Today’s book review is a selection from the Montgomery County (MD) Public Library System. It’s a graphic novel, “Ms. Marvel: No Normal,” published by Marvel Now! and aimed at high school students. A while back, we discussed the potential benefits of using comics and graphic novels in the classroom as a way to aid reading comprehension (to read that post, go here), so its inclusion on the recommended list is no surprise.
The story centers around a relatively normal, teenage Muslim girl, Kamala Khan, who lives in Jersey City. Her parents want her to follow in their traditional ways, and her peers alienate her because she’s different than they are. As if that weren’t enough to disturb her sense of belonging, when she suddenly gains superpowers, her whole world is thrown into chaos. She has always idolized superheroes, but she finds that some parts of that kind of life are not all they’re cracked up to be. So who and what is she now? What is she able to do with her powers? What should she do? What responsibilities come with her new gifts? Will the powers change who she is? And where do her loyalties lie?
High school is a time of great change for both girls and boys. They are just coming into their own, forming their opinions of the world, finding their place in society, making and breaking relationships with relatives and friends. And at the same time, their responsibilities are growing, and they are testing their boundaries. In many ways, they are just like Kamala, only without the added superpowers; she is someone whose journey they can relate to and from who actions and decisions they can learn new things.
Nicely written by G. Willow Wilson and beautifully drawn by Adrian Alphona, “Ms. Marvel: No Normal” is a book about teenagers made for teenagers. There is much more here than initially meets the eye.
Have you read this book? Do you have any thoughts you’d like to share with other readers? Please leave comments in the section below.