Super Awesome Awesomesauce


The Awesome by Eva Darrows

First of all, could we please gather together to sing hymns of praise for this glorious cover (by artist Pye Parr)? May I also note that, in addition to this fantastic cover, the edges of all the pages are black, so it looks for all the world like you’re reading a chunk of obsidian coated with a lurid neon green skull? What’s the title of this book again? “The Awesome”? Why, yes, it is.

Our lead character is Maggie Cunningham, a teenager who is learning the art of monster hunting from her mother, Janice. The problem for Maggie is that she’s advanced as far as she can as a monster-hunting apprentice because she’s a virgin, and the smell of virgin blood makes vampires in particular react like someone just combined a mosquito, a shark, and a porcupine into one creature — they often go into a mad, desperately dangerous feeding frenzy that makes them terribly difficult to kill. So to become a fully-bonded and licensed monster hunter instead of just an apprentice, Maggie has to have sex.

Wait, wait, there’s the other problem for Maggie: Though she is a badass monster hunter and an expert in weapons and martial arts, she’s never been the type to care about fitting in with kids her age. In other words, her social skills aren’t really gonna help her a lot in snagging a boyfriend.

Oh, and one more problem for Maggie — while testing her out to see if a drunken makeout session was enough to qualify her as “no longer a virgin,” Maggie and Janice are forced to terminate a fledgling vampire — and the kiddie vamp actually had a very important sire, and the Cunninghams are in serious, serious trouble. Will Maggie and Janice manage to survive? And will Maggie ever get to home plate?

Verdict: Thumbs up. The plot’s fine, but aside from the fantastic setup, you’re not going to remember this for its plotline. What’s gonna make you love this book is the characters, particularly Maggie and Janice, who are gloriously badass, gloriously white trash, and gloriously in each other’s faces almost constantly.

These three facets of their personalities are really important to both of them — but they’re far from age-separated twins. While both Maggie and Janice embrace their white-trash, trailer-park lifestyle with nary a qualm — living on the outskirts of polite society makes it easier to be a weapon-slinging badass — their quasi-antagonistic relationship feels very true-to-life for a couple of strong-willed women, particularly with a close family relationship. Janice is always egging Maggie forward, partly to make her a better monster hunter, partly because she just enjoys pissing Maggie off. Maggie is mostly willing to take it, but she clearly dislikes being the junior partner.

And Janice’s occasional recklessness always seems to turn up when she thinks she’s let her daughter down — of course, that just gives Maggie a reason to try harder to be a bigger badass than her mom — to be the most Awesome she can be…

It’s a fun book, sometimes raunchy, sometimes action-packed, sometimes laugh-out-loud funny, but always rooted firmly in great characters. Go pick it up.

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