The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl is about Doreen Green, a goofy sweet fourteen year old girl who recently moved to New Jersey with her mom and dad. She's bubbly, friendly, and really excited to meet new friends. Also, she has a squirrel tail, incredible strength, heightened senses, sharp retractable claws, and can speak to other squirrels. Her new friend, Anna Sophia, convinces her to play the role of a superhero in their city and as Doreen is adjusting to her newfound superhero identity she realizes her city has a villain that she needs to take down.
This was adorable and so much fun to read. Right off the bat you cant help but love Doreen. She's sweet, comical, and her powers are pretty awesome. Doreen's new friend Anna Sophia, a deaf secluded character that went to Doreen's school, was also a fun character. I liked their dynamic, and I liked that Anna Sophia went from a lonely teenager who didn't want to be friends to anyone, to this really excited and social person. I couldn't help but love Doreen when she went home after meeting Anna Sophia and learned enough basic American Sign Language so she could talk to Anna Sophia better. It was that intuitive that made Anna Sophia let Doreen into her life, and it really showed Doreen's character. Especially since Doreen made it seem like it was no big deal and honestly thought that anyone would have done that. I was Doreen and Anna Sophia that kept me reading, I loved their characters and their friendship.
Although I really liked this book and I enjoyed reading it, I did have some issues with it as a whole. I found my eyes glazing over at some sections of the book, specifically Tippy-Toe's chapters that included just the squirrels. They didn't seem necessary and I don't think they really brought anything to the plot. I had to force myself to keep reading because I knew that was really enjoying the Doreen and Anna Sophia chapters and the story as a whole. There were a few Tippy-Toe chapters of just her in her head that I fully enjoyed, especially when it came to her involvement of getting the phone numbers that Doreen needed. My other real issue with the book is the cheese-factor is a bit out of control. I read comic books pretty frequently and I tend to flock to the ones like Squirrel Girl where kids and adults could read and enjoy it. So I understand that cheesy aspects of stories like this is inevitable, but at times it felt a bit much. I think that's what hurt some of the characters but more specifically Doreen's parents Dor and Maureen (I love the name thing, that they used half of each others names to name Doreen). Dor and Maureen didn't seem like real people. The dialogue between them and Doreen felt off and weird like they weren't real parents. If this was strictly a comic book, and all the writers had were little talking/thought bubbles to get the story going I would let it slide. But because it's a prose novel, I think they should have felt more real. What's the point of making it into a book if you're not going to make the characters a bit more grounded? Their whole dynamic with Doreen seemed off and I really wasn't a fan.
The writing was well done (other than the parents). The action sequences were fun to read and the dialogue between Doreen and her friends were great. I felt like I could easily play the story in my head which I absolutely love being able to do. I played it off in my head in the same art style as the front and inside covers. I couldn't help it, I love the art so much. The cover was what really got me excited to pick up this book because it sets such a great tone for the story. Plus it's super cute and I am a sucker for cute artwork, especially on book covers.
Overall I highly recommend this book to comic book readers, middle graders, and anyone in the mood for a fun cute comic book-turned-novel read. Also, I feel like if you're a Hufflepuff you would love this book. I think Doreen is the definition of a Hufflepuff, and I couldn't help but think of that multiple times while reading Squirrel Girl.