Jessie Drummond is a totally normal fifteen year old girl; her little sister pesters her, her mom makes her trade cute outfits for boring ones, her hair goes haywire at the worst times, and she might need to repeat Algebra I. Oh yeah, and she doesn’t have any trace of superpowers, making her the only member of her superhero family in seven generations not to get any. As Jessie would say, “lame-o!” She’s starting a new high school (for Normals, not the school for kids with powers that her telekinetic sister attends), and things are fine until she’s forced to stand up in front of her English class and introduce herself, and the windows spontaneously explode.
It turns out Jessie’s just a late bloomer, in more ways than one, and that what she took for cramps were her superpowers finally appearing, brought on by stress and hormones. Not only that, but they keep appearing: first the ability to make windows explode, then superhearing, and soon X-ray vision. This is unusual, because most superheroes only get one, and soon the League of Liberty, the superhero association, shows up to monitor Jessie themselves. Jessie may be the strongest and most powerful superhero in generations.
Having spent her whole life feeling like a freak for being Normal, Jessie is both excited and freaked out by the possibility of now being abnormal even for a superhero. She can listen in on conversations across the room and see her Algebra teacher’s boxers (Ewww!), but will her awesome and somewhat unpredictable powers scare off boys, and leave her to die old and alone with ten cats, a Kiss Virgin forever? She doesn’t like the new lessons in controlling her powers, and she’s not too happy about the League of Liberty watching over her shoulder. Her parents were members of the League until her dad was killed two years ago, and she blames the League’s ‘save the world’ mission for his death. Her mom is only now starting to come out of her fog of grief, and Jessie figures the League should leave her family alone, if they can’t even tell her how to develop a useful superpower like how to grow cleavage.
Most teenagers can relate to Jessie’s freak-of-nature feelings, even if not to the ability to eavesdrop on their mom from two rooms away. There’s boy trouble – although we should all have been so lucky, to meet two cute boys on the first day of school and get asked out by both – friend trouble, and of course, family trouble. Having been Normal her whole life, yet surrounded by superheroes, Jessie grumbles and complains but takes most things in stride. She tries to use her powers only for good, and generally succeeds, even when snotty cheerleaders provoke her.
The ending is a weak point. Several plotlines are left open, or are only vaguely resolved. This book is ripe for sequels, but there’s no indication that there will be any. The type face in the book I got was not the easiest to read, either, thick and dark with the words crammed together on the page. But still, it’s a fun read with an engaging protagonist, and if there are any sequels, I would certainly be up for reading them.