Miles Morales Suspended: A Spider-Man Novel

Atheneum/Caitlyn Dlouhy. May 2023. 320p. Tr $19.99. ISBN 9781665918466.
Gr 7 Up–Picking up the day after Miles Morales: Spiderman saved the world from heinous criminal The Warden, this sequel begins with Miles suspended for telling his racist teacher, Mr. Chamberlain, that he’s sick of his crap. Miles Morales is NOT a pincushion, punching bag, puppet, pet, or a pawn. He is a Boricua Black teen living in Brooklyn on a block very different from the Brooklyn Visions Academy boarding school he attends. At the Academy, Black and brown kids are discriminated against, villainized, and steered towards a pipeline leading to mass incarceration that makes statistics out of those students. When he begins seeing termites at school, his Spidey Sense alerts him to a sinister plot. The hybrid verse/prose format adds to the action-packed story line and provides an amusing, banter-filled tone, which Reynolds is exceptionally skilled at for drawing in even the most reluctant of readers. As tensions build, the termites embody censorship, a powerful topic brought up often via current events in schools and prisons across the country. Miles is complex, as he courageously argues for books to “try to read and write themselves free” and attempts to grab Alicia’s attention by writing poetry, which is realistically awkward and sweet. Although Ganke’s role is spare in this volume, readers will delight in this spirited character as he supports his bestie Miles and provides extra comic relief during stressful situations. Peña’s comic-style illustrations enhance the story by reflecting the Spiderman side of our hero. Cultural references such as grease in the Bustelo can, bodegas, and dap depict the authenticity of Miles’s world.
VERDICT Librarian Spidey senses are tingling; this is a must for your shelves.

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