The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl: 2 Fuzzy, 2 Furious

Please note that this review may contain spoilers for The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl: Squirrel Meets World. You can read my review of this novel [here].

2 Fuzzy, 2 Furious was written in 2018 by Shannon and Dean Hale. The young adult novel is a prequel to Marvel’s popular The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl series, though you don’t really need to have read any of the comics to fully appreciate it. However, this book does carry on directly where Squirrel Meets World left off, so you may want to read the novels in sequence in order to fully appreciate what’s going on.

Doreen Green has found that having a superhero alter ego is a lot more complicated than she thought. In the town of Shady Oaks, Squirrel Girl is now a household name and she’s finding it hard to live up to people’s expectations of her. The Squirrel Scouts are always disappointed if they don’t get to see her beat up the bad guys, yet she’s sure that most problems could be solved if she just talks to them.

Yet being Doreen seems to be more complicated still. A teacher at school seems to detest her, and Doreen doesn’t understand why. To make matters worse, something is wrong with Ana Sofía. Her BHFF has been strangely distant with her lately, and Doreen is worried that she is about to lose the only person who knows her secret. Yet having friends is new to Doreen and she has no idea how to put things right.

To make matters worse, there seems to be a sinister plot at work. A contest to choose the mascot for a new mall is causing people to fight like cats and dogs. When mutant animals also begin to terrorise Shady Oaks, Doreen starts to suspect that HYDRA might be the ones behind it. Unable to enlist the help of the Avengers, its up to Squirrel Girl and her squirrel army to discover the truth and save the day.

While Marvel has released several young adult novels lately (including the Runaways adaptation that I reviewed a couple of months ago), I think that the Squirrel Girl series is probably the most accessible. As previously noted, you don’t really need a lot of background knowledge about the Marvel Universe to really get into the story. A lot of the characters that Squirrel Girl talks to are ones that appear in the recent movies, and the minor nods that it has to Ryan North’s comics are subtle enough to simply go over the heads of people who haven’t read them.

If you enjoyed Squirrel Meets World, chances are that you will really enjoy this novel as well. While the book does mostly stand on its own, it does continue on from where the previous story left off and really is just more of the same. It’s a breezy read that never takes itself too seriously, making a light of a lot of typical superhero tropes. While modern superhero stories can be a little dark, Squirrel Girl takes pleasure in showing how inherently silly these stories can be, as well as how much fun this can make them.

However, that doesn’t mean that the story can’t be serious when it wants to be. Between the hilarious text chains and footnotes, there are a lot of moments that will resonate with any young teen. Peer pressure and popularity are important themes in the story, as Doreen gradually learns that sometimes its okay to stand up to your friends or accept that not everyone will like you.

I also liked the fact that Doreen was determined to find a way to reform villains without beating them to a pulp. I love the idea of a powerful superhero taking the time to understand her enemies, rather than just fighting them. However, I did think that the novel could have put more emphasis on this. I think that Doreen on really succeeds in talking down a villain once in the entire story. Her other attempts, including the climax, all seem to end in a punch up.

The story this time is told from four different perspectives. The chapters that focus on Doreen, Ana Sofía and the villain are all told in third person, but for some reason Tippy Toe’s are told in first person. While I don’t generally like stories that have a lot of narrators, this time it actually works pretty well. It was always easy to tell which character was talking as all of them had very different voices. While the plot perhaps didn’t quite flow quite as smoothly as it did in the first book, it was still incredibly entertaining. It takes a normal and mundane event – the opening of a mall – and turns it into an adventure worthy of the Avengers.

Yet it’s the characters that truly sell the story. Doreen gets a lot of character development in 2 Fuzzy, 2 Furious as she gradually learns what it means to be a good friend – primarily how important it is to listen to others and respect their feelings. My favourite scene in the story was the one in which Ana Sofía opens up to Doreen about her disability, explaining how things that seem unimportant to Doreen are actually quite hurtful to her because of her deafness. This was a great example of how to understand and communicate with someone who might view the world differently to you, as well as how to talk to someone about their disability.

However, the villain wasn’t quite a strong. Without spoiling too much, the mastermind this time doesn’t truly reveal themselves until close to the end of the story. While they did prove to be surprisingly threatening over the climax, I didn’t think that they were all that memorable on the whole. Their plan was pretty simplistic (typical HYRDA stuff really), yet the story was a bit vague on their motivation for wanting to do it. This was quite disappointing, as the previous story spent a lot of time making clear exactly why the Micro Manager behaved the way that he did.

Still, despite my minor gripes, I did find this book to be a lot of fun to read. It’s a very light and funny story that will appeal to young readers and comic fans alike, even if they’re not familiar with the character. If you love the Marvel movies, you definitely should take a look at this series.

The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl: 2 Fuzzy, 2 Furious can be purchased as a Hardback on Amazon.co.uk

1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Trackback: The Sobeks 2018 – Part 2 | Arkham Reviews

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© Kim Dyer and Arkham Reviews, 2019. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Kim Dyer and Arkham Reviews with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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