Collateral Damage by Taylor Simonds

Okay, so if you’ve known me for any amount of time outside of my website, either on twitter or in person, you know that I love a few things: Charmed–the 90’s version with Shannon Doherty, Alyssa Milano, Holly Marie Combs, and Rose McGowan, Astronomy and Quantum Mechanics (I’m a huge nerd, if Dreamer didn’t make that abundantly clear), and Superheroes. I love the Marvel movies to death and the better DC ones; I was so pumped for Wonder Woman because she’s my favorite superhero and it was a really good movie (till the last, like half hour, but we don’t talk about that). So, when I found out about Taylor Simonds’ Collateral Damage, I was beyond excited! And I got to read it early too! I got an ARC from Taylor at BookCon, and I’ve been reading ever since. These opinions are wholly my own and not influenced by anything. And also,

There are NO SPOILERS for Collateral Damage. I do reveal the tiniest bit of exposition, but most of the review has things from the back of the book blurb!

Plot

Now, the concept of the book is honestly fun, and I’ve personally never seen anything like it. A Marvel Movie from the life of an extra with a splash of murder? Sign me right up! (I also really love murder mysteries if you didn’t know)

Worldbuilding & Exposition

The world of Lunar City is a really interesting one. And it makes a lot of sense too. We have these special individuals that come together to take on the threats that we never could, you know, standard superhero stuff. But Meg’s not in their world, and seeing the way us regular folk dealt with everything was honestly so fun. We get so many snippets and pieces of it throughout the whole of the story, and seeing the way the Supers are treated in the world is honestly amazing. Learning more about the heroes and the way the city is built around them and how people just deal with it was great. We have Titanium Umbrellas (Taylor, I need one, like now), shelters away from the school, Super insurance, all these things about how normal people deal. And to stop from repeating myself even more, let’s move onto the people at the heart of this story.

Characters & Character Development

  • Meg is great. She’s a sarcastic, cynically realistic (though she won’t admit it), caring, and honestly kinda slightly lazy young girl with red hair who just gets lumped into this whole hero business. I liked seeing her arc and watching it grow. She goes from a kinda scared “this is none of my business” to… well, you’ll see. It was a joy being in her head, (though, can we get a book with Juniper as the protagonist, please? Thank you! She’s my favorite!), and learning more about the world through a kinda jaded lens.
  • Meg’s best friend, Oliver, has some stuff to him that I really liked. He’s Meg’s best friend that functions very much like a big brother, and I love the relationship! We need male/female friendships in YA, and I will always stand by that!
  • Juniper. She’s honestly my favorite of the bunch. She’s smart, a scientist, a blonde with a good sense of humor, and she’s so driven to figure out what happened to her (dead) Superhero boyfriend. I loved her drive and want to get to the bottom of it by any means necessary. I felt for Juniper super closely to the middle and end of the book because her arc was coming really into effect. I just love her. And I want a book with her as the protagonist.
  • And the Supers I’m all putting into one category because reasons. I loved how they were all humanized and given some degree of personality as we went throughout the story. Meg’s original preconception of the Supers morphs as we go throughout the story, and it was nice to see the shift and see how she reacted to it all. And their personalities did kind of come out more as this information was revealed.

The Mystery

Meg and Juniper honestly did very logical things when going to solve the murder, and I really like it. They did end up taking things into their own hands, but they all did it in the service of their original goal and it was honestly super good. There weren’t a million and one clues to go off of for the mystery and things did eventually give way, but I didn’t mind it. Everything that appeared in the top of the book had significance and returned in a meaningful way, and I really enjoyed seeing that.

Summary

Collateral Damage is a fun, hilarious Superhero book from the life of a disgruntled extra. The characters are endearing and so full of heart. Meg’s a great lead to follow in this familiar, Incredibles/MCU-like world, and offers critique and criticism like no other! There are enough references to fill up their own Marvel movie. It’s a book crafted with love, care, and wit. Everything that appears makes a reappearance and comes together in a meaningful way. I loved this book from the first page to the last! It gets 5/5 from me!

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