonder—Lost Angeles! Smell-A! Hell-A," Dahlia sneered. "My years there were a nightmare of enduring bleached blond hair-tossing and 'Hi, I'm Wendy!' Grown men wear shorts all year round. Ugh."
"You're a terrible snob for a girl from El Paso. You met me at UCLA."
"Being your roomie and clubbing in West Hollywood were the only things that kept me sane. Even then I had to self-medicate."
"Yes, I remember when I had my wisdom teeth removed and you appropriated my Percocet for your alleged psychic pain. How was your Christmas?"
"It was like Sarajevo but with endless football games, tamales, and lumpia. All the ethnic and religious factions sniped at one another. My parents got in a shouting match about the best way to peel a potato, I kid you not. Total spud wars between the moms and pops! That's what happens when you live with someone too long—you look for drama in the minute random shit."
Dahlia had left her radishes on the paper plate so I snagged them. "One, stop being so dour. Two, I like your new hair color, but the turquoise contact lenses make you look like you're trying to mesmerize people. And, three, I came up with a list of personal resolutions that will begin to take effect Valentine's Day."
"Sounds fascinating. Can you elaborate, Counselor?"
I described my plan and my goals, leaving out the She-Hulk details. Dahlia thought they were genius, but she'd also convinced me to wear lederhosen and pigtails once to a dorm Oktoberfest dinner, so she's not the most reliable judge.
She swung her pixie legs and said, "Starting on Valentine's Day seems completely arbitrary. Why not go for the gusto now, and if you slide back, you can start again."
"That never works. I think it's like the Hokey Pokey. You can put your left foot in and your left foot out, but at a certain point you realize you're going in circles and abandon the greater plan of action."
She grinned. "That incisive mind is why you get paid the big bucks—when you actually have a job. Let's move on to a more fascinating topic. Where are you going to find a boyfriend, Jen? Should I go through my client list? I have a top-secret grid that grades every interesting man on an extensive range of talents—from A for abdominals to Z for zexterity."
When I made a face, she said, "Zexterity is zen plus sex plus dexterity—it's for laid-back guys with tantric endurance, but frankly I don't like getting friction blisters on my girly parts."
"After all these years, Dahl, you still enjoy squicking me out. The people who go to your salon are all too trendy. I want someone ..."
"Dull as a tater tot? Bland and processed as instant mashed?"
"So you're committed to the tuber theme?" She nodded and I said, "I want someone as hot, crisp, and irresistible as excellent pommes frites."
"You say that, but you only go out with megalomaniacs or drips."
"Tony Stark isn't a megalomaniac or a drip," I said, even though Tony thrives on the massive attention he gets as Iron Man while most of us prefer to keep our human identities secret.
"Please, Jen. The most important thing I got from my history degree is an ability to recognize the narcissistic personality disorder that is characteristic in dictators. I will concede that he does have fantastic hair."
I agreed that his hair is fantastic, and she quizzed me about how he achieved the look, and I admitted that he woke up with fantastic hair, and she discussed natural wave, texture, and hue, before returning to the previous subject and saying, "You never date anyone interesting and creative."
We watched the comforter spinning around in the industrial dryer and I said, "I have so. Ellis Tesla."
She let out a hoot that set Rodney to barking. "You're calling the one time you had a weekend hookup a date?"
"It may have been a hookup, but we had serious, meaningful talks."
"Naked talks always seem deep. Yeah, Ellis Tesla was ten kinds of hot. Did you ever find out where he went?"
"The last known sighting of Ellis and Fringe Theory was at that concert in Oslo when they proved that they could destroy a tank by precisely targeting pumpkins from a catapult. Ellis was fond of medieval weaponry in general, and catapults in particular. I've visited—okay, snooped around—MIT alumni sites, but no one's telling his real name. I looked for anagrams of Ellis Tesla, but can't find any Leslie Lasts or Teasel Sills. For all I know, Fringe Theory might not even be on Earth anymore."
She patted my arm. "I don't know what it says about a drunken hookup—I mean meaningful relationship—when the guy won't even stay on the planet for a second drunken weekend—I mean significant liaison."
I gave her a warning look. "Dahlia, you do know that I can grab you by your peewee ankles, hold you upside down, and then shove you into that dog carrier bag and let Rodney bite you all over until your guts leak out like spaghetti sauce in a colander?"
She grinned. "He wouldn't do that because his doggy brain senses that any other pet-sitter would flush him down the toilet. How come you never talk to other people like that?"
"Because I'm shy."
"Only when it's convenient for you to avoid things you don't want to do. Add this to your list of goals—'Learn to talk to people like I talk to Dahlia'?"
"That might be fun, but I'd never get past the first round in a job interview."
"Well, I do like it when you get a paycheck and can support me in the manner to which I've become accustomed, i.e., food truck lunches." She reached over to look in the bag from the bookstore. "A cat calendar? Is becoming a cat lady one of your resolutions?"
"It's a gift for Ruth. You met her once when we toured the Avengers Mansion, remember?"
"The one who always talks like everything is OMG! AMAZING!"
I nodded. "Yes, she handles all of She-Hulk's admin work, and she's always really nice to me."
"You and your fancy-ass friends at the Mansion. When are you going to introduce me to She-Hulk?"
Excerpted from The She-Hulk Diaries by Marta Acosta. Copyright © 2013 Marta Acosta. Excerpted by permission of Hyperion.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Meet the Author
Marta Acosta is the author of seven novels, including the Casa Dracula series, which were selected as a Book Sense Pick by independent booksellers, Romantic Times Reviewers Choice, Fresh Fiction Fresh Pick, BookPage Notable Read, Latina Magazine Summer Pick, Catalina Magazine Top Summer Reads. Dark Companion, a young adult gothic, was nominated as 2012's Best Fiction for Young Adults by the American Library Association.
Marta's next novel, The She-Hulk Diaries, has been called "an absolute delight" by Peter David, New York Time's bestselling author of The Incredible Hulk and She-Hulk comics, and "Really great...I adored it," by Graeme McMillan of Wired Magazine.
Marta was a frequent contributor of features and commentary to the San Francisco Chronicle and the Contra Costa Times newspapers. She has degrees in creative writing and English&American Literature from Stanford University, studied British theatre and history at Stanford-in-Britain. She's a Steinbeck Institute Honoree and a UC Chicano Literary Contest winner. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her family and is a frequent speaker at book events. Marta has lectured at UC Berkeley, spoken on NPR, and her Casa Dracula series is included in college Latino literature studies.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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The book is written, as the title suggests, in a sort of diary format, from Walters' perspective. When we join her, she really is having some issues: she's lost her job, she needs to find a new apartment, her love life stinks, and she has to see a therapist as part of a settlement with the Avengers for anger issues. She treats She-Hulk more like an obnoxious roommate who is the source of most of her problems, than a part of her. Shulkie is the one who gets party invitations (and then is embarrassingly featured all over the internet. Shulkie is the one that guys fall all over. Shulkie is the one who's made her lose jobs and apartments. And her irritation with She-Hulk makes sense. The issues that she's having in her life, things she's trying to fix with a set of Valentine's Day resolutions, make total sense. It never feels weird or contrived. It's believable that Jennifer Walters has these problems, and those reactions to them. These are the things we don't seen in comics, because, well... they're not action-y enough. This is the mundane side of being a metahuman, and it's definitely readable. I like the twists in the plot, I like the love interest, I like the little side plots that get tied up fairly neatly. I like that she and Shulkie grow as people, and that she moves toward an integrated self. There are still unresolved issues, the book doesn't end with everything all tidily solved, but I don't know that it's necessarily because a sequel is in the offing. Even though there are places that the pacing is a little slow, I recommend SHD unreservedly. This isn't an adventure-filled romp through NYC with the Jade Goddess; it's a wry and thoughtful look at what it's like to be Jen Walters, who is sometimes She-Hulk. I do have one complaint, but that's not Acosta's fault: I hate the cover. Green lipstick on a purple background... yes, please, let's make sure most men wouldn't be caught dead reading it in public. Thank goodness for e-readers...
She Hulk's bad behavior is mentioned in past tense. Jen has to get a job and a place to live. She ends up taking a medical malpractice case. Meanwhile she aspires to have a relationship (she behaves like she is 12, OMG a bunch!) and encounters an old one-night-stand. She can change at will as she occasionally gets calls for help. Swearing.
"Because i own thus facility and have much experience in heroics." He and puts out his hand."i am zixzan."
"Why are you asking me?"