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Harley Quinn at Super Hero High (DC Super Hero Girls)

Review

Harley Quinn at Super Hero High (DC Super Hero Girls)

Written by Lisa Yee and Illustrated by Random House

DC Comics fans rejoice, because author Lisa Yee is back with another exciting installment in the Super Hero High series! Previously featuring favorite heroes like Wonder Woman, Supergirl, Batgirl and Katana, this series now shines the spotlight on Harley Quinn.

The fun, energetic and enthusiastic Harley is usually seen as the class clown, always out to make her super classmates laugh and entertain the loyal viewers of her web show. She is filled with ambitious ideas and endless creativity, throwing huge events like dance competitions and a Battle of the Bands. It is no surprise that when the Crazy Carnival comes to town, Harley is super intrigued. But something at the Karnival is not quite right. Can Harley use her unique skills to save the day, Metropolis and all of her Super friends?

"This installment is easily the most fun of the series….young readers are sure to appreciate the sense of camaraderie and friendship that sits at the core of this and all the other Super Hero High novels."

 

HARLEY QUINN AT SUPERHERO HIGH finally gives Harley a story of her own. Though she is often seen in comics and film as a villain or anti-hero, at Super Hero High Harley is as much a hero as Wonder Woman and Batgirl. Yee plays to Harley’s strengths and creates a high-energy story built around her exuberant character. The most enjoyable aspect of this story is that it celebrates what makes Harley unique and special, and all of Harley’s super friends support and encourage her to use those strengths to save the day. Teamwork is an essential tenet of this story, but at the same time Harley is allowed to run the show using her gymnastic ability, her boisterous personality and, of course, her mallet to outsmart the bad guys.

This installment is easily the most fun of the series, and it even introduces some new superheroes like the duo Thunder and Lightning. It’s great that these stories take lesser-known heroes and villains to create exciting stories. Choosing the Mad Hatter as the prime Bad Guy was an excellent choice as he makes such a great foil for Harley --- the story is much more compelling than one that relies on overdone DC baddies like the Joker or Two-Face. Similarly, it’s great that DC Super Hero Girls stands on its own as a series and that its brilliant, diverse cast of heroes can save the day all on their own. Who needs Batman or Superman anyways?

While maybe not the most accurate portrayal of high school life --- aside from, you know, all the Superheroes flying around --- young readers are sure to appreciate the sense of camaraderie and friendship that sits at the core of those and all the other Super Hero High novels. There are plenty of great lessons in this novel, too. Harley’s tale shows young readers that their unique strengths are what make them special, and that pursuing your ideas with dedication is always worth it, even if you struggle along the way. Plus, in a market far too saturated with stories about male superheroes, Yee’s novels are a welcome breath of fresh air. I would definitely recommend HARLEY QUINN AT SUPERHERO HIGH to any young readers, particularly those in the early middle-grade age range. I’m already looking forward to the next installment!

Reviewed by Katherine Szabo on January 30, 2018

Harley Quinn at Super Hero High (DC Super Hero Girls)
Written by Lisa Yee and Illustrated by Random House