Now Borrowing: Miles Morales

August 27, 2017     Ro     Author Spotlight, Book Reviews, Novels, Young Adult

Now Borrowing: Miles Morales

"Everyone gets mad at hustlers, especially if you're on the victim side of the hustle. And Miles knew hustling was in his veins." Miles Morales is just your average teenager. Dinner every Sunday with his parents, chilling out playing old-school video games with his best friend, Ganke, crushing on brainy, beautiful poet Alicia. He's even got a scholarship spot at the prestigious Brooklyn Visions Academy. Oh yeah, and he's Spider Man.

But lately, Miles's spidey-sense has been on the fritz. When a misunderstanding leads to his suspension from school, Miles begins to question his abilities. After all, his dad and uncle were Brooklyn jack-boys with criminal records. Maybe kids like Miles aren't meant to be superheroes. Maybe Miles should take his dad's advice and focus on saving himself.

As Miles tries to get his school life back on track, he can't shake the vivid nightmares that continue to haunt him. Nor can he avoid the relentless buzz of his spidey-sense every day in history class, amidst his teacher's lectures on the historical "benefits" of slavery and the importance of the modern-day prison system. But after his scholarship is threatened, Miles uncovers a chilling plot, one that puts his friends, his neighborhood, and himself at risk.

It's time for Miles to suit up.

Miles Morales by Jason Reynolds
Published by Marvel Press on August 1, 2017
ISBN: 148478748X
Where to Find It: Amazon|B&N|Shop Indie|Goodreads|Shop Local
Genres: Young Adult, Comic Book Heroes
Pages: 272
Format: Hardback
Source: Advance Reader Copy

FTC Disclosure: I received access to this book early through Advance Reader Copy (for free) in exchange for a review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.


Overall Review: Jason Reynolds takes Miles Morales and Spider-Man to a whole new level of appealing. By exploring the realities of being a teenage superhero and living as a brown kid in a world not looking for you to succeed on a good day, he infuses Miles with such depth and personality that you’ll be rooting for him to win…for all our sake.

From beginning to end, Miles Morales: Spider-Man, held me captive; laughing one minute and nodding my head in the next. Its underlying themes (like the school to prison pipeline) are skillfully interwoven into the storytelling in such a way they only serve to enhance the emotional richness of Miles’ journey.

This is an adventure firmly rooted in the realities of living in Brooklyn, dealing with life as an outsider, facing pain, humiliation, discrimination, self-doubt, and learning to live up to your best self in order to confront evil…in more ways than one.

Miles’ connection to his family, his friends, his neighborhood, and his dreams for his future lead the way through a superhero adventure worth multiple reads.

Marvel Press couldn’t have made a better choice than handing over Miles’ story to Jason Reynolds and there couldn’t be a more perfect time for his Miles Morales.

Jason Reynolds at Mysterious Galaxy

I had the opportunity to hear Jason talk during his book signing at Mysterious Galaxy in San Diego. So you don’t have to take my word, listen to Jason tell you why he agreed to write about Miles.

Score: 5 out of 5

This is Miles (and his alter-ego) like you’ve never seen him before. Jason Reynolds brings the world of Miles Morales: Spider-Man to vivid life then delves in to the reality of being a kid with super powers navigating a world where he has very little direction (or power) on how to make it through the day-to-day successfully. Miles Morales goes to an elite private school where he doesn’t blend with the student body, has weekend chores he’d like to avoid, and he’d really love to never get grounded again. He’s your typical average 16-year-old high school student…mostly. Miles also just happens to be the web-throwing, neighborhood-protecting, building scaling, Spider-Man.

Being a teenager is complicated enough especially if you’re trying to survive high school crushes, teachers with agendas, self-doubt, parental expectation, and peer pressure. Miles’ problems get even more complicated as his ‘spidey-sense’ goes on the fritz and he begins to question his worthiness to be a superhero. He’s overwhelmed with doubts about his future and his chances of success given the dangerous path in front of him; one his uncle never managed to escape.

Using Miles’ struggles to highlight the very real school-to-prison pipeline no one likes to talk about, the reality of microagressions in the classroom (and everywhere else) to keeping your cool when you don’t have the first clue what to do next; Jason Reynolds opens up new avenues for discussing real world problems in ways that all ages can relate to and learn from.  His cleverness and storytelling abilities present these issues in such a way that you’ll be fully engrossed in Miles’ life. Add in dealing with superpowers that don’t care about classwork, school hours, or the need to maintain your GPA to keep your scholarship and you’ve got a whole other kind of coming of age story.

You’ll be amused, commiserating, and opinionated – all before you realize you’ve gain a new perspective on some very real world problems – without once being pulled away from Miles’ journey.

This story is so alive, detailed and recognizable that by the time he fights the Big Bad, his world as a superhero has so much nuance and flavor that you’re completely dialed in to root for Miles to persevere and overcome.

Miles Morales: Spider-Man asks questions we’ve all struggled with, and that most of us are never quite sure we found a good answer for. The action is multi-leveled and thankfully not limited to physical high-jinx Spider-Man is often recognized for. Miles is charismatic, likable, and real. You know this kid, you’ve met this kid, in many respects you’ll find you were this kid.

If you like comics, or just good stories, not only will you love the complexity Jason Reynolds brings to Spider-Man, you’ll have a whole new outlook on what it takes to be a real hero even if you’ve never been bitten by a radioactive spider.

Miles Morales: Spider-Man tops my list for “must read” books released in 2017.

Spider-Man has always been friendly, but not likely to be my neighbor…until Miles Morales. Needless to say, when Miles appeared in comics on the Marvel Ultimate imprint in 2011, I practically threw the comics at every person I knew sight unseen. That may sound a little crazy but just knowing there was a dimension where Spider-Man looked like me under that mask brought a smile to my face and a bounce to my step.

This is a young adult book – mostly because Miles is 16-years-old – but its written wish such shrewdness and in an immediately engaging voice it’s a guaranteed good read for all ages.