Most people would be thrilled to discover they had superpowers. Who wouldn’t want to be Barry Allen or Sue Richards? Being able to run fast and turn invisible would be extraordinary.
But not all superpowers were created equal. Just ask the kids in Amy Ignatow’s latest novel, The Mighty Odds. A boy named Nick discovered he could teleport. But he could only do it four inches to the left. Similarly, Farshad had super strength – but only in his thumbs. And poor Martina, all she could do was change the color of her eyeballs.
Of the bunch, Daniesha “Cookie” Parker had developed arguably the best superpower of all. She could read minds. Unfortunately she could only do it when people were thinking about how to get from one place to another.
It was all very disappointing. No one could breathe under water or shoot lightning bolts from their fingertips. Their superpowers had simply complicated their lives needlessly. “This isn’t extraordinary,” snapped Cookie. “This is a nightmare.”
But at least they had (somewhat) manageable aberrations. A substitute teacher at their middle school was recently cursed with the gift of spontaneous combustion. The poor guy couldn’t help himself. He was unintentionally blowing up cars and setting houses on fire. In the world of comic books and superhero prose fiction, fate had turned him into a reluctant supervillain.
And wherever there were supervillains, there were always going to be superheroes. Even if those superheroes possessed nearly useless powers. Said the author: “If there ever was a nerdy club that no one wanted to be a part of, it was this one.”
That’s because Nick, Farshad, Martina, and Cookie were “mighty odd” long before they became the Mighty Odds. Farshad came from Iran and his classmates thought he was a terrorist. Nick was “dumpy” and unpopular. And Cookie was the only black kid in town. Martina was so odd that her sister called her “Martian.” Without a doubt, she was the weirdest kid in Muellersville, Pa.
But so what? There’s nothing wrong with being weird or different. That’s the author’s point. The challenge was to stay positive and keep your head held high. Nolite te bastardes carborundorum. “Don’t let the bastards grind you down.” To be continued in Against the Odds (available in May of 2017).
[The Mighty Odds / By Amy Ignatow / First Printing: September 2016 / ISBN: 9781419712715]