In Nova City, Nick Bell is an apparently ordinary high school student whose megacrush on local superhero Shadow Star leads him into wild stunts in a quest for his own superpowers. Though at first he only wants the stunts to bring him to Shadow Star’s attention, his motivations shift when a battle between Shadow Star and his nemesis, Pyro Storm, injures Nick’s police officer father, who is all he has left after the death of his mother two years earlier. Nick’s ADHD and almost comical optimism combine to make a charming and entertaining hero, and his equally amusing circle of inclusive friends is supportive of his emotional excesses. Though his strict but supportive father does his best to keep Nick out of trouble, the teen finds a way to put himself in the path of danger as his hero and Pyro Storm’s feud comes to a head. There’s plenty in this lighthearted, superhero-interested teen dramedy for kids who feel like they’re sometimes on the outside, including the positive representation of a teen with ADHD. Ages 13–up. Agent: Deidre Knight, the Knight Agency. (May)
An Indie Bestseller!
An Indie Next Pick!
One of Goodread's "Most Anticipated YA Novels of 2020"
One of Buzzfeed's "YA Fantasy Books We Can't Wait to Read in 2020"
One of BookPage's "Most Anticipated YA Summer Reads"
"Uproariously funny, this razor-sharp book is half a love-letter to fandom, half self-aware satire, and wholly lovable. I haven't read anything quite like this before!" Sophie Gonzales, author of Only Mostly Devastated
“The most down-to-earth book about superheroes I've ever read. I laughed, I cried, and I had a smile on my face the entire time I was reading it” Mason Deaver, bestselling author of I Wish You All the Best
“TJ Klune is doing powerful work that inspires and impresses. He is a gift to our troubled times, and his novels are a radiant treat to all who discover them.” Locus
“Klune plays with superhero genre tropes and fan-fiction clichés with the skill of a true fancompletely aware of their ridiculousness but in love with them anyway. Hilarious, sweet, and absolutely super!” Kirkus
"If you're looking for a book to read and then reread several times before the next Spider-Man movie releases, this will be perfect." Buzzfeed
“Klune’s deliberate use of traditional comic book themes, such as masking one's identity, mirror common struggles faced by neurodiverse and LGBTQIAP+ youth; this thoughtful approach urges readers to embrace their true selves.” Shelf Awareness, starred review
“Part superhero homage, part sigh-worthy romance, part action-packed adventure, this novel is all kinds of comical fun... plenty of genuine laugh-out-loud moments.” Bulletin Center for Children’s Books
“Just what teens who devour the CW’s DC shows and Marvel’s cinematic universe films need to tide them over as they await new seasons of superhero television.” BookPage
“Klune’s romp is irresistibly readable…. Readers will be delighted!” Booklist
“Nick’s ADHD and almost comical optimism combine to make a charming and entertaining hero[.] There’s plenty in this lighthearted, superhero-interested teen dramedy for kids who feel like they’re sometimes on the outside, including the positive representation of a teen with ADHD.” Publishers Weekly
“Klune takes cues from Peter Milligan’s classic queer comic Enigma, with an Everyman bewildered by the superhero story that seems to revolve around him. Hand to teens involved in fandom, writers of fan fiction, lovers of superhero stories, and queer romance readers.” School Library Journal
Praise for TJ Klune
“TJ Klune is a master storyteller.” The Mary Sue
“Touching, tender, and truly delightful, The House in the Cerulean Sea is an utterly absorbing story of tolerance, found family, and defeating bureaucracy.” Gail Carriger, New York Times bestselling author of Soulless, on The House in the Cerulean Sea
“Sweet, comforting, and kind, this book is very close to perfect. The House in the Cerulean Sea is a work of classic children's literature written for adults and children alike, with the perspective and delicacy of the modern day. I cannot recommend it highly enough.”Seanan McGuire, New York Times bestselling author of Every Heart a Doorway, on The House in the Cerulean Sea
“Quirk and charm give way to a serious exploration of the dangers of complacency in this delightful, thought-provoking Orwellian fantasy from Klune.... This tale of found family is hopeful to its core. Readers will revel in Klune’s wit and ingenuity.” Publishers Weekly (starred review) on The House in the Cerulean Sea
“If ever there was an author to watch out for, [Klune] is definitely that author.” Culturess Daily
“Hilarious and irreverent.” USA Today's Happy Ever After on The Lightning-Struck Heart
“Incredibly moving.” Refinery29 on Wolfsong
Gr 9 Up—Nick Bell is an active member of the Extraordinaries fandom, writing lengthy fan fiction pairing an original character that is obviously based on him with Nova City's resident superhero, Shadow Star. Nick's dad, a cop whose wife was killed in a bank robbery, wants nothing more for Nick than him staying out of trouble—a challenge that, given Nick's ADHD, proves difficult. Shadow Star is Nick's biggest crush, but he is also a bit conflicted: Owen, Nick's ex as well as the son of the Burke Pharmaceuticals CEO, is constantly around, and Seth, Nick's BFF, suddenly seems more attractive than ever before. Nick is convinced that if he can become an Extraordinary, he can ensure his father's safety and get Shadow Star to fall in love with him. Chance encounters with Shadow Star and his nemesis, Pyro Storm, force Nick to question his dogmatic beliefs about good vs. evil. Nick's ADHD manifests in his overt focus on details, while he ignores the glaringly obvious big picture. He's shocked by the book's twist, but some readers will be way ahead of him. Others, though, will appreciate the laugh-out-loud humor and well-developed supporting characters. Klune takes cues from Peter Milligan's classic queer comic Enigma, with an Everyman bewildered by the superhero story that seems to revolve around him. A post-credits scene, clearly inspired by the trend in movies, hints at a sequel. VERDICT Hand to teens involved in fandom, writers of fan fiction, lovers of superhero stories, and queer romance readers.—Shira Pilarski, Farmington Community Library, MI
A fanboy’s dream becomes reality in this queer, romantic superhero story.
Nova City’s resident superhero, Shadow Star, fights his archnemesis, Pyro Storm, and Nick Bell is only a bit obsessed with (and maybe enamored of) him, as evidenced by his extensive fan fiction in which Shadow Star continually rescues Nick’s alter ego, Nate Belen. Nick knows that saving the city has a price, a lesson learned from his police officer father and his mother, who died in a bank robbery two years ago. When Shadow Star foils an attempted mugging, saving Nick and his friend Gibby, Nick nearly makes a complete fool of himself but snags a picture and an autograph that comes with a personalized note mentioning the surname Nick definitely did not tell his hero. Nick, who is white, is a rising junior with pronounced ADHD, and his character is sympathetic and charmingly hapless in the best of ways; readers will root for him to realize all the truths right under his nose, not least of which is his own worth. Nick’s best friend of nearly 10 years, Seth, is a pale, chubby, bisexual boy with thick glasses and baggy clothes. Gibby is a butch black lesbian; along with her girlfriend, they complete their circle of outcast friends. Klune plays with superhero genre tropes and fan-fiction clichés with the skill of a true fan—completely aware of their ridiculousness but in love with them anyway.
Hilarious, sweet, and absolutely super! (Fantasy. 14-18)