The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl: Squirrel Meets World
Everything about this book is amazing. Like A+, hilarious, please-give-me-more-sir-I-need-it-I-WANT-IT-NOW amazing. Shannon and Dean Hale have done what I would have thought impossible--taken Ryan North and Erica Henderson's mind-blowingly brilliant Unbeatable Squirrel Girl comic series and novelized it while keeping the spunk of the original work. Also, it is super-appropriate for tweens and also-also will make your inner nerd extremely happy. Like, there will probably be squeeing.
Gracious, that sounds a bit dirty, doesn't it? Oh well!
Doreen Green is 14 and has just moved to New Jersey from California. She has to start Junior High as a 9th Grader in a new school without her best bud, Monkey Joe.
Monkey Joe is a squirrel, by the way. Oh, and Doreen? She has a huge, bushy tail, and a penchant for nuts. She's a squirrel-girl.
Luckily, Doreen's parents, Dorian and Eileen, have always been supportive of her. They just ask that she keep her tail tucked into her stretchy pants when outside the house. Doreen has the booty some girls dream of, and others girls make fun of, but she honestly doesn't care. One of the best things about Squirrel Girl is her complete confidence in herself and inhabiting her body. She is proud of what it can do, and if haters gonna hate, then they're gonna hate, hate, hate.
Yeah, middle school is basically the worst. However, Doreen's irrepressible good nature and positive attitude slowly wear down the reserve of her lunchtime seatmate, Ana Sofía. Ana Sofía is Deaf, super proud of being trilingual (English, ASL, and Spanish) and enjoys the fuzziness of socks. Her deafness is respectfully handled (Cece Bell was one of the beta/sensitivity readers) and Doreen tries really hard to learn ASL so she can better communicate with her BFFAEAE (Best Friend Forever And Ever And Ever). Then there's that other guy who sits at their table. His name is Mike, and he has a large vocabulary but a rather limited set of social skills.
Here in the wilds of New Jersey, Doreen rescues a sassy squirrel named Tippy Toe from a squirrel death trap, runs afoul of LARPers in the park, and gets mistaken for the Jersey Devil by a band of bullies who call themselves the Skunk Club. But the more she explores, the more problems she finds. Dogs are being tormented by high-frequency-emitting robot bugs, and then there's that whole squirrel-killing cage thing. Someone out there is not playing nice with nature, and Doreen's determined to discover the culprit.
With Ana Sofîa, Tippy Toe, and a joint coalition of both tree and ground squirrels (there's a difference!), Doreen begins her hunt for the anti-animal jerk. With her bear hoodie covering her face and her tail untucked, she becomes Squirrel Girl!
As a newly-minted superhero, Squirrel Girl tries to contact the Avengers for some supervillain-catching tips. And as it turns out, squirrels can even break into the Avengers Mansion and steal some phone numbers. Squirrel Girl texts various members of the Avengers team but totally nixes getting any help from Tony Stark--he's just the errand boy. Or so she's been told. The text conversations with the superheroes are screamingly hilarious--I dare you to read the one with Bucky and not laugh. And yes, there are shawarma jokes. The universe has been good to us by giving us Shannon and Dean Hale.
The Hales use footnotes from Doreen to mimic her running commentary in the comics at the bottom of the page, and this is also a huge win. First of all, I love comedic footnotes (see also Beauty Queens by Libba Bray). Secondly, it's a great way to have that same sort of inside scoop and squirrely snark.
If you want a book with positive role models, awesome friendships, and squirrel power, you've got it in Squirrel Meets World. Preorder this one NOW! Chik-chickk-chiiiik!!!