How To Date A Superhero (And Not Die Trying) by Cristina Fernandez
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books (Harper Teen/Epic Reads)
Release Date: August 2, 2022
Available Through Bookshop
Cover Illustrator: Molly Fehr
Summary: Falling for a superhero is dangerous. You have to trust that they’ll catch you. Astrid isn’t a superhero, not like the ones she sees on the news, but she has something she thinks of as a small superpower: she has a perfect sense of time. And she’s not going to waste a single second. Her plan for college is clear—friends, classes, and extracurriculars all carefully selected to get her into medical school. Until Max Martin, a nerdy boy from her high school, crashes back into her life. Things with Max were never simple, and he doesn’t keep to her schedule. He disappears in the middle of dates and cancels at the last minute with stupid excuses. When a supervillain breaks into her bedroom one night, Astrid has to face the facts: her boyfriend, Max Martin, is a superhero. Double-majoring as a premed was hard, but now Astrid will have to balance a double life. This wasn’t part of her plan.
My Rating: ★★★★☆
My Thoughts: How To Date A Supherhero is a one-of-kind romcom set in a world of superheroes. Pre-med student Astrid lives by schedules and her sweet boyfriend Max can’t seem to keep to her plans, until Astrid finds out Max Martin is actually…a superhero! Full of humor, a sweet romance, & compelling worldbuilding, Fernandez’s YA superhero romcom is sure to charm any reader who picks it up.
Based on the premise alone this book tugged on my heartstring from the opening dedication which stated: For anyone whose felt like a side character. The result is a superhero story that subverts typical expectations by following the significant other of a superhero and how one is to navigate that world while also trying to accomplish and live their typical day-to-day, now knowing that supervillains can find them at a moment’s notice.
Revolving around Astrid Rose a pre-med major in her sophomore year of university, she plans things to the minute (with a planner and highlighter never too far). With plans to become a doctor, its no surprise she has big goals and is driven to accomplish them without fail. Then there’s her sweet boyfriend Max Martin, who always has to disappear at the least convenient moments (like during dates), Astrid doesn’t think much of it but does notice the repetitive cycle and constant excuses…then the pieces finally line up on the evening Astrid is about to be kidnapped by a supervillain and when she’s saved by a superhero she recognizes something about him…it’s MAX!! The aftermath not only turns Astrid’s life upside down, but pulls her into an almost in-between where an organization leader by the name of Eleanor elaborates on a program for normal people who have super significant others, learning to defend themselves and cope with the world-shattering reveal. Much to Astrid’s dismay, she decides to join and now has to juggle that alongside her intense pre-med coursework.
What instantly struck me about Fernandez’s debut was how she manages to revamp the concept of superheroes with a coming-of-age romcom at its core, the result makes for a― unique, fresh YA that’s character-driven, full of humor and charm!
One of my most anticipated releases of August, I thoroughly enjoyed the compelling world that was built and the tender romance, plus university narrative that tied it together. I was so here for Astrid & Max, they made the SWEETEST couple…Max “I’m dating the smartest person ever…” Martin loves Astrid very much, which is made clear by how much he wants to keep his life as Kid Comet separate from their relationship and in general, there’s just a lot of love between them. What built their relationship even more making it the hallmark of the story was how the novel balanced dual past & present timelines throughout the plot.
Additionally, seeing their relationship throughout the past (even from moments they were aware of each other in high school), a traumatic bus incident for Astrid, to the seemingly ordinary moments throughout hs, alongside their first year of college, it becomes to intrinsically linked to Max (plus his superhero identity). Yet, becomes all the more heartwarming and impactful seeing what led them to be a couple.
When one thinks about a superhero stories, we often forget about the the non-powered friends, family or significant others in their lives, but Fernandez takes that concept and makes it a comedic story with the sweetest romance at its center. The tension of this story is not only learning more about this world alongside Astrid, but seeing how Astrid struggles to balance her normal life with protocols, budding anxieties of university and reflecting on the dangers her boyfriend faces weekly fighting villains.
The writing voice is definitely humorous, full of funny moments & overall has a great comedic voice making this genuinely one of the funniest books I’ve read in some time. There’s also Astrid’s roommate David who was a lot of fun & such a supportive best friend within the novel. I think what also compelled me as someone who has a complicated love with superheroes in storytelling was the typical cliche moments or plots in these kinds of stories that felt fresh and different here in Fernandez’s novel from a scene of Astrid being rescued by Max and flying with him, her discovering his secret identity, to the underlying mystery tied to Astrid’s work during her semester.
Cristina Fernandez creates such a vivid world of heroes and villains where these elements build a distinct setting to be immersed in from how they are built into modern society, different kinds of superpowered people that exist, the protocols for significant others / partners of heroes, to the science involved, which are all subtly and well executed within the narrative, frankly leaving you wanting to know even more! I also wish there had been more scenes between Max & Astrid together, they were so cute omg! Max was truly the softest hero ever and would literally do anything for Astrid, seeing how his hero persona differed from his soft normal Max-ness was also such a highlight of the book.
I can also imagine more books set in this world, perhaps more Astrid & Max, maybe even other superheroes (WOW the potential), anyways if you enjoy superhero stories and want to read something with a fresh, more slice-of-life take, mixed with the elements of a romcom, you have to pick up this debut!!
How To Date A Superhero (And Not Die Trying) is a bold & original coming-of-age story driven by a sweet romance! Mixed with compelling lore, a college-set story and a unique take on heroes, this was a one-of-a-kind read you should not miss. Cristina Fernandez crafts an intriguing YA Sci-Fi Romcom full of laughs, charm perfect for anyone looking for a new standalone novel that brings out the classic idea of heroes with a twist!