Certainly there were happy people living in Smallville. Lionel Luthor, for example. He owned most of the town. Why wouldn’t he be happy? And Jonathan and Martha Kent. They were modest people who derived pleasure from working on their small farm.
But there were unhappy people in Smallville too. Lana Lang’s parents were killed in a meteorite shower. Lex Luthor had ongoing daddy issues. And Clark Kent was a lovesick puppy that pined for a girl who would never totally reciprocate his affection. To paraphrase Leo Tolstoy: “All happy people in Smallville were alike; all unhappy people in Smallville were unhappy in their own way.”
Take the Sanchez family for example. They gave up cushy jobs in Spain to become corn farmers in Kansas. But their idyllic dreams were dashed on the day Smallville was rocked by a meteorite shower that brought baby Kal-El to Earth. Their nine-year-old daughter Lilia suffered the worst. She had to live the rest of her life with space junk embedded in her skull.
Eventually, José and Carmencita Sanchez sold their farm and moved back to Madrid. But their daughter stuck around long enough to earn a college degree and get a job teaching (Spanish, of course) at Smallville High School.
Lilia’s personal life was splintered and she suffered ongoing seizures because of her childhood head injury. But she grew up to be a stunningly beautiful woman. At 23 she looked like “Penelope Cruz and Jennifer Lopez morphed together.” That ain’t too bad.
Naturally, the arrival of Profesora Sanchez on campus caught the attention of Clark “Horndog” Kent. When he thought about her, he felt like a thousand tiny birds were in his belly all beating their wings at the same time. Clearly, he was hot for teacher. “If you told me you didn’t like her,” said a friend, “I’d say you weren’t human.”
But Clark had concerns. His Spanish teacher had a preternatural ability that could jeopardize his deepest secret. Those chunks of Kryptonite in her skull gave Lilia mindreading super powers. And that wasn’t good news for a young space alien in love. “What if she knew about my powers?” cried Clark. “She can’t find out. She can’t tell anyone. She can’t know my secret!”
Thankfully, not everyone infected with Kryptonite turns out to be a supervillain (or a snitch). Lilia figures out Clark’s secret pretty quickly but she remains discreet. In the final chapter she gives her favorite student a bit of advice. “Don’t keep what’s in your heart a buried secret,” she told him with a wink.
You can’t write a Smallville novel without addressing Clark Kent’s adolescent angst or Lex Luthor’s emerging villainy. Nor can you ignore the super-charged estrus of Lana Lang. Author Suzan Colón is smart enough to know this. But her sole contribution to the show’s mythology (Lilia, the sexy dama mind reader) pales in comparison to the well-known legacy characters. Without a doubt, Lilia had her own unique story to tell. But here in this tie-in novel, she was just an actor in the wrong TV show.
[Smallville: Buried Secrets / By Suzan Colón / First Printing: June 2003 / ISBN: 9780316168489]